This article was originally published on Career Hub by Sital Ruparelia

 Grab 4 sheets of paper.

Or maybe use a spreadsheet with 4 worksheets……or the notes section of your smartphone (whatever works for you).

Follow the instructions below with a strict time limit of 30 minutes. It’s really important to stick to the 30 minutes timeline as it forces you to write quickly and honestly. But also gives you quick progress.

Sheet 1 – Define your desired lifestyle 

- Go back and review the questions I yesterday's blog post on defining your desired lifestyle 

Sheet 2.  Define your “Ideal next role”

- What’s your target employer look like? (culture, size, stature, sector, brand)

- If you’re searching internally….then what’s your target team/department look like?

- Geographically, where do you want to work ideally? (City/state/country)

- Which skills/strengths do you want to use in your next role ideally?

- What kind of clients/products/markets do you want exposure to in your next role?

- What kind of leader do you ideally want to work for?

- How much do you ideally want to travel in your next role?

- Salary package: What’s your ideal compensation structure look like? (base, bonus and other key elements)

 Sheet 3 – list what areas you are flexible about

- For your salary package, how far can you be flexible?

- Which of the “ideal” aspects of your target job are you flexible and open minded about?

Sheet 4 – List the areas which you consider to be “complete no-no’s”

- What aspects of your target role are you not willing to compromise on at all.

- Maybe you don’t want any roles that involve late night conference calls

- Or roles with companies involved

Don’t be a perfectionist

This exercise is NOT perfect and WON’T give you total clarity.

But it does quickly give you some degree of clarity to start having conversations and searching rather than being stuck. The real clarity about what you really want comes when you get out talking to people. When you reviewing roles and interviewing. 

But unless you take some initial steps to be vaguely clear about what you want – you simply won’t get started.

So book 30 minutes with yourself to complete this exercise imperfectly. Then come back and edit it and add to it over the next few days and weeks.