A career in the Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals, and the Life Sciences industries can be very rewarding and fulfilling. But it often means working long, stressful hours.
Professionals in these industries are often mission-oriented, and aware that what they’re working to create, or manufacture can change lives. But what happens when there’s a significant amount of work that consumes everything else you do with no end in sight?
When your Job Becomes your Life
While it’s admirable and sometimes necessary to work whatever hours it takes to complete a project, it can be increasingly easy to forget to take time for yourself. As a life science professional, doing anything but work can seem like laziness or self-indulgence.
However, burnout is real, and if you’re not operating at full capacity because you’re exhausted, your work and personal life will suffer.
Try Keeping One Day Meeting-Free Often, meetings take time from being productive. Try establishing one day a week (or two afternoons) as “meeting-free.” Setting aside a day to get work done will do wonders for your productivity. You’ll get more accomplished during the day and take home less work (and stress) at night.
Don’t Always Be the First Person in or the Last Person Out Punctuality and a good work ethic are important. But professionals who spend ridiculously long hours at work may only be demonstrating poor time management. Make an effort to prioritize tasks and leave on time at least three nights a week. One tactic is to put an appointment on your calendar for the end of the day, so you have a reason to leave.
Learn to Say “No” Every time you say “yes” to another task, you’re increasing your work time, and decreasing your “me” time. Set a list of priorities and make decisions accordingly. Obviously, there will be times when “no” is not the right answer, but in those cases, ask which project is more important and set your priorities.
Protect your Time Away from Work If you have to take work home, make sure you set time limits for yourself, so it doesn’t eat up all of your personal time. Triage the important stuff. Respond only to the most critical emails, then leave the rest for when you’re back at your desk.
Make Family a Priority The people you love and who love you aren’t expendable – and your job should be built around that. If family emergencies happen, show up. Consistently make time to be there for the people that you love and count on you.
Take a Vacation (or Staycation) Remember: Vacation and personal time exist for a reason. Take the day’s you’ve accrued. You’re supposed to use these days, and you (and your manager) will ultimately be glad you did. Let your coworkers know you’ll be offline until you return. Your work and attitude will improve after taking a break.
Conclusion As a life science professional, your work is important. But it’s also important to recognize that you can operate much more effectively if you regularly take some time for yourself. No one can survive for long – or perform at their best – by running at 100 miles an hour all the time!
Setting goals, whether short or long term, is an ongoing and effortful process. Many people tend to set personal and professional goals with a to-do list mindset and superficial consideration. Goal-setting is adeptly illustrated by Aesop’s “The Tortoise and The Hare” fable. When we rush to set goals and consistently compare our progress against others, we become the hare who eventually loses the race. So, let’s take a look at the tortoise’s strategy. And find out how you can begin to set smart goals.
The hare ran the race to ridicule and beat the tortoise. The tortoise ran the race to prove he could run. They both ran for the specific reason why, a reason that reiterated or added to their self-image. Similarly, start with why you want to set goals in the first place. By understanding the origins of your ambitions, you can discern in which ways your goals will set you up to succeed. When goals tie back into your long-term vision, even if they are short-term in nature, you are much more likely to adhere to them. By framing the why behind the what, you can better define what your goals are and develop strategies to maintain your commitment to them.
The extract above from the fable dually serves as a reminder of how to effectively define our goals. For the hare to be successful, it mattered solely on the tortoise’s progress – not his own. He is not the main character in his definition of success. But, the tortoise established a firm, self-relying reason why he proposed the race. After creating a list of goals, evaluate if how you define success relies on you or others. When you define success in relation to your ability only, you are more readily accepting of difficulties as challenges you can overcome rather than setbacks you cannot surmount.
The tortoise set an extremely effective goal following the SMART framework: run one marked distance (specific), timed by a judge (measurable), a task he knows he can accomplish (achievable), to prove he can run (relevant), starting as soon as possible (timely). When you adhere to the SMART framework of goal-setting, you provide an effective way to measure your progress towards a goal you know is both doable and supportive of your vision. The more ambiguous you are when defining your goals, the less likely you are in maintaining your drive to achieve them.
As extensive as the process is in setting your goals, the journey to fulfilling them is equally as intensive. Unlike the hare, do not get complacent and procrastinate! The tortoise was able to achieve his goal because he remained steadfast in his pacing and his focus. Be sure to keep your goals in a visible area. In this way, you will be frequently reminded of your potential destination. Schedule reminders to check on the progress of your goals weekly or biweekly so you can evaluate if your current strategy is effective enough. Goals should not be viewed as something to achieve in the future. They should be seen as daily tasks. If the process of achieving your goal is embedded within your daily routine, then you will be that much more likely to stick to it.
With the holiday season around the corner, we all have the opportunity to get an early start on our goal-setting for the upcoming year!
As we enter the holiday season, it is all too easy to lose momentum as we juggle personal obligations and professional responsibilities. The holiday schedule divides our work week into too-short-to-be-actually-productive fractions, and yet our to-do lists keep swelling in size. Between stress, enjoyment, and productivity, we sacrifice the latter. Instead of attempting to bulldoze through our multiplying commitments, it would be wiser to modify our approach altogether and adopt the holiday mindset to our advantage. Learn how to stay motivated during the holidays this year and get ready for the new year!
5 tips to stay motivated during the holidays
The holiday season often initiates and encourages self-reflection. Consider your accomplishments and setbacks for the year, both professionally and personally. Be sure to celebrate those wins and recall how you were able to achieve them. What was your mindset? What steps did you take? How did you handle obstacles, if any? Take those answers and apply them to your setbacks. By reflecting on how you navigated wins, losses, and ties, you can gain more insight and individualize your improvement.
In conjunction, you can set achievable, reasonable, and effective goals allowing small wins in the short-term. This will tee you up for a successful next year. Do not overcommit and do not undersell yourself. For help constructing this balance, we have an article on goal setting for you!
It’s not a secret that administrative tasks take up a disproportionate amount of time in many workloads. Taking the time to schedule out appointments, vacations, errands, and reservations ahead of time gives you the chance to visualize your upcoming week(s). You automatically make room to focus on your to-do list and even leave time for any necessary recuperation.
Set yourself up for success in the coming year by using the holiday schedule for personal and professional outreach. People love to reconnect during the holidays and typically feel more generous in spirit! Take this chance to reach out to friends, networks, colleagues, and companies and seek out opportunities for growth. Even if these conversations are held unofficially, they can still be goldmines for feedback and ideas. Check out our article about the best time to look for a job to fully arm yourself for the new year!
Change up your routine! The holiday season requires more from us: more tasks, more energy, more planning, more small-talk, more money, more reflection, more everything. Maximize time each day by waking up earlier to answer emails, using each night to plan or review the next day’s schedule, and shifting your obligations into an order governed by efficiency rather than convenience!
The main takeaway from this article is to remember the unparalleled benefit of the holidays. It is one of the best opportunities to truly leave work at work, mentally and physically. For some, it is spending our time laughing with family, and for others, it is spending alone time relaxing. No matter how you choose to celebrate the season, be sure to utilize it to your advantage at home and work. This is when you can clearly stay motivated during the holidays and be your most productive.
Are you looking for a long-lasting career in pharmaceuticals or biotechnology that will allow you to explore your true interests? There are 5 questions you can ask yourself that will help you decide if it’s time to switch jobs.
How do you feel about your current job? What’s your next move? These questions will help you make the call about whether it’s time to move on.
Am I inspired, have I done anything new?
Do you look forward to going to work on Monday? If your pharmaceutical work constantly drains you, you should look deeper into what’s making it so difficult. Perhaps you should change your schedule so you’re addressing tasks in a different order, or taking longer or more frequent breaks to recharge when the going gets tough. If that doesn’t help, it’s possible you’re not a good fit for the position and should consider something else.
For inspiration, think about the things outside of work that give you energy. What aspects of that could you seek out as you look for a new job or even career? If you want to grow in your biotech or pharmaceuticals career, that won’t happen if you are doing the same thing every day. Ways to help: Look over your resume—or update it if it’s been awhile—and see how many achievements have come in the past year. You may be getting to comfortable and stagnant in your position and it may be time for a change.
Have I gotten a raise lately?
Your pay can be a good indicator to help determine whether you should stay at your job. Ask yourself: do I make enough money to cover my cost of living? Typically, salary upticks are granted once a year, so if you haven’t had a raise or a promotion in that time or aren’t getting opportunities to earn one, it may be time to move on.
Can I make a change?
If it is possible for you to can change what you don’t like about your job – and what you are asking for is a realistic request, this could be a discussion to have with your manager to see if there’s something that can be done. If there is no room for flexibility, change, or future growth this is a sign that it’s time to move on.
Is the grass truly greener on the other side?
If you are unhappy in your current position, consider whether it’s job/company related or if it’s a personal dissatisfaction. Even if you do make a change, will your unhappiness follow you? Also, consider whether the things you don’t like about your job are unique to that job or workplace.
Many times people think the grass will be greener, but it’s not, To make sure you’re really moving to a better place, you first have to know for sure why you want to leave. If you can pinpoint something specific, you can research prospective companies by talking to current or past employees and checking business social media and ranking sites.
What is my future with this company?
If you can’t picture yourself at your current organization in a year or two, or if the track you’re on doesn’t lead to where you want to be, it’s time to seriously look at whether it’s the right place for you. Ask yourself whether the job aligns with your overall career goals. If it’s not a step on the path to your career dreams, it may be time to make a change.
Hope these questions can help you make the right decision in your future career planning goals!
In today’s world managing your time at work is extremely important. At the end of the day you may ask yourself “Where did the time go?” But one may over look the importance of a manager spending a certain percentage of their time with team members. Investing a small amount of time to build relationships has several benefits that pay off in the long run.
Building relationships and mentoring relationships needs to be encouraged to simply get to know your own team members.
With days and weeks crammed with scheduled meetings, impromptu meetings, and a never-ending inbox, it can be tempting to spend that time some other way. But as the 80/20 rule suggests, that small effort can have a huge ripple effect for the manager to, the employee, and the team as a whole. The importance of engaging with your co-workers has its benefits.
There is an opportunity in every encounter. With time as valuable as it is, looking for opportunities in a crazy schedule helps add a new perspective. It can simple for all of us to get into the “zone” and miss what’s going on with each other, so grabbing coffee or lunch and connecting with another human being to get away from the computer screen can be a welcome break from the daily grind.
Work becomes more efficient. A manager may already know an employee’s strengths, but learning what their passions are and what inspires them can add new meaning and drive and take that relationship to the next level. There’s a real purpose when someones strengths and passion are combined and pursued.
Greater level of awareness. Spending time together creates a bond… it creates a sense of trust. When you get to know each other on a personal level, mutual respect grows. Knowing someone’s triggers as well as their strengths can also improve communication and help with growing a successful and motivated team. Things and events that take place outside of work can help give you a better understanding of what goes on at work.
Your coaching skills increase. When you take the time to get to know your employees, you will understand how each individual receives feedback and praise. This will allow you to become a more effective coach and manager that will be respected and appreciated by the team.
Builds trust with your “boss”. Breaking downthat natural division of the manager/employee relationship helps build trust between you and your team member. When your employees can get to know the real you, they’ll feel more comfortable with you. By being yourself, you set the tone and encourage others to do the same. .
Finding ways to connect with employees can be as simple as grabbing lunch with them or taking a 15-minute walk together. Some companies promote this and encourage it more than others.
It’s important to find your own ways that you are comfortable with in order to engage with your co-workers.
Doing so removes some of that ‘boss wall’ and deference that can come with it.