For Career Management, Disengage From Your Job

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Aug 15

One of the best ways to manage your career is disengage from your job. It sounds like disastrous advice (managers are having heart attacks as they are reading this), but it isn’t.

The most successful behavior you can do to manage your task management system in the Getting Things Done methodology is this: do a weekly review. Shut out everything and get clear about your work, get organized so that your tasks and projects are lined up in your system, and get creative about what you want to do next.

Doing a weekly review is a remarkable way to manage your task management system. But, it should also be used to manage your career. Take 15-minutes at the end of this week and simply ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What went well this week with my work?
  2. What could I improve on next week in my work?
  3. Is the position I’m in still the one that matches my skills and needs of my career?

Writing down the answers to the first two questions will both provide a sense of accomplishment about what you completed during the week and what needs to be better next week. How else can you build your job skills through continuous improvement if you never review what you do?

Answering the third question honestly will either give you a sense of peace about where you are right now or give you the early warning sign that something is wrong with what you are doing. Whether that warning sign is your manager relationship, the direction of the department, or you not being challenged in the right ways for you to be successful, your answer will make sure you don’t stay in a position for the wrong reasons.

Going with the flow will take you wherever the flow takes you. Going with your career management goals means you need to weekly disengage from your work so you can evaluate your work and career.

How do you evaluate your work and career? Do you just wait for a performance review or do you proactively do something else?

  • Deanna McNeil says:

    I totally loved these questions. As always, my weakness usually shows up in forms of disorganization, often the kind that starts in my head that allows me to get distracted from tasks at hand. Are there exercises for that?!?

    I think you hit the nail on the head by suggesting one disengage in order to do this evaluation. When I am jogging or exercising is when things become clearest to me (it always feels so unexpected but welcome) and once that clarity emerges, the steps on what to do next are almost fait accompli.

    • Scot Herrick says:

      @Deanna McNeil – Two thoughts. First, the only way I have seen getting things out of my head and not being distracted from the task at hand is following the Getting Things Done methodology by David Allen (davidco.com). Even then I get distracted.

      Second, on disengaging, I think this has to be away from work. Or, if it is at work, away from your desk. Go to a break area or outside. Too easy to get interrupted at your desk.

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