After months of vacations, summer holidays and spontaneous outdoor activities, you're probably ready to buckle down and fall back into a routine at work. Although many people like to make New Year's resolutions come January 1, autumn is a great time to turn over a new leaf and start fresh.
"Unlike the long nights and holiday withdrawal of January, most of us have fond memories of the new school year starting in September," said Tim Bennett and John Nash, co-hosts of The Focus Group. "We come off a summer of work, relaxation and long days and start looking forward to the crisper air and change of seasons."
You don't need to wait until the new year to improve your career. Here are four resolutions you can make right now.
1. Exercise more often
If you spent your summer sleeping in, vacationing and sampling exotic dishes, you aren't alone. But after some well-deserved relaxation, it's time to get moving again. This is especially important if you have a desk job, where you likely spend eight or more hours a day being stationary.
"Pick up a new exercise hobby or change up an existing one," said Bennett and Nash. "Take a walk before work, during lunch or after dinner."
They recommended challenging yourself to reach 10,000 steps a day, an approach that many swear by. Or, if you're looking for something different, sign up for a class at your local gym or create a workout plan that you'll be excited to follow.
"Getting in some exercise is a great goal that is attainable if you shoot for four days a week as a start," they said. "Get out now and enjoy the cooler days ahead."
2. Organize your inbox and workspace
When your space – or brain – is cluttered, it's often difficult to concentrate. Don't pile on more stress.
"Shoot for an empty inbox physically and digitally every Friday in the short term," said Bennett and Nash. "In the long term, purge paper no longer needed, reports with no purpose and clutter. [Doing so] can lighten your load and not make you feel overwhelmed."
While it may seem overwhelming to start, once you have everything organized, you'll have more freedom to prioritize, they added. [Keep It Clean: What Does Your Desk Say About You?]
3. Update your social sites
Keeping your social accounts up-to-date is critical as a business professional. The corporate world is highly competitive, and sites like LinkedIn are the first place employers go to recruit new talent. If your profile is lacking, you will likely not be considered.
Additionally, clean up your social media accounts so you aren't raising red flags for current or hiring managers. Party pictures and political rants should not be public – make sure all sites your employer can access are appropriate and maintained, said Bennett and Nash.
4. Network in your industry
If you're search for a new job, don't do the bare minimum by just submitting your resume and cover letter and hoping for an interview.
"Employers do not have time to comb through the sometimes hundreds of resumes and will often seek internal or external referrals," said Bennett and Nash. "The old 'it's who you know' scenario still has merit."
To connect with others in your field, attend industry conferences and networking events, join associations that relate to your line of work, and ask for informational interviews to learn more about a potential career, they added.
"Most importantly, let people know, whom you trust, that you are open to new opportunities or new challenges," they told Business News Daily. "You will be surprised at how often people want to help you succeed."