Neuroscience and Your Career Success

What do effortful self-control and your career happiness have to do with each other? Quite a lot!

In The Neuroscience of Success, a fantastic Think Tank article by Jason Gots, effortful self-control is about willpower, and not just the age-old drive to achieve, either. As he says:

“The better able you are to resist your own natural impulses, the more effectively you can focus your mental energy on the task at hand, however pleasant or irritating it may be. The net result: getting more things done, and doing each thing better. ”

We all have things we don’t want to do, resenting the mere thought of them infringing on our personal freedom, putting them off day after day, getting stressed out when that Outlook reminder pops up for the eighth or seventeenth or hundredth time.

So how can you exercise this self-control in your daily job without burning yourself out of your career?

It’s about Work-Rest Balance: Conserving your willpower and maximizing your productivity.

Here’s one tip that we probably all know and probably many of us never do:

  • Take short breaks after willpower-intensive activities. Take a walk, have a bite to eat, make a non-strenuous phone call.
Whenever I’ve done this, whether it’s playing a five-minute game of Ping-Pong, walking to a friend’s cube for a chat or stepping outside for fresh air, I come back feeling refreshed and a lot less stressed than if I’d have just stayed at my desk and gone on to the next task I didn’t want to do. It really does work!
Now do yourself a non-stressful favor and make time to head over to the Think Tank to get the rest.

Corporate Travel: Keeping Your Work (and Home) Life Manageable

Is traveling for work uber-glamorous or just another part of the job? How do you manage your life at home when you’re on the road? 

Our Twitter #careerchat explored the truths about traveling for work. Business travel can be stressful, but with the right perspective, you can turn any travel experience into a great opportunity.

Takeaways from the chat:

  • You’re always on the clock. Represent yourself and your company positively at all times, and don’t risk behavior that could get you fired.
  • Don’t take traveling for granted. Even if you have back-to-back meetings, find time to explore.
  • Make yourself unplug. It’s easy to spend all day and night working, without a break, especially if your sleep schedule is disrupted..
  • Keep your diet and exercise routine as close to normal as possible. Stay at hotels with gyms or nearby parks. Wear your walking shoes on the plane.
  • If you’re looking for a job that includes travel, look for positions in the Sales Support, Implementation and Auditing functions.
  • You need to love the job you’re doing regardless of travel. Travel should be the bonus.


Special thanks to @myFootpath, @JohnAntonios, @Kblennon, @DrWoody, @michmerc, @ASQ_Trish, @navitasHR and @kbaumann.

Job seeker? Just want to get ahead in your career?

Join our Twitter #careerchat Tuesdays @ 12 PM CT to talk about everything from friending your boss on Facebook to personal branding to how to get a call back from recruiter.

How to join: Go to and follow the hashtag “careerchat” at noon CT every Tuesday!

Adapted from my post on MyPath.

Priorities: Should You Stay or Should You Go?

You need to leave early for an appointment. Your boss schedules a last-minute meeting. What do you do?

Depending on the flexibility of your plans, you may be able to unpick your arrangements and stay. Other times you may just have to keep heading out the door.

Simple choice, right? But it doesn’t always seem this way. You may feel resentful when you stay, and worried when you leave. You may waste way too much time and energy wondering what your boss and co-workers think about your decision—and what they say about you when you’re not there. You may even have been told that someone else would love to have your job so you’d better do what it takes to keep it.

How do you arrange your priorities so life doesn’t get in the way of work—and vice versa?  Some things to consider