Work & Wellbeing: Summer Tips to Advance Your Career Goals

While researching industries, updating your resume, doing mock interviews, and networking are all an important pieces in your career development, one factor that is often overlooked is your wellbeing as you go through this process. You might feel like wellbeing is optional or something you will get to later, especially with a busy semester. The summer is the perfect time to work on personal goals and implement changes that will have a lasting impact on your success when class is back in session. Check out these tips to get you started on wellbeing changes.

You can also get more in-depth details on these techniques and other evidence-based wellbeing wisdom by visiting or downloading the Ask Ari app.

Implement Routines and Habits

Always running late? Missing deadlines? Getting just 4 hours of sleep? Or maybe you just want to improve your life? You can enhance your wellbeing by working on your everyday habits and developing routines. Good habits and routines automate tasks which frees up mental energy to focus on more complex concerns. They also enhance productivity and goal achievement. It is usually easy to identify what habits you want to change, but making the changes achievable and sustainable can be trickier. Try habit stacking.

  1. Identify an already existing habit. Let’s say getting into your car to commute each morning.
  2. Stack another simple habit behind it: When I get into my car, I will meditate for 3 minutes.
  3. After a few weeks, try stacking habits on this sequence or other existing habits.
  4. Start today by listing habits you already have, habits you want to develop, and matching them together.
    • Brush teeth at night and lay out clothes for the morning
    • Get into bed and write in a gratitude journal for 5 minutes
    • Finish dinner and wash dishes
    • Put on pajamas and  plug-in devices and unplug from them for the night
    • Walk-in front door and put on gym clothes for a workout

Work Smarter

It is easy to stick with ineffective work strategies when you are overwhelmed and just trying to meet your class deadlines. With less pending right now, summer is a great time to evaluate and rethink productivity. Switching to evidence-based productivity will streamline your workload and help you better manage your time. Some techniques to try include:

  1. Work around your energy. Tackle the most difficult tasks when you are most energetic. When you feel burned out, do more manageable tasks like data entry or replying to emails.
  2. Shut down distractions. Learning to focus on one task at a time improves productivity and is also a highly desirable skill for many employers.
  3. Schedule breaks. Set the alarm on your phone to take breaks that revitalize you like a quick walk, impromptu dance party, household chore, or chatting with a friend. It is tempting to skip breaks, but the more you ‘push through’ and work, the less efficient you are. Worried you will never get back to work? Use your timer for your break as a reminder to get back on track.
  4. Individualize. Different people work differently. Try various techniques like Pomodoro, 57/12, mental contrasting, and focus charts.

Manage Stress

It is normal to feel stressed or anxious about something important to you, especially as it relates to your career plans. However, a constant stress state limits cognition and does not allow you to function at your best. Some simple techniques can be implemented to calm you in the moment and decrease your overall stress load. Less stress means increased focus and better communication in situations such as job interviews, career fairs, and networking events.

  1. Get in tune with your breath and body. You can also utilize diaphragmatic breathing, quick grounding techniques, relaxation routines, and self-reflection tools.
  2. Keep a mood log. How are you feeling? When? Details (i.e., did not sleep, have not eaten, running late, an argument with your partner, etc.)?   After a few days, review your log to identify any trigger patterns.
  3. Try mindfulness. Mindfulness gives you an awareness of yourself and your environment. Check out Mindful USC for classes, drop-in sessions, and online guided meditations.

Remember, the key to success is small, consistent change. Attempting to revamp your whole life at once is a recipe for failure and decision fatigue. Start by implementing 1 to 2 of these techniques and build on them consistently. Hopefully with these tips, you can balance managing your career plans with your wellbeing.  Visit Ask Ari for more information.

By Ask Ari