How to Boost Your Career While You Shelter in Place
These days, it’s hard to look away from the news. But when you let yourself get swept away by the constant barrage of updates on the spread of coronavirus, you miss the opportunity to focus on things that can greatly benefit you later. So instead of focusing on what you can’t control, concentrate on what you can.
Here are four actions you can take while you’re stuck at home now that will help boost your career later.
1. Create a 30-day plan
Creating a 30-day plan for yourself informs your mind that this isn’t a time to slack off and get distracted. Instead, it’s a time to get to work on what really matters. If you’ve always wanted to finish course work to finally put that certificate on your resume, then block out some time and do it. If you’ve always wanted to make your passion a money-making side gig, start the process of doing that. New job? Career change? Get into grad school? Whatever it is you want, set goals, get to work on them, and watch yourself making progress.
2. Put useful input into your brain
It's very important to listen, read, and watch things NOT related to the pandemic. I have at least five books on my list that I’m going to listen to on Audible, and I’ll be implementing the useful things in those books during this time. Remember, creative ideas rarely come to you when you’re watching the news, waiting for the next piece of startling news to drop or imagining the next worst-case scenario. You can’t control what’s happening out there, but you can control what’s happening in your own head—and what you put into it.
3. Ask yourself great questions
This is a perfect time to ask yourself questions that can bring out the best in you. So stop asking yourself questions with no answers like: How long is this going to last? and Why is this happening to me?
Instead, use this time to ask yourself helpful and productive questions like: What could I do during this time that can help my career? What opportunities exist now that didn't before? How can I stand out now in these difficult times? If this was my chance to show up as the person I really want to be, how would I be showing up? What does my industry need right now? What does my company need? What do my colleagues and peers need?
Those who’ll thrive during this time and after it will be the ones intentionally using this time to their—and others’—advantage.
4. Look for ways to add value
We’re built to solve problems, and now’s the best time to get creative and resourceful. Start putting your mind to work on solving the new problems we’re facing. Small actions make a huge difference, too. Small actions can lead to big solutions.
For example, you can start by sharing useful links. Maybe compile a list of places now delivering in your area and share that information with your friends, coworkers, and wider network. Or, while your network is being bombarded with news, share something helpful. Virtual happy hours, meetings, singalongs, and all types of classes are being created and held all over the world right now. Let your network know about them.
After taking small steps, you can take bigger ones. For example, if you’re a designer, can you create an amazing infographic on the pandemic? If you can write, can you create a useful article for your industry and publish it on Medium? If you’re a data analytics specialist, can you use the data on coronavirus and make it educational and useful to educate others in a new way?
Think about your talents and skills and then ask yourself how you can bring people joy, inspiration, and laughter—and help them during this time. How can you be the person to create the connection? How can you be the person to innovate and find a solution? You’ll be remembered later—when it’s time to get promoted, get a new job, start a new career—by what you do now. If you create and solve problems now, you’ll create a lot of opportunities for yourself later.
A final note
Every day, every hour, every moment you have a choice. You can choose to constantly watch and wait for the news. Or you can choose to direct your focus on things that will benefit you and others.
When we’re on the other side of this, what do you want to have achieved? A lot of people will not have anything to show for it. What will you have to show for this time? How will you rise to this challenge?
Natalie Fisher is best known for helping professionals land their dream jobs and achieve explosive salary growth (even with little experience). If this article was helpful, she's teaching a FREE LIVE COURSE called How Move Forward in Your Career When Everyone Else Is Watching The News. Join her as she shows you how to navigate your career through this time so you can come out ahead.