4 career mistakes

Evan Crosby

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It turns out that one of your biggest obstacles standing between you and your career goals might just be yourself. In fact, when it comes to wanting to do well on the job, there's a good chance that you could actually be your own worst enemy. That's according to research from the Journal of Science.

For example, bad habits and self-induced stress can become a recipe for failure on the job. When you let self-doubt prevent you from doing your very best work, your productivity will suffer, as will your chances of 'climbing the ladder' at work.

Here are some helpful tips on how to avoid sabotaging your career, so that you can achieve the success you desire at work.

1. Learn to say no

Many employees make the mistake of thinking that they must always say yes to their colleagues, even when it isn't in their best interest on the job. The problem with telling everyone yes at work is that you can become over-committed with tasks and responsibilities. Oftentimes, the quality of your work declines and you experience job burnout. Therefore, you can't look at saying no as being a bad thing. Learning to tell people no when something really isn't feasible for you is actually healthy behavior. Stop worrying about disappointing others, and start focusing more on your own career needs.

2. Don't undermine your real influence

As your career progresses and you move up the ladder in your organization, you will gain more authority at work. However, there are times when you don't have authority in an area but might be tempted to pretend that you do. Unfortunately, trying to exert influence over areas where you really don't have the authority to do so can end up undermining the aspects of your career where you have real influence. Furthermore, it can hurt your career success as well. Therefore, you should start thinking of your "influence" as a noun, something you possess, instead of as a verb. That way you won't be trying to exercise authority that you don't really have.

3. Take time to breathe between tasks

There's nothing wrong with having a long to-do list at work. In fact, you should probably get worried if you find yourself with not much to do on the job. However, you don't want to work yourself to death (figuratively speaking). As mentioned, if you are unable to tell colleagues no, you can end up overwhelmed by too many responsibilities. The same thing can happen if you try to take on too many tasks at once. Your productivity will suffer, as will your career success. Therefore, you should create a daily schedule to help you plan and complete each of your tasks accordingly.

For example, you can assign projects to certain blocks of time based on how long you estimate it will take you to finish them. That way you won't be as likely to get behind on tasks. Of course, you should schedule some breaks to take throughout your day as well to help keep your productivity high.

4. Ask for help when you need it

Finally, don't make the common career mistake of thinking that you shouldn't ask for help when you could use the assistance of a colleague. Asking others for assistance isn't a sign of weakness. It's actually a sign of resourcefulness, which can contribute greatly to the success of your career. Even better, if you have a colleague with a lot of experience who is willing to mentor you, take advantage of the opportunity! Learn as much as you can from others at work, because it will make you more productive and valuable to employers.

In short, when it comes to your career, you want to set yourself up for success, not failure. Therefore, learn how to politely say no to colleagues instead of feeling obligated to always say yes to their requests. Use your influence sparingly and wisely. Make sure that you don't let yourself get overwhelmed by tasks during the day. Learn to ask your colleagues for help when you need it.

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