Career Killer: Staying in Your Comfort Zone and Stalling on the Big Stuff

What’s the work you always put off doing? The really big important stuff, right? It’s easier to knock off a few little tasks. Makes you feel productive! But avoiding larger projects and strategic thinking can be a career killer for anyone wanting to grow their career. So often those are the projects that get us noticed.

Here are three tips for getting strategic work done:

  1. 1. Get bite sized! Break down larger, strategic to-do items into small actionable tasks that look just like the other tactical action items you find easy to knock off.
  2. 2. Take advantage of times when your mind can “chew” on the bigger questions you have to answer or content you need to create (e.g., driving, walking, doing the dishes, waiting in line). Keep a notepad or hand held recorder with you and take notes. I use the Smart Recorder app on my iPhone to do this and get crazy amounts of Big Important Stuff done this way. (I love this app because I can name my files, append new thoughts, and tag places in the recording with a note.)
  3. 3. Identify the time of day when you have the most calm, clear focus. This is unique to everyone—notice when you do your best “deep thinking”. Plan to work on strategic tasks during this time period. Best is to block the time out on your calendar and treat it like an appointment. Holding yourself accountable to meet with yourself can work wonders.

These are a few of the best ways that I’ve found to tackle my biggest tasks – the ones that require the most time, effort and brainpower.

What about you? Do you have a tactic you use to get the big work done? Share it below in the comments! I’d love to hear what works for you.

Don’t even know were to start? You might enjoy my post on productivity and knowing what to do when you don’t know where to begin.

About Jane: Jane Cavanaugh is an internationally acclaimed business leadership and career coach who has helped more than 6,000 professionals develop their career and leadership skills. Jane is creator of The Passionate Professional: How to Make Your Ordinary Career Extraordinary, a guided career transition program, and a co-author of Breakthrough! Inspirational Strategies for an Audaciously Authentic Life. Contact or visit Jane at

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