8 Professional Habits to Develop Before You’re 30

Our 20s are generally when we take those big career leaps that are known as climbing the proverbial work ladder. 

It’s the most important time to truly work your butt off, make connections, and impress your boss. 

If you develop these 8 skills while you’re still in your 20s, you’ll be on your way to financial freedom faster than your chronically disorganized and stressed out coworkers.  

Show Up Early 
For some people this is obvious – it’s always great to be early and make a solid impression, but others can struggle with time management – and when your boss notices you are always the last one to arrive at work – he or she will subconsciously note that you still haven’t mastered the vital importance of time management. 

It doesn’t matter if you work a 9-5 or shift work in the evening, being 5-10 minutes early is something your boss will notice and love you for.
Develop and Maintain a Tasks List 
This might be the single most important way to stay efficient and on track at work. Knowing exactly what you need to do that day, week, and month will keep your head clear so you can get to crossing things off the list, instead of feeling overwhelmed trying to remember everything you need to do. 

Nothing feels quite as satisfying as crossing something off a list. And it ensures you don’t forget about something small (but important) when things get extra crazy. 
Manage Your Email 
This is a major necessity when it comes to work productivity. Email is the largest time waster we have, so learning tricks to keep it organized is vital. 

Set time limits if you can. Some of the most productive entrepreneurs choose to spend an hour in the morning reading emails, and an hour in the evening responding to emails. Scheduling it in like this (and closing that tab/turning off notifications when you’re outside that timeframe) ensures you’re not constantly being distracted from actual work by those little numbers popping up all day long. 

Apps like Inbox can help immensely with staying organized and quickly removing spam, but it’s also helpful to develop a colour coded system (which is simple to do in Gmail) of folders if you find yourself dealing with major email overwhelm.
Don’t Eat at Your Desk
This is a hard one (especially in the winter when we really don’t want to go outside) but getting up and out of the office each day is vital. It’s your personal time, and it’s how you maintain a decent work-life balance. 

Even if you just eat in the lunch room with your favourite coworkers, that’s much better than sitting alone at your desk rushing to choke down your food so you can get back to work.
Read Industry Articles
You can never be too informed in your industry. No matter what department you work in, developments are always happening. And the internet means you have instant easy access to the latest news and updates. Stay in the loop, or you’ll quickly fall behind professionally. 

On the flipside of that, don’t get too distracted by reading about the work – you still need to create new work and get shit done.
Keep Your Desk Organized
This will also maintain your sanity. A clutter free workspace makes for a clutter free mind. 

And it makes a stronger impression on your boss if you can keep your work area from looking like an explosion happened.
Ask for Training Opportunities
Your 20s are the time to grow as much as possible and jump on any extra training or development opportunities your place of employment provides. Asking about such programs will not only enhance your career development and widen your network, it will also show your boss how invested you are in becoming the best at what you do. 

Graduating from college doesn’t mean it’s time to stop learning. 
Learn to Negotiate and Get Comfortable Talking About Salary
This one is especially important for women, who rarely negotiate their starting salary compared to men. If you’re still feeling nervous about asking for more, or you’re unsure of how to go about it – now’s the time to do some reading and practice talking about salary (and the value you bring to the company) until you feel comfortable doing it. 

Not learning this skill early on in your career will cost you a huge sum over the course of your working life.

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