9 ways to find some headspace to put yourself back in charge of your career
Published: 14th of March 2021
Are you thinking about changing and progressing in your career but life just seems to get in the way?
You’re so busy with your kids and working that you never seem to get half a second to think about yourself, let alone your career and what you actually want.
You’re looking for a career that doesn’t take up all your headspace, leave you exhausted at the end of the day and mean you sacrifice time with your kids.....but you’re stuck in this catch 22 or having no headspace to actually make the change!
I get it, it’s hard! And you can go round and round in circles and before you know it, another 6 months have passed.
So, what can you do to get yourself into action!
1. Stop beating yourself up!
So you’ve been telling yourself for ages that you need to sort out your career.... but you still haven’t made any progress.
It’s not going to help you, or your family, to give yourself a hard time. In fact, it will make it even harder to pick yourself up and get moving. Draw a line, forgive yourself and recognise that life is hectic and difficult sometimes. You’re only human!
2. Take stock of what you have done well
When you’re getting yourself into a headspace for change it can help to think about your achievements. This may feel overwhelming to start with so break it down to small things that you’ve succeeded at over the past week or two.
- Managed to complete that report you’ve been working on for ages?
- Dropped the kids off to nursery/school on time?
- Received some lovely feedback from a colleague or customer?
Make it part of a regular practice to recognise those little wins to remind yourself of how you are smashing it as a working parent. Ideally a daily 2 minutes reflection can really help. Write it down in a diary or type it up in a Trello (or Word) list to help building a bank of evidence for all your amazing achievements.
3. Visualise the bigger picture
Why do you want to change career? How will your life actually be different? What would the difference be if you made that career change?
Will you be:
- Calmer and more present around your children?
- Able to do the school pick-ups?
- Looking forward to the week ahead, rather than having that Sunday evening dread?
Reminding yourself of why you want to change can really help to motivate you into action.
4. Devise a mantra or affirmation
Ok, so it may sound a bit wacky and ‘out there’ but once you have your vision of what you want to achieve, putting it into words can really help to keep you on track.
And it’s based on science of retraining your subconscious brain to focus on what you want and get you into that positive mindset.
Try writing down one sentence that epitomises the essence of what will keep you motivated:
“I am making brave steps to be the successful career woman and present parent that I want to be” or
“I have the skills and experience I need to make my next exciting career move”
Write it down and say it to yourself regularly, make it a daily practice, wherever possible. Try popping it on a post-it note and stick it to your mirror, your fridge, your kettle.....wherever you can look at it every day and remind yourself.
5. Identify some wiggle room
You are setting yourself up to fail if you don’t give yourself any time to take action on your career.
I know, your day is packed with nursery/school drop-offs, working, chores and supporting everyone else.
So where is your wiggle room?
- Are there 30 minutes after the kids have gone to bed that you can leave the dishwasher and focus on you?
- Can you take a day of annual leave to invest in your career?
- Can you call in a favour from a friend to look after your little one for a couple of hours to give you some breathing space?
Remember to think about that bigger vision.
Putting in a little bit of time now could gain you time with you children, in a job that suits your family life in the future.
6. Just do something!
You’ll be amazed how just doing something will boost your momentum and get you moving to take action.
If you’re job searching or thinking about promotion, here are a few baby steps that you could take:
- Talk to an old colleague you know who works in a sector that you’re thinking about
- Ask a close friend for some feedback about what they think your strengths are
- Write a list of all the jobs you’ve had, pick your favourite and write 3 reasons why
- Update (or create) your LinkedIn profile with your recent work history (you can also choose to update your profile to say if you are open to work opportunities)
- Write down all the skills and qualities you have gained from being a parent
7. Take a break
It’s surprising how much clearer your head feels when you’ve been out for a walk, had a shower, pottered in the garden or just done something that gives your mind a break. Sometimes stepping away from the problem and overthinking your options can suddenly give you the headspace to focus your thoughts.
What activities help you to slow down and relax?
8. Make yourself accountable
When you just tell yourself that you’re going to do something, it’s easy to make excuses, get distracted and forget what you wanted to take forward.
Simply telling someone else can be very powerful to keep you on track and drive you forward. Make sure they are someone who you trust to be encouraging and challenge you if you don’t follow through with your actions. And schedule in regular catch ups so that you don’t lose momentum.
9. Celebrate your achievements
When you’ve taken those baby steps, recognise the massive achievement you’ve made in overcoming that procrastination!
Appreciate the effort it has taken and then plan the next baby step, looking to push yourself out of that comfort zone a little more.
Before you know it, those baby steps will be big leaps in clarifying your career direction and making that exciting career change.
Want some help with taking control of your career?
You can join my FREE Career Clarity for Working Parents Facebook group.