Tech Tools to Level Up Your Career
If you’ve ever spent any serious time on an epic adventure computer role-playing game (or even if you’ve dabbled a little in the princely nerd pursuit of Dungeons & Dragons) you’ll likely have experienced the wondrous delight of “leveling up.” It’s simple really. You accrue enough experience and suddenly (we like to imagine in a flash of radiant light) you’ve earned a new level. Your skills increase instantly. You might also gain access to some cool new swag, meet interesting new fellow adventurers, and generally be better positioned to tackle life’s epic quests.
Why is leveling up in your career so much harder?
No-one we’ve heard of has experienced a flash of light and a sudden glowing awareness that they’re now equipped to type at superhuman speeds. No nerd we’ve encountered tells tales in hushed tones of suddenly gaining a plus five to their office charisma.
Leveling up your career is a much harder proposition; one involving constant learning, careful planning and more than a dollop of luck. While we can’t promise you a Hornèd Helm of Salary Enhancement, we can offer you some swanky tech ideas to level up your career game.
Let’s dive in and explore some tech secrets for leveling up in your profession of choice.
Upping Your Spelling and Grammar Game
OK, it’s true. Learning to spell isn’t nearly as cool as learning to cast spells, but it’s no coincidence Gandalf was a bit of a wordsmith. Good grammar can bend the world to your will. A well-chosen word can change minds.
With each correctly spelled word, you demonstrate that – like your personal Wizard of choice – you wisely curate every utterance.
Here’s a scary factoid for you. Spelling and grammar site Grammarly reviewed one hundred LinkedIn profiles written by native English speakers.
They found that professionals who failed to progress to a director-level position within the first ten years of their careers made over double the grammar mistakes as those of their director-level colleagues.
Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, wrote in a blog post for Harvard Business Review that he “won’t hire people who use poor grammar.”
Spelling and grammar are important.
Fortunately, one of the best fixes for many common word-gaffes is remarkably simple to acquire. Simply point your browser at Grammarly.
Available both as a stand-alone site and as an extension in a range of platforms including Chrome, Gmail, Outlook, Google Docs, Slack and Trello, Grammarly offers real-time spelling, punctuation and grammar suggestions while you write. The service even offers a tone detector to help you fine-tune how your writing sounds.
This resource is one of the easiest changes you can make to improve your self-expression, your professionalism, and ultimately, your prospects for promotion.
Dealing with Disorganization
Many an adventurer met a grisly fate for simple lack of organization. Sure, you may have an invisibility potion laying around somewhere, but that band of marauding hobgoblins isn’t going to sit around and play Munchkin while you rummage through your pack to find it.
Staying on top of things is one of the most underrated life abilities, both in imaginary dungeons and the very real workplace.
If your desk is always buried beneath a mound of chaotic post-it notes – or for that matter, if you find you’re constantly missing deadlines and deliverables – disorganization may well be leaving a sizable dent in your reputation and career prospects.
Ready for another scary stat?
A study conducted by Express Employment Professionals found that disorganized employees who make $50,000 annually cost their companies around $11,000 per year in lost time due to disorganization.
Productivity tool Trello may well be the disorganization antidote you need tucked away in your adventurer’s rucksack.
Trello is a column-oriented set of lists that can be sorted, prioritized and cross-correlated in any number of ways. You can use cards for tasks, ideas, resources, really any kind of discrete idea you need to track, triangulate, or truncate.
Of course, Trello helps by letting you place all your “stuff” in one place, but the platform also sets you up with a great collaborative environment, one where you and your inner circle of esteemed nerdite colleagues can collaborate and share ideas.
Kind of amazingly, the free version gives you up to ten team boards (basically, work areas) and unlimited personal boards.
Don’t get caught desperately rummaging for that potion of intelligence! Bring Trello into your life and quell your inner chaos beast.
Time Boxing Your Social Media
If fulfilling a quest requires any overruling trait, it’s focus. Sure, the occasional side-quest adds some flavor to your adventuring life, but as any Witcher (or Witcher’s bard) will tell you, you’ve got to keep your eye on the prize.
Be wary, adventurer! Social media can be a huge distraction for completing your career quests.
Another stat to chill your bones:
A survey by online learning company Udemy found that 70 percent of workers admit they feel distracted when they’re on the job, with 16 percent reporting they’re almost always distracted.
Although social media can be great for connecting you to family and friends, if you struggle to limit your daily use (particularly during work hours) it may be time to consider a subscription to Cold Turkey.
For a lifetime subscription of under thirty bucks, Cold Turkey allows you to block unlimited websites for an unlimited amount of time. Its beauty is its elegance. Simply build your own blacklist of distracting sites, and set it to work.
Should your mind wander to Twitter during your defined focus times, Cold Turkey will block the site, effectively placing the distraction of out of reach, at least temporarily.
A great option is to use this tool in conjunction with the pomodoro technique, a method of scheduled blocks of uninterrupted work. You can learn more here about how solid focus time combined with a system for distraction removal can set you up for success.
To acquire the eye of the tiger, you may need to go cold turkey.
Leveling Up Your Skills and Knowledge
Your prototypical nerd tends to gain a rush of enjoyment from acquiring new knowledge. But even if you straight up live to learn, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can easily find time for it.
Until we invent Matrix-style brain uploads, the process of learning will continue to require patience, commitment — and most importantly — time. And for many of us, time is as elusive as a golden luck dragon who can recite bawdy limericks in fluent Klingon.
And it is in relation to time that podcasts achieve the quasi-impossible.
The amazing thing about podcasts is that they allow you to learn almost anything while you’re busy doing something else.
Any routine chore that doesn’t require much mental bandwidth is your all-expenses-paid ticket to Knowledge Town (which is kind of like Disney World, only with more libraries and fewer screaming infants).
Driving to work? Polish your communication skills. Grabbing groceries? Learn the finer points of salary negotiation. Doing your morning exercise? Stretch your brain by picking up conversational Spanish.
You get the idea.
PocketCast is our pick for a simple, reliable, well-featured podcast player. You can use it to listen for free on just about any device. Moreover, you can set up a custom playlist, discover new content (thank you AI) and even speed up playback if your brain is racing a mile a minute.
All those extra skills count, especially when you’re making a case for promotion, or looking to win that stretch career position you’ve been daydreaming about for years.
It’s a cliche, but it’s true — Knowledge is power. Find your podcast of ultimate wisdom.
Ultimately, in real life, there’s no arcane secret for leveling up. Getting from where you are now to where you want to be is often as easy as having the right tools at your disposal.
If you have your eyes set on career advancement, these tech resources may well be the game-changing elixir you were looking for.
Good luck on your quest.