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    Everything You Need To Move Your WFH Days Onto the Patio

    With remote work still thriving on the job scene, many of us find ourselves going about our work day in the comfort of our own homes. But, sometimes, the spaces we find ourselves in for day-to-day tasks make it hard to separate work and relaxation. It’s easy to fall into the habit of working from your comfortable couch or bedroom, but these spaces do not do your productivity any justice and can deter you from your best work. Being inside all day can also have detrimental effects and can stop you from getting your necessary daily dose of Vitamin D.
    By optimizing your workspace to something designed intentionally for you and your work day, you can increase your productivity and focus. And weather permitting, working from outside might be the best way to keep you focused and enjoying the work day a little more. Here are some of our favorite pieces to create the perfect Work-From-Outside setup:

    This 24-ounce stainless steel tumbler will keep your drink cool and you hydrated no matter the temperature outside.

    Bucket hat girlies, this is the perfect work-from-outside hat. It features a wide brim to keep your face and the back of your neck protected from the sun all day long.

    This lap desk fits most any computer size and also includes a power bank and charging cable, which can keep you from trying to find an outdoor outlet or a ridiculously long extension cord.

    Amazon | danpinera

    This green side table adds a fun pop of color for your setup. It’s also anti-rust and waterproof, so you can leave it outside no matter the weather.

    Amazon | F FORITO

    This anti-glare and anti-blue light screen protector is a must-have when working in direct sunlight. It will keep your eyes protected and your screen visible so that you can actually use your laptop in the sun.

    Amazon | Big Joe

    This round cushioned ottoman is the ultimate footrest, keeping you comfy while you lounge and work in the sun.


    This five-wick candle really brings the space together and will keep you feeling cozy and comfortable in the outdoor setting. Bonus: It features citronella, so it will keep the bugs at bay while you enjoy the sun.

    Beachcrest Home

    These light wood cushioned chairs are sturdy and comfortable, perfect for sitting outside for a few hours while you type away on your laptop. Place your beverage of choice and some snacks on the small side table and this setup has almost everything you need.

    Play your lo-fi work playlist (or Taylor Swift album of choice) outside with this portable bluetooth speaker. Whether you’re trying to capture all the summer vibes or simply need a relaxing backtrack while you focus, you’ll love the sound quality of this little speaker.

    Amazon | Abrotain

    Small space? That’s no problem with this patio shade cover. It offers privacy while shading you from the sun, perfect for apartment balconies or small decks.

    Amazon | Veradek

    Keep your snacks and drinks cool and protected in this outdoor cooler that doubles as a side table. 2-in-1? Yes, please.

    World Market

    This floor mat will help bring your work from outside space to life and make it a place where you enjoy working!

    Amazon | KEVLANG

    This acrylic tray is perfect for holding any of your day-to-day necessities, but could even be filled with your favorite snacks and drinks to keep you energized throughout the day.


    This denim baseball cap is perfect to keep the sun and hair out of your face and is casual enough to add to any outfit you have on during your work-from-outside days!

    Arlmont & Co.

    Yes, you’re working, but who says you can’t relax while doing so? This functional outdoor daybed features detachable footrests that can also be used as a side-table for customizable use.

    Amazon | YPRNM

    This lap desk is great if you are looking for something more sturdy, with standing legs on both sides. The desk splits into an adjustable laptop tray and a small side table tray, perfect for your favorite drink or a small notebook!

    Amazon | Thermacell

    Nothing can ruin a day outdoors quite like bugs, and we haven’t forgotten that. This mosquito repellent will keep the bugs away and let you work outside in peace.

    Amazon | Sweetfull

    This portable misting fan will help keep you cool and refreshed on those hot days, and works great to keep you awake and productive!

    This SPF 45 face mist is a necessity for being outside on a sunny day. It keeps your skin protected and hydrated throughout your work day!

    Hampton Bay

    This patio umbrella is a major addition to creating this workspace, allowing you to bathe in the warm sun, but also retreat to the shade as much as you’d like to during the day.

    Amazon | Javasok

    This cup sleeve is perfect for those who need a quick coffee run before work. It will keep all the condensation from your cup away from your electronics or paper and keep your hand from getting cold as well!

    Keep your lips hydrated with this editor-favorite lip oil. It also includes SPF 30, so not only will your lips feel great, but they’ll also be protected. More

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    This Has to Stop: 7 Ways to Finally Overcome PTO Guilt

    To say that women feel guilty for taking time off is the understatement of the century. We’re all familiar with the toxicity of hustle culture, but actually acknowledging the importance of rest, taking well-earned PTO, and not feeling bad about it is about as foreign a concept as you can get. Our hours collect dust, or worse, expire because they’re unused, and we’re left with a big helping of burnout.
    But what causes this guilt anyway? Who is benefitting from us not taking time off work? Because it sure as hell isn’t us. So what’s the hold-up? Taking time off is non-negotiable, as it’s vital for your mental health and well-being. Not to mention, PTO is meant to be used. With this confusion in mind, we investigated what causes PTO-induced guilt and how to finally overcome it. Ahead, the cure:
    Why do we feel guilty for taking PTO?
    Perhaps the biggest reason we feel guilty for taking time off is because we’ve been taught it’s something to be ashamed of. For years now, we’ve watched celebrities and influencers praise “the grind” by showcasing their daily routines. Wake up at 5 a.m., work out, cold plunge, check emails, work through lunch, head to a networking event, and work on a side hustle project before finally getting to bed by midnight. While we know this is unsustainable because you need downtime, we’ve been programmed to believe a round-the-clock hustle is the only way to win.
    This message has only been amplified by how reachable we all are in this day and age; smartphones and technology have made checking our emails and replying to Slack messages too easy. And since our bosses and colleagues can contact us no matter what time or day it is, we’ve come to believe that being more available and doing more is the only way to achieve anything.

    We’ve come to believe that being more available and doing more is the only way to achieve anything.

    Finally, and arguably worst of all, there’s the FOMO on opportunities if you’re “off the grid” or even clocked out. Nothing’s scarier than the idea of falling behind. Plus, the last thing anyone wants is to be perceived as a woman who isn’t willing to do whatever it takes to reach her goals.
    All of this is to say that employees, especially women, feel like they can’t take time off. God forbid we don’t solve someone’s 7 p.m. roadblock until 8 a.m. The whole place might go up in smoke, your career might suffer, and it would be all your fault, right?! Wrong. It’s time to rewrite this narrative.
    7 ways to overcome PTO guilt
    1. Shift your perspective
    Society glorifies maximizing productivity 24/7, but working non-stop only leads to burnout. We all know your work ultimately suffers because of that. So, instead of feeling guilty for using PTO, shift your mindset to focus on the health benefits of it. Ironically, giving yourself time to recharge will boost your productivity more than working around the clock ever could. Plus, time off can also reduce stress and improve your mental health and well-being—all of which will improve your work performance in the long run.
    2. Plan ahead
    Changing gears from work mode to vacation mode isn’t always easy, but planning ahead can help immensely. Not only does this allow you to give your colleagues and boss a heads-up that you’ll be out of the office, but you’ll have more time to wrap up tasks before you log off. This might mean delegating tasks, turning in assignments early, cleaning out your inbox, or sending out a company-wide message reminding everyone you’ll be OOO soon.
    Knowing everything’s taken care of because you prepared ahead of time will make it easier to put away work-related thoughts while you’re away and make you feel less guilty for being away from work. Plus, it always helps to have something to look forward to. Seeing “PTO” on your calendar for a few weeks will motivate you to keep your head down on work before your well-deserved break—regardless of whether you’re going on a getaway or relaxing at home.

    Giving yourself time to recharge will boost your productivity more than working around the clock ever could.

    3. Visualize your time away
    Similar to how planning in advance can be beneficial, visualizing your time away can also help you get into the vacation mindset. Set aside some time to daydream about what you’ll do during your time off. Think about which places you’ll scope out, whether or not you’ll catch up with friends, consider DIY projects you’ll tackle, or curate a dreamy travel wardrobe. Imagining yourself on vacation is going to make it easier to disconnect from work. For once, you won’t think twice about logging off. PTO guilt? The vacation version of you doesn’t know her.
    4. Repeat affirmations
    Since guilt is an internalized, self-conscious feeling that can manifest after feeling like you’ve failed to do something, enlisting the help of vacation affirmations can be beneficial. Affirmations can shift your mindset and help you look at something in a new light. If you’re worried about how taking time off will impact your career, repeat these vacation affirmations to change the way you view and use valuable PTO:

    My mind and body are prepared and ready to relax.
    I deserve a break.
    It’s OK to take time off.
    I will use this time off to recharge and come back better.
    Self-care is non-negotiable.
    I have earned this PTO, and I deserve to enjoy it.
    Everything at work is taken care of.
    I am invaluable to my team, and I’ve earned time away.

    5. Remember that PTO is a benefit that’s meant to be used
    When it comes down to it, if PTO wasn’t important, it wouldn’t be there. After all, companies and bosses aren’t in the habit of handing out perks and compensation for no reason. Plus, we don’t feel guilty for taking advantage of other benefits, like holidays and health insurance. So, the next time you find yourself feeling guilty for taking time off, remember that PTO is a benefit that’s meant to be used. It’s there because it can help you rest, recharge, and come back to work better than ever. Since you accrue PTO days from your hard work, you deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    Since you accrue PTO days from your hard work, you deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    6. Create a return plan
    Stepping away from the grind is one thing—returning to it is another completely. Similar to the Sunday scaries, you might feel some anxiety about going back to work near the end of your PTO—this is natural! However, instead of letting that fear overwhelm you and prevent you from taking much-deserved time off, create a return plan before your PTO begins. This will help curb that anxiety and stress over returning to work and allow you to enjoy your break.
    Chances are, you’re going to miss some things while you’re away, and that’s OK! To avoid walking back into chaos, though, ask your boss or a friendly co-worker if they’d be willing to email you the day before your return to get you up to speed on what happened while you were gone. Likewise, be sure to go over your work calendar for the week the day before as well to see what’s on the agenda. Doing these things will give you an idea of what you’re walking back into and help curb some of those anxious feelings about going back.
    7. Evaluate your boundaries
    Most of us admittedly have a hard time clocking out of work; we answer emails after hours, squeeze in extra work on the weekends, and take on more when our workload is already full. While there’s nothing wrong with working hard, this lack of boundaries only feeds into the narrative that we need to be on at all times. And, of course, makes us feel guilty for taking time off.
    If overworking is something you often find yourself doing, it might be time to evaluate your boundaries with your job. Never giving yourself a much-needed break will only leave you burnt out, unproductive, and underperforming. Instead, prioritize work-life balance by establishing boundaries and letting yourself enjoy your time off. Doing this will shift your mindset and, in turn, alleviate any guilt you might have over using your PTO. More

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    Being a Little ‘Delulu’ Can Help You Accomplish Your Biggest Goals

    I’m no stranger to “being delusional.” I mean, I got a degree in music theatre, and I actively play professional dress-up for a living, so I have to live in the delulu at least a little bit for the sake of my career. But even before I entered into the performing arts, leaning into my delusion was crucial for me to believe that I could make it in such an unpredictable industry—especially since I entered into it during COVID, which we know was precisely when every theatre basically shut down. While some might have called it a day and changed their career path, I found an absurd amount of delusion (or what I like to call courage), and I stuck to what I loved to do. Now, I write professional pretender on my taxes.
    So when I say I’m a little delulu, I don’t mean that I spend my life tricking myself into believing that I’m going to marry every cutie I run into at the airport (although I have and will continue to do that). Instead, I mean that I believe in my wildest dreams, knowing that consistency, courage, hard work, and a ruthlessly optimistic mindset can help me achieve them.
    So, like a big sister or the bad influence friend your parents warned you about (you decide), I’m sharing how you too can lean into your delulu so that you can start checking off some of your dreams on your vision board—no matter how big or far out of reach they seem.
    What does it mean to be delusional?
    If you look up the definition of delusional, Merriam-Webster gives a rather pessimistic view of the word: something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated. We’ve all thrown the word delusional around from time to time—like when your bestie goes on about the various reasons why their Hinge match isn’t responding or how they’re saving money for a trip to Mexico because it’s cheaper than therapy.
    To be honest, I used to view delusion as an insult and that being “in my own little world” was a bad thing, but it wasn’t until recently that I considered a different definition of the word that is less negative and rather rooted in optimism and bravery. Being “delulu” nowadays means less about being unrealistic and more about having an insane amount of self-courage and belief that you are capable of achieving whatever you set your mind to.
    How can being “delulu” benefit you?
    In doing some research about finding a job in the performing arts (and outside of it because, you know, COVID), I came across a survey done by LinkedIn that stated men apply to jobs they are only 60 percent qualified for, while women tend to only apply to jobs they are 100 percent qualified for. What in the patriarchy is this?! I did feel unqualified for the jobs I wanted to apply to, even though I was more than halfway done with my degree at the time, and I was tempted to just throw in the towel. But at the same time, while I believe some men could benefit from a little modesty, I knew the only way to turn this mojo dojo casa house around was to learn from men’s delusion and start gaining the courage to apply to jobs I didn’t think I was qualified for anyway.
    Being qualified is as much about having the right mindset as it is about having experience and accolades. In my case, having a degree in music may seem unconventional, but it taught me how to problem-solve, be detail-oriented, think fast on my feet, and manage high-stress situations… all skills that are highly sought after at a more “practical” occupation if I had to go that route. Realizing this made me think, “How unqualified could I really be?!“

    Stepping into your delulu can give the extra push you need to make progress toward your biggest goals.

    If you’re interested in a job or you’re wildly passionate about something, you’ll automatically put more energy and effort into it than someone who would rather be doing anything else—and that will show. So, whether it’s a job you’re after or a hard-to-reach goal, brainstorm what it will take to get to it. Then, think about what you already have going for you and consider what overlaps between the two. Soon, you’ll see that the connection is much less daunting, and your goal could actually be achievable. Basically, in doing this, you’ll realize that what you’re lacking is enough delusion (AKA a beautiful concoction of courage, patience, and determination) and not the actual qualifications that it takes to achieve your goals.
    What can happen when you step into your delusion?
    When I changed my mindset from thinking I was unqualified to thinking, “Why not me? Why wouldn’t it work out?” I started to walk into interviews believing that I deserved a seat at the table. My newfound courage and confidence allowed me to show my curiosity, ambition, and relentless work ethic—which I wouldn’t have done if I let myself believe I wasn’t good enough or qualified enough to be there. Stepping into your delulu can give you the extra push you need to make progress toward your biggest goals. And as soon as you change your thought process to believing in yourself, you give others permission to believe in you, too.
    Whether you’re climbing the corporate ladder or pounding the pavement trying to get someone important to see your art, your delulu can help you open new doors. Have you been waiting an eternity to make partner? You actually are capable of starting your own firm. Are you having trouble getting someone to cast you? Perhaps it’s time to produce a one-person show. Did your male coworker get a raise, and you didn’t? A meeting with your boss to discuss why you deserve one, too, is imperative.

    Being qualified is as much about having the right mindset as it is about having experience and accolades.

    Even though the things you set your mind to can be intimidating at times, being a little delusional that everything will work out can give you the courage to go for it. This doesn’t mean that you’re skipping the hard work that it will take—it just means that you’re brave enough to take on that hard work because you know you’re capable of achieving your dream life.
    Final thoughts
    Delusion doesn’t equal skipping important steps—I’m not going to try to sweet-talk my way into becoming a surgeon… that would be bad for all parties involved. The point is to be delusional in what you think you are capable of accomplishing. To be delusional into thinking someone will take a chance on you. To be delusional into thinking that your resume five years post-grad is competitive with someone 25 years post-grad.
    Everyone successful that you look up to had to be a little delusional to think they could get to the top and that they were the best person for the job. So be delulu, and you’ll soon realize that the delusion isn’t actually that far from the truth. Also, remember the TikTok trend going around right now, “How hard can it be? Boys do it.” So, really, how hard can it be to be delusional? Boys do it! More

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    This App Makes Managing Self-Employment a Total Breeze

    Almost six years ago, after years of working as a freelance writer on nights and weekends, I quit my salaried job and started working for myself full-time. As could be expected, it took a while for me to build my client base and fill my schedule with assignments (shoutout to The Everygirl for being the first publication to join my newly self-employed roster!). Keeping track of a handful of article assignments didn’t require an intricate organization system at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, but it wasn’t long before I started to lose track of my tasks as my workload increased.
    Fortunately, things began to change quickly for me and my business as I expanded my client base and started offering a greater variety of content creation and digital marketing services, but unfortunately, that meant my to-do list was overflowing and became overwhelming and difficult to manage. Knowing my clients wouldn’t be impressed with missed details or deadlines, I turned to Todoist (a task management system) for help, and let me just say that I’ve been hooked ever since.
    While you don’t have to be self-employed to get a lot out of Todoist, I’d be doing every other entrepreneur out there a disservice if I didn’t walk you through specifically how this task management system helps me stay on top of my self-employed game. I’m breaking down its features along with how I use it to be an efficient business owner ahead.
    What is Todoist?
    Todoist is a task manager and to-do list app that makes it easy to keep up with all of your tasks, no matter how big or small they are. Since it can be integrated with over 80 apps and is accessible across a variety of operating systems and devices—including desktops, smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches—its main job is to keep you organized. As a Mac user, I love that the app syncs on my phone, tablet, desktop, and laptop computer, so I can tackle my to-do list no matter where I am or what device I’m using.
    Within the tool, you can create projects, priorities, labels, tasks, sub-tasks, reoccurring due dates, reminders, and more. Flexible views allow you to keep a bird’s eye view of upcoming work or focus on what you need to do on a certain day, depending on how you like to visualize your workload. Similarly, you can switch between list, calendar, or board views for easier planning and tracking. For example, if you are working on a project for a client, you can view where each task lies on a calendar view or just take a look at your to-do list for the day (or upcoming days) to see what tasks you need to tackle to keep your project on track.
    One of my favorite (and most used) features is the ability to drop important notes and details into a task description that I don’t want to slip through the cracks. It’s incredibly useful to keep tasks open on my phone via the app when I’m on client calls, so when a client is throwing a bunch of small details and deadlines my way, I can jot them down in tasks that they apply to. No matter how you prefer to view and keep up with your work or how detail-oriented your work tasks are, features like this one, plus the features previously mentioned, make focusing on your most pressing to-dos a breeze.
    For many entrepreneurs, the free version of this app offers enough features to seamlessly manage your work; however, there are two paid options if you want more capabilities. The Pro plan is $4 per month and gives you access to more projects, an AI assistant, a longer activity history, and some of the more helpful features like setting reminders. The Business plan is $6 per month and gives you access to all of those things, plus the ability to create a shared team workspace and collaborate with team members. I try to keep my business expenses nice and lean, but after using the free version of this tool and realizing it was the saving grace, I upgraded to the Pro plan, which, to me, is a small price to pay for how organized it keeps me.

    How you can use Todoist to manage self-employment
    Keeping up with deadlines
    I love a good digital organization tool, but I am also a paper planner lover through and through. The physical and visual element helps me to stay clear-headed. However, if I tried to write down every to-do I had on the horizon, my planner would just overwhelm me.
    This is where Todoist comes in. I don’t use it to track my biggest deadlines, like the final product of an article. Instead, I use it to tackle all the tiny deadlines that lead up to a big one. For example, let’s say I need to interview a dermatologist for an upcoming skincare story. I would write the article deadline down in my planner, but I would add mini deadlines about the interview to the app: a deadline for when I need to reach out to potential interview subjects, a deadline for following up with them, and a deadline for prepping for the interview. Adding all of those tiny deadlines to my planner would be overkill, but it’s quick and easy in Todoist.
    It may seem a bit overkill to use a paper planner and a digital task-planning app, but I find having these two systems in place helps me avoid missing any deadlines. By putting the final project deadline in my paper calendar, I always know what big to-dos are on the horizon, but Todoist makes it so much easier to stay on top of the smaller tasks that make up those big projects. I like that I can easily shift around mini-due dates digitally, which would be a mess if I tried to constantly make changes in my physical planner. That being said, many people will find that Todoist is all they need to stay organized—especially since you can sync it with a digital calendar. I just can’t help my love of paper planners.
    Managing admin work
    On top of assignment deadlines, I also have a lot of admin-related deadlines that can be easy to let slip through the cracks. Working with a lot of different publications and brands (we’re talking around 30 every year) is very fun, but also requires staying on top of different admin deadlines—like remembering what day of the month each client likes to receive invoices. Any time an admin request comes through from a client (like signing up for new software or sending them a professional bio), I add it to the app ASAP so I don’t forget about it.
    On top of client-related admin tasks, I keep track of all of my personal admin tasks in Todoist that keep my business running smoothly, such as:

    Quarterly tax payment deadlines
    Canceling free trials or subscriptions to software
    Following up with clients on overdue invoices
    Following up with prospective clients, interview subjects, etc.
    Circling back with past clients to re-engage 
    Cleaning up my inbox
    Checking in with my accountant
    Refreshing my business website

    Organizing bigger projects
    My favorite element of Todoist is how you can organize your tasks into a “project” instead of having one massive list of tasks. This feature doesn’t have to apply to a specific project you’re working on (although it can)—instead, it allows you to break your work into categories. For example, I create a project for each client I work with, a project specifically for my personal admin work, and a project that houses all of my invoices. I find breaking down my tasks by project (or category) helps me stay more organized. In fact, one of the reasons I pay for a subscription is because it gives me the ability to create even more projects.
    Some of your assignments might be simple and won’t require you to build out a project, but let’s say you’re working on an ebook for a client, for example. You could name your project “[client name] ebook” and then create a series of tasks that could include creating an e-book outline, researching topics, submitting the first draft to the client, making necessary edits, and so on.
    By keeping all of my like tasks together, I find that it’s easier to view the status of a project and see where I might be falling behind. Similarly, I can easily view a project and update a client on its progress. Whether you have a lot of project-based work or just simply like to organize your work into buckets, you’ll really love this feature.
    Balancing responsibilities outside of work
    When you work for yourself, it can be easy to let the hustle and bustle of running your business distract from your personal life. This is why I also use Todoist to stay on top of personal tasks. For example, I have tasks to set doctor appointments or buy birthday presents for loved ones. I even have tasks that remind me to pay my bills or cancel subscriptions.
    Life gets busy, so having one clear place to stay organized and friendly reminders to nudge you along can be a big help. If you’re planning a wedding, overseeing a home renovation, or tackling any kind of big personal endeavor, creating a project within the app to house all of your to-dos will be a game changer.
    It’s so easy to grab a Post-It note or random notebook, write down things you need to get to, and promptly forget about them. Having my responsibilities front and center (and in one place) has made managing both my professional and personal life more efficient. Plus, it saves me a lot of time and helps me achieve a better work-life balance, and who doesn’t want that? More

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    How to Combat Imposter Syndrome So It Doesn’t Stunt Your Career Growth

    If you’ve experienced the feelings of imposter syndrome in the workplace, know this: You are absolutely not alone. We’ve all felt it a time or two (or are feeling it now). Imposter syndrome refers to the experience of feeling like a fake or that you might be “found out” despite any success or growth you achieve. So whether you felt it on the first day of a new job, when you landed a big promotion, or when dealing with your first major setback in a project, that feeling of wondering if everyone can see right through you and your self-appointed “lack of experience” is, unfortunately, not uncommon.
    I’m no stranger to this experience—I’d even go as far as to consider it my biggest enemy when it comes to my career growth. I always believed that people could tell when I was shooting in the dark, but the truth is that I wasn’t—and they couldn’t. What they did see, however, was a young professional who didn’t believe in herself. So, why should they?
    Unlike humility, imposter syndrome can do real harm to your career trajectory and your mental health. According to the American Psychological Association, these feelings can increase anxiety and depression, limit risk-taking in careers, and cause complete career burnout. So, how do we put a stop to it? Well, the answers lie ahead. Here’s how to combat imposter syndrome in the workplace so it doesn’t stunt your career growth.
    Focus on the facts
    Imposter syndrome can manifest in various ways, including consistently downplaying achievements, comparing yourself to others, and the inability to attribute your achievements to your work. It can make you feel like you’re terrible at your job or not cut out for it, but most of the time, these feelings are based on fear, not the reality of the situation. It can be hard to differentiate the facts (undeniable and observable truths) from the stories (how you interpret these undeniable truths).
    As someone who works primarily in a creative field, I’m a masterful storyteller. To be honest, this hurts me just as often as it helps me. When I find the imposter monster creeping up behind me, I’ve learned to whip out my notebook and make a list of what I think happened versus what actually happened. For example, let’s say I present an idea to my team, and it doesn’t get picked up. Bummer, right? Sure. In this scenario, I used to jump straight to the conclusion that I wasn’t ready to lead projects or couldn’t be trusted to cultivate fresh ideas, neither of which is true. But now, instead of getting caught up in my head about it, I make a list.
    If you feel as though you said something wrong in a meeting, think about what you said exactly. How did your co-workers respond, word-for-word? Very rarely is it as bad as you remember. And even if so, it’s a learning experience, not a death sentence. If you aren’t careful to separate the anxieties in your head from real-life occurrences, you’ll be less likely to speak up and share innovative ideas with your team, which will hurt your career progression in the long run. You’ve been hired for all you bring to the table, so don’t let insecurity prevent you from showing up. Creating space to check in with reality can help silence the alarm bells when they sound.

    You’ve been hired for all you bring to the table, so don’t let insecurity prevent you from showing up.

    Create a “Read on Bad Days” folder
    Whenever I start a new job or project with a new company, the first thing I do is create a “Read on Bad Days” folder. In addition to my full-time marketing position, I do a lot of contract and freelance work, so I have a lot of these, and they have become my secret weapon. Basically, this is a space to put any emails, screenshots, or projects that validate your achievements. These keepsakes can be as small as a funny Slack message or as large as a full performance review. I have countless kind and affirming emails from colleagues saved in my “Read on Bad Days” folder to turn to when I need a reminder that I’m on the right track. I even open this folder on good days sometimes to look at how far I’ve come.
    I’m a big believer in the idea that the energy we put out is the energy we get back. Mindfulness is my bread and butter, so reminding myself that feelings of insecurity are a temporary setback in the middle of a long career journey is imperative to keep moving forward. Consistently adding to a folder like this can combat imposter syndrome and prevent you from falling into negative patterns with your work performance. It’s easy to give up and do a sub-par job when you’re feeling bad about yourself, but that is when it’s most important not to. Lack of self-confidence will impact how you show up for your day, but so will newfound confidence. When it all feels a little overwhelming, open the folder and breathe.
    Reframe negative thoughts and situations
    Our thoughts do define us. They have real power when it comes to how we perceive ourselves and the world around us, so when you find yourself overthinking a situation, try to reframe your thoughts. It’s normal to make mistakes, have projects that don’t go well, and be in meetings that make you want to hide under a rock, but the little voice in your head telling you that you’re a total failure needs to be monitored. So next time you can’t seem to let go of the mistake you made at work, give yourself the grace to try again. Indifference is not progress, and I’m never advising you to throw your cares to the wind. However, instead of jumping to “I am awful,” replace it with “I know what to do better next time.” Misery loves company, and sitting in feelings of self-loathing shows through in your work.
    Although you may think your negativity about your perceived job performance only affects you, it can quickly spread through a team, resulting in lower morale and decreased productivity. It will also impact your personal career growth. Your managers and co-workers may start to see you as someone who can’t quite handle the heat or who moves through the workplace so timidly that they’re afraid to give you additional responsibilities. Making mistakes is normal, but it’s how you handle your mistakes that matters. Eventually, the way you talk about your work becomes the work you do, both positively and negatively. Find affirmations that align with the reminders you need, and repeat them. Live by them. Think of it as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.
    Share how you’re feeling
    Don’t try to tackle imposter syndrome alone. As isolating as it can feel, you’re not the only one. Talk to trusted friends or family about how you’re feeling! My fiancee and I have what we call “Pity Sessions” where we vent about work and don’t ask for solutions. The only correct response from the other person is a list of reasons to be proud of the work we’ve done. It goes a long way to know you have people in your corner who are not directly tied to your employment.
    In the same way you lean on your support circle, let your manager know if you need a little direction or feel in over your head. They are there to guide you and support your career growth, but they can’t help if you don’t let them. If you don’t share how you’re feeling with your manager or ask the questions you need to know to perform your job responsibilities, they might wonder whether or not you’re capable of doing your job, which could affect upcoming promotions and opportunities headed your way.

    The way you talk about your work becomes the work you do, both positively and negatively.

    Get comfortable celebrating your accomplishments
    Don’t hold back from sharing your accomplishments with your managers and co-workers, either. When it comes time to negotiate a promotion or a pay raise, being able to confidently communicate how you’re actively excelling is just as important as knowing where you need to improve. Whether you checked off almost everything on your to-do list today or won the biggest deal of your career, a win is worth celebrating. Write down when you feel good about your performance. Maybe you led a meeting that went well, or maybe it’s enough that you showed up today.
    When you recognize that you’re doing a good job regularly, you are less likely to think you’re not enough. Share these moments with people you trust, and let them celebrate with you. I used to feel like celebrating my little wins made me cocky, but it doesn’t. When I can talk confidently about my accomplishments, no matter how small, others listen. So when it comes time to interview for that amazing promotion, share what you’ve done well. If you don’t, your manager may question your self-awareness or your confidence regarding the role. Don’t let this hold you back from getting what you truly deserve.
    Remember that if you weren’t ready, you wouldn’t have the opportunity
    You are in your position for a reason. The people who put you there know what they’re doing. It’s taken years for this to click in my head—but by saying I don’t deserve the opportunities I have, I’m directly insulting the directors, managers, and professionals who have given them to me. Nobody hits the mark every time, not even the CEO you admire or your favorite artist. I promise.
    Beating imposter syndrome is an uphill battle, and I certainly don’t have it all figured out yet. On the worst days, when even my lists can’t remind me enough, I default to two things: 1. If you weren’t ready, you wouldn’t have been presented with the opportunity, and 2. Would you stand in front of the people who hired you and tell them they made a mistake? No. You wouldn’t. So, start acting like you deserve to be where you are—because you do. More

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    Remote Work Creates a Unique Type of Anxiety—Here’s How to Handle It

    Once upon a time, anxiety-inducing moments at work consisted mainly of awkward attempts to make small talk by the coffee machine, being called into your boss’ office unexpectedly, or struggling to remember a coworker’s name. Now, the coffee machine is a Slack channel, Google Calendar ensures that no meeting goes unscheduled, and everyone’s name is right in their little box on Zoom. In a hybrid or remote workplace, new stressors abound. From struggling to interpret the tone of written messages to the endless stream of notifications, it’s hard to know what the new normal of the workplace really is—and whether we even like that new normal.
    Add two extremely tech-savvy generations working together for the first time on top of all of this, and you get some pretty extreme remote workplace anxiety. In December, Business Insider highlighted the intense impact the remote workplace has had on the mental health of Gen Z and Millennials—Gen Z as they enter the workforce and Millennials as they navigate new managerial roles. A 2022 Gallup survey found that nearly half of all employees ages 18-29 reported that their job had negatively impacted their mental health. And remote workplace anxiety isn’t just showing up in hard news and numbers: Social media stars like Corporate Natalie show in their content that between entry-level Gen Zers and Millennial bosses, everyone is kind of freaking out.
    No matter your generation or position, it’s likely that you’ve been touched by a tad of remote work anxiety at one point or another over the past few years. How can managers and entry-level workers alike turn the remote workplace into something that actually works for us? Not to toot our own horn, but The Everygirl has been hybrid and remote since pre-pandemic—and we have some thoughts. Here’s how two of us, as a manager and entry-level employee duo, navigate the ins and outs of remote workplace anxiety and how you can, too.

    In this article

    If you’re feeling unclear on protocol at your new job…
    As an entry-level employee: Take as many chances as you can to chat on video
    When I first started interning at The Everygirl, I had been used to spending hours on Zoom with my classmates, even when we were just silently working on a paper. Comparatively, being assigned tasks and communicating with my team members almost completely through Slack, Asana, and email in the workplace left me feeling untethered. I struggled to know when to ask for more work and was even more intimidated when I felt like I might need something taken off my plate. My solution to this over the past couple of years has been taking advantage of every single video and audio chatting opportunity that comes my way. During video check-ins with my managers, I’ve been able to brain-dump my questions once a week rather than bombarding them via messages when I’m feeling confused about protocol.
    As their manager: Substitute desk-side chats with screen-sharing
    When I first entered the workforce, I shared a small office with our entire department. Which meant I had (almost) unlimited access to both my peers and supervisors whenever I needed help. Our younger employees, who started working in a post-COVID, remote-first world, have no one next to them to turn to for help. It’s a loss I never really considered until I saw it firsthand. For me, making the switch to full-time remote years into my career was a welcome transition that saw my productivity skyrocket—but I already had the soft skills that come from working in an office to help me in new roles.
    That context is crucial when considering how new entry-level employees get their questions answered. They can’t pull aside a friendly peer who can show them the ropes. Instead, they have tiny Slack icons and a list of names they’re not familiar with. With this in mind, I take every opportunity to screen share when anyone on my team has a question or when I’ve assigned them a new task. While this isn’t the same as walking up to their desk and showing them how to do something in person, visually seeing how a task is meant to be completed can go a long way in providing clarity.
    If oversharing and emotions are interfering with your work…
    As an entry-level employee: Ask yourself if your manager really has the answers
    Where conversation flows more naturally in an office setting, the nature of virtual meetings brings out the blabbering in me. Far too often, I’ve found myself brain-dumping to one of my managers or sharing something about myself that is irrelevant to the meeting I’m in. Frankly, a lot of what addressing this problem has looked like for me is taking a moment to consider what my bosses can and cannot help me with before our check-ins.
    Before the meeting, I’ll ask myself which of the anxieties that came up for me in the past week are things that they might have experience with or insight on. Sometimes, I’ll be stressed about something that falls perfectly in my manager’s wheelhouse, so I’ll know I can open up to her about it. Other times, I find myself taking a step back and deciding that that particular workplace anxiety is something I need to cover with a friend or another entry-level coworker. Doing so has helped me parse my work stressors between things that have an institutional solution (which I bring to my manager) and things that have an individual solution (which I work through myself).
    As their manager: Sympathize and focus on what you can control
    I was once a college freshman, working retail, crying in the stock room because I had Big Feelings at work. In retrospect, that was neither the time nor the place for me to express those feelings. But, the ability to compartmentalize my personal and work stressors didn’t arrive until years into my career. Separating work from life is always challenging, which means that when we’re experiencing stress in one of those areas, it can easily manifest in the other.
    I wish I could snap my fingers and make everything OK for my direct reports, but I can’t—and that isn’t my job. Instead, when emotions start affecting how someone is feeling about work, I take a step back and put myself in their shoes. Chances are, I’ve felt exactly (or at least similar) to how they’re feeling. Then, I focus on what I can actually do for them. In many cases, that means reprioritizing their projects, moving due dates around, and offering unique accommodations if there’s a particular area causing stress. Being flexible is key; it gives employees the freedom to work through their feelings in the appropriate avenues and return to their regular responsibilities feeling reinvigorated. In the meantime, I often try to find something “fun” for them to work on when they come to me feeling stressed or burnt out.
    If everyone around you is reevaluating their relationship with work…
    As an entry-level employee: Try having “upward empathy”
    I entered the remote workplace in the spring of 2021, right around the time that everyone started to actually appreciate not having to change out of sweatpants for the entire workday. Throughout my first few years of working remotely, this new approach to the workplace clashed with what can only be described as my overwhelming youthful enthusiasm for work. While my coworkers who had a few years under their belts welcomed an energetic shift, I was left with a lot of excess anxious energy that had nowhere to go once I started.
    The mindset reframes that completely shifted how I felt about this hard-to-navigate dynamic came up in an interview on The Everygirl Podcast with Lauren McGoodwin of Career Contessa. McGoodwin highlighted “upward empathy,” which happens when an entry-level employee feels empathy for their manager. As new employees, we typically think of managers as having empathy for us, but a whole world of possibilities opens up when we start to have empathy for them. Considering how I could incorporate upward empathy into my workflow finally gave me a place to direct my entry-level eagerness in a work world that was reevaluating what a healthy work-life balance looked like. Thinking about how I could make life easier for my manager has meant gaining skills I might not otherwise have the chance to learn, including learning the ropes of audio and video editing and even experimenting with how AI can help streamline workflow. Having a decent work-life balance doesn’t always mean doing less. Sometimes, it means doing more work that you find more interesting or intellectually stimulating.
    As their manager: Figure out what makes them excited for work and lean into it
    There’s a lot of ~discourse~ around how the different generations approach their jobs. With each passing age group, workers seem to prioritize the life part of work-life balance a whole lot more—and I am 100 percent here for it. But in a world where the most important things to the newest generation of workers are maximizing their PTO, clocking off right at 5, and making sure they’re getting paid what they deserve, how do you make sure they’re also interested in and happy with their work? There’s a big difference in the output of employees who are simply signing on for a paycheck and ones who genuinely love what they do. Our job as their manager is to help them become the latter.
    I know that not every aspect of a person’s job is going to be the most fun thing ever, but if I can, I always try to give my team responsibilities that I know excite them and make sure they’re growing in the direction they want. Rather than assume I know the best path, I use our check-ins to gauge how they’re feeling about their responsibilities and offer suggestions when things start to get a little mundane. By constantly checking in on how they feel about their work and pinpointing where they’re most interested in doing more, I can move them further in that direction when performance reviews and promotions come around.
    If you’re struggling with engagement…
    As an entry-level employee: Get involved at work to foster more connections
    According to a 2022 Gallup survey, most young workers don’t feel a connection to their coworkers and are much more likely to be actively disengaged at work than previous generations. Doing good work means feeling invested in your workplace and work culture, and it’s harder than ever to achieve that level of community and enthusiasm in a remote environment.
    In my experience, joining the Employee Engagement Committee at work was the biggest game changer for my own day-to-day enthusiasm for my job and my workplace anxieties. Knowing that there are other people, many of whom I have never met in person, in my workplace who want to organize opportunities for connection as much as I do helps me feel like my workplace is a true community rather than an ethereal swarm of Slack messages. Through EEC, I’ve made connections with coworkers with whom I rarely have a chance to chat on video, realized that it actually is possible to plan a fun virtual event, and found yet another outlet for my youthful enthusiasm. Finding opportunities for non-work chat, whether it looks like hopping on a committee or even just connecting with your manager over your mutual love of Taylor Swift, is essential for preventing workplace anxiety—especially on those WFH days when it just feels like you’re going through the motions.
    As their manager: Dedicate time to connect on non-work topics
    When I was a mid-level employee working in an office, I spent a lot of time getting to know my coworkers and supervisors on more personal levels. This meant chatting about the huge movie release we all saw over the weekend, Taylor Swift’s Lover announcement, or laughing over a funny meme we just saw. All this chatting, admittedly, is part of the reason my productivity went through the roof when I started working from home—but in the early stages of my career, it made going to work every day something I looked forward to rather than dreaded.
    Now that much of our work is conducted from the comfort of our own homes, those opportunities for connection are few and far between. Something I’ve had to learn and am still getting better at is providing space at the beginning of (and sometimes throughout) meetings for more personal conversations. In more one-on-one settings, this means asking my reports about the things they did over the weekend or asking for their thoughts on whatever it is that went viral over the weekend. It is so easy for employees to feel isolated when their only real company is their laptop and re-runs of Gossip Girl playing in the background, so I try to remember that meetings have a secret second purpose: fostering connections between team members who rarely get face-to-face time with each other. But even on days with no meetings, reaching out with an article they might like, a book recommendation, or even a meme that made you think of them can go a long way in making employees feel like they’re part of a team rather than floating in the abyss.
    Final thoughts on workplace anxiety…
    From an entry-level employee:
    Ultimately, reducing remote workplace anxiety starts with acknowledging that it exists. It’s different and less tangible than showing up to an office on the day of a big presentation or forgetting a coworker’s name, but it’s there nonetheless. Your approach to managing these new stressors will be different depending on your role, your company, and your pre-existing relationship with work—but the way we tackle remote work anxiety as teams and institutions start with open conversations. And if you want to be the one to get the ball rolling? Easy: just send this article to your boss.
    From a manager:
    Whenever I find myself struggling to understand what a direct report might be feeling, I remember little Garri crying in the stock room at her retail job. Granted, everyone I’ve worked with since then has it a little more together than I did, and it helps remind me that workplace anxiety is a real issue that I can do something about. The solution we, as managers, come to will (and should!) be different from person to person, but if you start from a place of sympathy, are flexible when you can be, and lean into the things that foster their growth and engagement at work, you can address workplace anxiety before it leads to an even worse problem. More

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    This Genius Method Is Helping Me Accomplish My Goals in Just 12 Weeks

    Every year, in the week leading up to New Year’s Eve, I reflect on the year I’ve had, round up vision board supplies to dream about the year ahead, and fill out reflection and goal-planning workbooks. Like most of us, I brainstorm goals for my career, relationships, social life, health, and more, and I think, “Certainly, I can accomplish all of these things by next year!” But despite my best goal-setting efforts and the deep excitement I feel for what’s to come, I can’t help but feel generally overwhelmed.
    To be honest, I typically end up setting vague commitments, letting the year play out, and adjusting my path along the way, and that doesn’t always yield great results. Knowing this about myself, I wanted to try something new this year, and as always, the internet had an answer for me. Inspired by a popular time management book making waves across social media, I picked up a copy of The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington to see what the hype was about and attempt to plan my success.
    After reading Moran and Lennington’s framework and advice, I’m here to share what I learned from The 12 Week Year, how I’m leveraging it all to set meaningful, measurable goals, and whether or not it’s yielded results for me so far.

    Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington

    Leading experts on execution and implementation, Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington share a how-to guide for those who are seeking to improve their execution effectiveness from one year to just 12 weeks. This book will help you redefine your year to create clarity and urgency on what matters now and ultimately speed your journey to success.

    What is a 12 week year?
    According to Moran and Lennington, “A year is no longer 12 months, it is now only 12 weeks.” This allows us to redefine the traditional framework of a full year; however, it’s important to note that this isn’t the same as dividing a calendar year into four (like you would when you plan quarterly). You can start your 12 week year at any time and count 12 weeks from your starting point to determine when your year ends. Basically, you don’t have to start on January 1 if you want to start crushing your goals using this framework—you can start counting your 12 weeks whenever you want! And after the 12 weeks is over, you can start again right away or whenever you’re ready. There are no hard and fast rules!
    How do you structure your days?
    When you have 365 days to achieve your goals, you don’t have to be as strict with your time as you do when you only have 84. Each moment in each day is important in a 12 week year, so structuring your day and outlining your tactics (or your to-do list) is crucial for making progress toward your goals. Your daily actions are what drive you toward actual change, so plan your days with actionable, specific, and time-bound tasks. For example, if you are planning to prioritize your health as a goal, some of your daily to-dos might include incorporating 30 minutes of movement each day on your lunch break (whether it’s a short walk, a workout, or light stretching) and eating at home five out of seven nights of the week. The tactics you set out to do should be clear enough that you can tell right away if you’re achieving them. Otherwise, it will be hard to tell at the end of your day, week, and full 12 weeks if you accomplished what you intended.
    How can you be the most intentional with your limited time?
    Achieving your goals requires more than planning and luck. You’ll also need to ensure you’re using your time intentionally. Moran and Lennington discuss intentionality and how, in order to accomplish your goals, you have to be intentional about how and where you invest your time. Time-blocking is a great way to ensure all of your time is well-spent. In the book, the authors discuss three helpful types of time blocks that hold a specific purpose, whether it’s to power through hard work or simply take a much-needed rest—because both are important for achieving your goals.

    Strategic blocks: This is a three-hour block of uninterrupted time that you can schedule each week for deep, distraction-free concentration.
    Buffer blocks: This is a block for unplanned and low-value activities that can feel rather time-consuming, and the allotted time varies for each person.
    Breakout blocks: This is another three-hour (or more) block of time that is spent away from your work. Think of this as free time to be totally disconnected.

    How do hold yourself accountable throughout a 12 week year?
    Determining your weeks and structuring your days will help you pull together a strong plan, but it’s essential to implement accountability and progress checks to guide you. Moran and Lennington recommend spending 15-20 minutes at the beginning of each week and the first five minutes of each day reviewing your progress. This can help you determine the areas you’re doing a good job in, whether or not you’ve been allocating your time effectively, and where you might be falling behind and need to restructure your tasks and plans. Checking in with your progress frequently keeps your goals top of mind, too.
    Moran and Lennington also suggest implementing a scorekeeping method to measure your weekly efforts. This doesn’t have to be complicated or overly strict, but it should give you a good idea as to whether you met your goals for the week or not. To do this, review the tactics you intended to complete throughout the week and cross off what you actually did finish. Then, count the number of tactics you completed and divide it by the total number you intended to do. This will give you your score for the week. Moran and Lennigton found that if you achieve a minimum of 85 percent each week, you’re likely to hit your goals at the end of the 12 week year!
    Regular accountability checks and scorekeeping can let you know if you are truly making progress toward your goals because let’s face it: If we don’t measure ourselves, it’s easy to tell ourselves we’re making progress, only to come up short. These check-in points also allow you to assess whether you set the right tactics for yourself, which means that if there’s a tactic you aren’t hitting week after week, you should reassess it and adjust if needed.
    How do you achieve your goals in less time?
    The concept of the 12 week year is also built on three principles that, when executed well, drive personal and professional success. To achieve your goals, Moran and Lennington believe accountability, commitment, and harnessing greatness in each moment is crucial. While we already reviewed the importance of accountability and understand the importance of being committed to your work and your goals, harnessing greatness in the moment is a principle I had never considered before.
    A lot of us think that greatness comes after we achieve our big dreams—like we’ll be happy when we achieve something—but the real power lies in believing in our greatness throughout the entire process. When we do this, we are more likely to do the things we need to feel great and enjoy the process along the way.
    With the help of these three principles, we know our goals, we know what we need to do to achieve them, and we aren’t afraid to set boundaries around our lives and schedules to help us do so. All of these things bring us closer to success.
    Source: @vlada-karpovich | Pexels
    How I’m using 12 week years to crush my goals this year
    I’m creating short-term visions
    In the same way that people make a vision for the entire year, I made a vision board for my 12 week sprint. For the first time, I felt less pressure to do ~all the things~ and instead focused on a short-term vision. Moran and Lennington note that it’s essential to get specific about what you can do in the short term to take meaningful steps toward your bigger dreams. To do this, you should ask yourself a series of questions to identify what you want to achieve. Below are a few questions that are recommended in the book, as well as a few of my own, that I sprinkled in to ask myself to define my short-term vision and determine my goals.

    What is most important to me in all aspects of my life?
    How much time freedom do I want?
    What income do I need (versus want)?
    What do I find fulfilling?
    What dreams do I have, and what risks or barriers are in my way?
    Where do I feel most purpose-led?

    I found that it was refreshing and exciting to let my mind wander in these directions. This process really helped me capture what I wanted to achieve without the pressure to be perfect or the rush to do everything all at once.
    I’m determining measurable goals
    According to the book, many 12 week plans should only include two or three goals. Since time is limited, they should be specific and measurable, as we discussed earlier. Ahead are the goals I defined for myself, as well as how I am planning to achieve them, in case you need some examples or inspiration for your own planning!
    Grow my professional network
    As much as I know that building a strong professional network and making connections is important (especially in an ever-changing job market), I don’t always prioritize time to grow mine. So, I’ve set this as a goal as part of my first 12 week plan to connect with and learn from like-minded professionals and expand my reach as a freelance writer.
    To achieve this goal, I plan to post on LinkedIn at least three times per week, attend one networking event by the end of my 12 week year, and spend at least one hour per week engaging with other freelancers. As you can tell, these are all specific and measurable, so they are easy to score myself on.
    Adopt a consistent morning routine
    I know from experience that my mental health is better, that I’m more productive during the day, and that I perform better when my morning routine is consistent. For my first 12 week year, I knew that because of these things, I should give my existing morning routine an overhaul as it affects all aspects of my life and, subsequently, my goals.
    To achieve this, my goal is to wake up at 6:30 am every weekday (no snooze button allowed), brush my teeth as soon as I get up, and get changed out of my pajamas before I leave my bedroom. These things will help me feel less groggy and more confident and prepared to take on the day. In addition to this, drinking at least one glass of water before I reach for a cup of coffee and setting a strict “no social media until after 10:00 a.m.” rule is present on my daily to-do list. With these things in place, I anticipate seeing my productivity and mental health improve significantly.
    I’m documenting my progress and planning ahead
    I used my first attempt at a 12 week year as an excuse to buy another planner I didn’t need (because duh) so I could track my progress along the way. On Sunday evenings, before bed, I document my progress by scoring my week. This usually looks like a written “Heck yes, I did it!” or “I missed this goal this week” for each of the tactics I outlined at the beginning of the week (or a simple checkmark and an X, depending on my mood).
    Once I review my score from the previous week, I use that to guide the following. For example, if I didn’t post as many times on LinkedIn as I planned to the week prior, I make sure to prioritize that or do an extra post. I also use this time to put blocks on my calendar for different activities, ensuring I leave little wiggle room for determining how best to spend my time in the moment since breakout blocks (reminder: these are the time blocks spent away from work) are equally as productive, according to Moran and Lennington.
    Final Thoughts
    I’m only a few weeks in, but so far, I’m enjoying this framework and already seeing benefits. I don’t mean to brag, but since I started my first 12 week year, my scorecard has averaged a solid 90 percent! As a recovering perfectionist, I have to be honest and admit that because I always want a perfect score, I find it challenging to be honest with myself about my progress. However, I have recognized throughout this process so far that if I score perfectly, my goals might be too easy. Taking the time to pause and adjust for the greater good of my goals is all a part of growing and learning.
    The 12 week year has taught me to find the excitement in goal-setting and fresh starts instead of feeling overwhelmed by them. I can’t wait to capture more of that “new year, better me” energy beyond the month of January and achieve more goals regularly, knowing that I have the framework and support to do it, thanks to Moran and Lennington.

    Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington

    Leading experts on execution and implementation, Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington share a how-to guide for those who are seeking to improve their execution effectiveness from one year to just 12 weeks. This book will help you redefine your year to create clarity and urgency on what matters now and ultimately speed your journey to success. More

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    10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Career Move

    In my 10 years of professional experience, at least five moments come to mind when I think of making big career moves. If I factor in minor, less large-scale changes, that number continues to grow. In those 10 years, I’ve worked at five different companies in six different roles across varying industries and skill sets, all while changing careers from an aspiring certified public accountant to a communications professional, freelance writer, and podcast host. All that to say, I have a lot of experience making career moves.
    Throughout those years, I’ve honed in on a list of go-to questions I ask myself when considering a career move, whether because I’m feeling stuck workwise or because I’ve found myself at a career crossroads. Making changes in your life can be both exhilarating and terrifying, and career moves are no exception. The key is to assess where you’ve been, where you currently are, and where you want to go so you can be strategic about your next move. Ellen Taaffe, leadership coach, Kellogg Professor, former Fortune 500 executive, and TEDx speaker, agrees. She shares, “When thinking about a career move, consider what matters most in your career and life currently and in the next few years. Start with where you are and where you want to go.”
    If you’re facing uncertainty in your career and trying to determine what’s next, ask yourself these 10 questions.
    1. How am I feeling?
    Before making any decisions, take a moment to check in with yourself. Taking a pulse check of where you currently are will help you determine your next best move. Sometimes, it’s necessary to slow down so we can move forward. Consider things like your satisfaction with your current role. Ask yourself questions like: Are you burned out by your workload or unsatisfied with your job? Are you being challenged by your work? Feeling underutilized or overutilized? Are you overwhelmed, happy, or content with your current situation? Pausing to get a clear picture of where you stand will help you decide where to go.
    2. What am I really good at?
    While we’re reflecting, take a moment to identify your strengths. These are the tasks and responsibilities you excel at in your current role and any previous positions. We’re not considering whether you like the task just yet (we’ll do that soon). Write down everything people turn to you to do because you’re the best of the best, whether it’s in your job description or not.
    3. What work brings me joy?
    Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you like it. I’m exceptional at doing the dishes, but does that bring me joy? Not exactly. Take inventory of the work and responsibilities that fulfill you and give you purpose in the workplace. What are you passionate about and absolutely love to do? Get clear on these items so you know which direction you should take in your career. And note, it’s okay if the things that once gave you joy don’t anymore. Our interests are sure to change throughout our careers.

    Sometimes, it’s necessary to slow down so we can move forward.

    4. Where do my strengths and fulfillment align?
    You know what you’re good at and what brings you joy. Now, figure out where the tasks cross paths. Do your strengths and passions align with your current role and responsibilities? If not, are there opportunities for improvement? Understanding where your strengths and purpose intersect helps you appreciate your sweet spot and know what superpower you bring to the table. This is key to determining your next career move and where you can add value at work.
    5. What are my non-negotiables?
    Gone are the days when work was just a paycheck. There are a lot of aspects that make up an ideal working situation. Determine your non-negotiables and how many your current company and role check. Then, do your research to see if some other roles or companies could meet your needs.
    Some non-negotiables to consider include:

    Work Location: Do you want to work in-person, hybrid, or remotely?
    Benefits and Perks: What benefits are an absolute must? (i.e., medical, dental, vision, 401(k), paid time off, gym reimbursement, mental health days, tuition assistance, parental leave, etc.)
    Work Environment: What’s your preferred industry (i.e., tech, financial services, retail), company size (i.e., small, medium, large), physical location (i.e., close to your current address, in a different state), company culture, etc.?
    Team Environment: Do you want to manage others or work as an individual contributor? Do you prefer a large team, a small team, collaborative work, or asynchronous work? Do you want coworkers you can relate to? Do you have preferred team dynamics?
    Finances: What’s your preferred salary, bonus potential, stock options, etc.? What financial situations (i.e., student loans, debt, saving for a down payment on a house) do you need to consider?
    Growth Opportunities: Are you looking for the potential to advance at a company, professional development opportunities, ability to grow a team, etc.?
    Responsibilities: What are the tasks that absolutely need to be included in your role or that you absolutely don’t want to do?
    Title: Is there a specific title you’ve set your sights on?
    Work-Life Balance: How do you want work to integrate into your life?
    Risk Tolerance: Are you a risky or risk-averse person? What risk level are you comfortable with? Taaffe recommends asking yourself, “In six to twelve months, would you regret staying or leaving more?” This helps identify the risk to our careers and mindset of staying in a questionable situation or leaving as we leap into the unknown.

    6. What are my values?
    We often hear about company mission statements and values, but what about your personal values? What do you value in your life and career? Maybe you’re passionate about helping others or the environment. Or perhaps you want to drive diversity and be a female leader in a male-dominated industry. There is no right or wrong answer. Values are personal to everyone. If it helps, take a moment to draft a personal mission statement that can serve as your guidepost when determining your next move.
    7. What are my career aspirations?
    Up to this point, we’ve gotten a good picture of where you’ve been and where you currently are. Now, it’s time to focus on where you want to go. Are you an individual contributor wanting to move into a management role? Do you want to change industries? Have you been thinking about starting your own business? Maybe you want to go back to school. Dream big here. There are no limits to what you want to achieve in your career. Aim high. You may not get there in your next role, but it’ll help you be strategic to figure out the next best career move for you.

    8. What do I need to support my career advancement?
    Once you know where you want your career to go, it’s time to assess what you need to get there. Do you need more exposure or opportunities in your current role to land a promotion? Would you benefit from having a mentor? What about joining a professional organization or volunteering? Or maybe you need to identify learning opportunities to upskill and further your career. “As technology continues to evolve, it’s essential that everyone develops skills to adapt,” shares Amanda Brophy, Director of Grow with Google. “Today, 92% of jobs require digital skills, and this percentage is only expected to grow. Proactively upskilling helps employees keep their skills current and makes them more marketable internally and externally.”
    Keep in mind you don’t need to solve the entirety of your career equation right now. You just need to identify what the next one or two steps might look like. So, while a big promotion might be your goal, your next move might look like asking to get on a new project to demonstrate your leadership skills. Or, if you’re looking to break into a new industry or sharpen your skills, obtaining a certificate or taking classes can be the differentiator between you and another candidate.
    9. What’s next?
    Up until this point, you’ve done a lot of reflection. You’ve taken inventory of where you are and where you want to go, and now it’s time to decide what’s next. “The decision to change companies or roles is an individual one,” Taafee shares. “I suggest you reflect on your progression, learning, and motivation to determine if it’s time to move on.” After assessing your current situation, desires, and other data points, it’s time to determine if your current situation and company align with where you want to go. You’ll likely be met with one of these four main paths:

    Growing in your current role at your current company,
    Finding a new role at your current company,
    Looking for a similar role at a new company, or
    Moving into a new role at a new company.

    That’s not to say there aren’t other options available to you but to help you simplify it, those four paths are a good place to start. Also, whatever path you choose, know that other opportunities are available to meet your needs. You can start a side hustle, take up a new hobby, go back to school to obtain a degree or learn new skills via a certificate program, among other things.
    10. What’s my gut telling me?
    We can aspire to make logical decisions based on data and pros and cons lists, and I wholeheartedly agree that data serves as a guiding light. But something else can also steer us on the right path: our guts. What direction is your gut telling you to take in your career? It may be completely different from what the data tells you and contradict everything you thought you wanted. But I’m here to tell you that’s okay.
    I believe we have gut reactions to choices because we’ve acquired a million data points from other situations in our lives. So, while a gut reaction might feel nonsensical, it’s our body’s way of steering us in the right direction for us. At the end of the day, you need to lay your head on your pillow at night and be happy with the choices you make. So, assess the data, listen to your gut, and be prepared for amazing things. More