Happy New Year. While personally I don’t believe that January 1st offers any more opportunity than the other 364 days of the year, it does usually give us some time when we can reflect on the past year and plan for the new one.
I myself go through an intensive strategic planning process each year during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I look at what worked this past year and how I can leverage that in the upcoming year. I also try to take a big-picture look at the year ahead to see where I can really grow. For example, are there some conferences I should plan to attend?
About five years ago, I started studying the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 Principle or the Rule of 80/20. I explained this rule in detail in a previous post, but essentially the rule states that 80 percent of your success is a result of only 20 percent of your actions.
So in this post I want to talk about how you can apply this to the goal-setting process for 2018.
You have a limited amount of time and energy that can be directed to your professional development, and believe it or not, only 20 percent of what you spend it on will really matter. I challenge you to figure out what that 20 percent is.
Here’s how you can do that. I want you to answer one question. If I said to you, “I can grant you any professional development accolade in a matter of minutes,” what would it be?
You might say you would like to have your professional engineering license, or maybe a master’s degree of some sort. The point of the question is to make you think long and hard about what professional development action will drive the absolute most success in your career. Once you’ve done that, the next step is to try to make it happen, and you can start by putting together a plan.
This is what I call 80/20 goal-setting. Get right to the heart of the matter this year when it comes to your career. You have very little time to waste.
Feel free to leave your goal in the comments below and I will respond.
Anthony Fasano, P.E., M.ASCE, is the founder of the Engineering Career Coach website, which has helped thousands of engineers develop their business and leadership skills. He hosts the Civil Engineering Podcast, and he is the author of a bestselling book for engineers, Engineer Your Own Success. You can download a free video series on his website that will give you the tools needed to immediately improve your networking and communication skills by clicking here.
Anthony has also recently started the Engineering Management Accelerator to help engineers become more entrepreneurial: www.EngineerToManager.com.