SA 2013 survey of over 12,000 white collar workers by The Energy Project revealed remarkable yet certainly not surprising results. The increased pressures and expectations of the current workplace contribute to the workforce feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied with their jobs. Not surprising, right?

Here are some results from this survey that are very revealing:

70% do not have time for creative and strategic thinking (this is the top frustration cited)

43% do not have an understanding of how to be successful

I have found the most significant barriers for women in the workplace have to do with the lack of strategic thinking and the failure to understand how they add value to the organization. What’s clear from this survey and Tony Schwartz’s New York Times article, is that we don’t have the time to focus on our careers because of the expectations and demands of the work environment.

On the one hand, our comfort level is to stay busy and productive. We feel good when we are doing a good job. But our continued focus on our to do list does not benefit our professional growth.

One of the major benefits of working with a coach is that it forces you to take the time to think strategically about your career. Most of my clients are extremely busy and fall into the trap of not having the time to focus on anything other than the tasks at hand.

Here is some important advice to get out of this trap.

Schedule down time for yourself during the week, optimally once a day for at least 30 minutes. Maybe it’s during your commute. Turn off your phone, computer, radio and take the time to think about your career. Ask yourself:

  1. Where do I want to go with my career?
  2. What value did I contribute to the business today?

Taking the time to think strategically and recognize your accomplishments demonstrates leadership potential. Sit down with your boss, mentor or coach and talk about your future goals. Discuss your contribution to the success of the business and how you can leverage this to move your career forward.

Don’t get stuck in “busyness”. It will hold you back from reaching your full potential.

One thing is clear. If you don’t take the time to focus on your career, it won’t happen.