Decide this month what skill you know you need -- the one that you always need help with, or the one that prevents you from landing the plum assignments -- and commit to learning it. Maybe it's becoming a master of PowerPoint. Or maybe it's mastering a new language so you'll be eligible to work on international accounts.
Inquire this week if your company offers "lunch and learns" or paid training and seminars, and make it a priority to take advantage of those programs.
Join internal networking groups and committees. Even though it's more work, it's a great opportunity for visibility and advancement.
Maybe you join the committee that heads your company's participation in an annual charity walk; or you help start and internal mentoring group. There's a great sense of satisfaction to be had from such involvement.
Women are notorious for agreeing to help anyone and everyone who asks. We wind up doing way more than our fair share. That means we're staying late or taking work home more often than we should.
Sometimes you must say no: "I'm swamped right now with my own projects; I just don't have the time to handle your work as well." And no, I'm not going to be checking my Blackberry at dinner time or when I take my kids to the park.
Just as you schedule meetings with co-workers and appointments with clients, pencil in blocks of time in your date book that are designated for you.
This can be at lunch time, when you want to spend an hour doing your errands or taking a yoga class. It can be evenings and weekend time.
But when someone asks if you're available during those times, the answer is no, you're already committed -- just as you'd say if you were spending the time with the boss.
For more information on strategies and events for your career advancement in 2006, or to connect with Tory Johnson, visit www.womenforhire.com.