Focusing on the Future: Steps to Stay Relevant

Photo via New York Times

It’s safe to say that all “knowledge-worker” professionals know that we must always be focusing and planning for the future. In finance (401k! long-term savings!) in health (get those annual checkups!) and other aspects of our lives.

It always comes down to time- where can you make trade-offs? How can you get more things done with an ever-decreasing amount of time and/or money?

Sometimes we cut corners – maybe it’s reading the “cliffs notes” (or even the movie) instead of the book version. Or maybe it’s just reading Mashable instead of delving deep and putting together our own opinions on things instead of rephrasing what someone else said.

In college I worked for the Dean of Research at Syracuse University for all 4 years of my undergraduate career and learned a few things:

1. Read! Then read some more!

How can you form a true opinion on something by just reading a few paragraphs? You can’t make an argument without reading what’s out there.

2. Define your (own) interest area

Writing about something just because [insert blog here] picked it up doesn’t make you relevant. Look beyond the obvious and create something new. Find your voice and overall goal for what you want to communicate and be willing to constantly evolve. And don’t be afraid to ask for help and feedback while doing so.

3. Find a sounding board

Not everyone has a sounding board for their opinions and ideas. But we all have the Internet. I started this blog as my outlet for continuing my interest in research after my time as a true “researcher” ended. It’s never too late to pick it back up again and fine tune your skills using a platform that fits your goal area.

4. Get Inspired

Keep tabs on what inspires you by creating a Pinterest, or even a Tumblr of your favorite ideas, photos, quotes (and everything else!) as a place to return when you feel uninspired.

This post has been cross-posted from my blog, The Pursuit of Techyness.

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