If you're at one of those points where your career is a bit stuck in the doldrums, you may already be thinking that your professional life can use a boost.
The things that first come to mind are probably big in scope and challenging to carry off--a new degree or certification, transfer to a different department or even a change of roles.
But there are things you can do, like making small improvements on a daily basis, that cost little in daily time and effort but will reap huge rewards over the long run.
If you find yourself with even a little free time, here are 10 things you can do to help you boost your career:
1. Attend a creative lecture or event. Look online for listings, check professional organizations, or ask colleagues. You may learn something new, find new inspiration and expand your network.
2. Expand your base of experience with volunteer work. Volunteering can help you become familiar with new fields and roles, and it can make a change for the better in how you feel about yourself and what you do.
3. Find a mentor. Wherever you are in your career, if you need a boost, find someone you respect and ask them to mentor you. Most people are happy to share what they know, and you'll benefit from their experience and wisdom.
4. Identify how you procrastinate. If you can identify how you procrastinate, you'll be prepared to establish a system to discourage it, dramatically increasing your productivity.
5. Make a lunch date. Lunch isn't just a break in the middle of the day--it's also one of the most effective tools available to boost your career. Use your lunch time to network and catch up with peers and mentors, or to spend time with someone new you've been wanting to talk to.
6. Take an online class. Talent may get you in the door, but it's learning new things that will keep you from being bored. All kinds of classes are available online, many taught by top professors. Even without exams and credit, a class adds structure and discipline to your professional and personal growth.
7. Make reading a habit. Get in the habit of reading at least an hour a day on a wide variety of topics. At least some should be related to your chosen career and issues that pertain to it so that you keep up on the latest news and trends. Reading should help spark new ideas, challenge your thinking process and expand your knowledge base--all things that can be helpful in boosting your career.
8. Interact with people who do things differently. When you step outside your own perspective, you learn to venture out of your comfort zone. Give people a chance to make you think new thoughts, consider new ideas and experiment with new ways of doing things.
9. Improve the impression you make. One of the biggest boosts you can give yourself is making sure you make a good impression. Learn to make eye contact when speaking to people, smile and introduce yourself confidently. Make sure you are making good impressions with everyone you meet and interact with.
10. Clean your space. What does a clean office space have to do with boosting a career? You'll be surprised at how much time you save looking for things. An orderly office or desk is good for time management which is great for boosting a career. And it sends a message to others that you're capable and on top of things.
You don't need money or huge chunks of time to give your career a boost. Just a few minutes a day can help you accomplish great things.