Job promotions and those good appraisals – these two are often received by those who perform well at work. There is a high chance you feel you are not one of those top performers at your workplace. Whatever the reason may be, what matters more is your intent to improve.
This blog is for you if you are struggling to identify what exactly these top performers are doing differently and what you can do to be better. As per a Gallup blog, almost 85% of employees are actively disengaged at work, resulting in $7 trillion in lost productivity.
But, with these 10 tips to improve work performance, it will get easier. Let’s start.
1. Show up early
They say if you are on or before the time, it leaves a good impression on people. Well, in terms of improving your work performance, showing up early works wonders too.
When you go to work even 15-20 minutes before the time, you get time to relax and prepare for the day better. Chances are you would also not find traffic as you would reach before the peak hours. As you get yourself some morning coffee, you can use the time to check and send emails and plan your tasks.
You would be able to work more efficiently instead of collecting your mind on all the ad hoc and planned tasks you are supposed to get done in a day.
2. Set achievable goals
When you are clear about what is expected of you, it changes your approach to work. Every task you do is backed with a purpose – the purpose to achieve the goals set by you, for you.
However, we advise you to be realistic and aim for what’s attainable. When deciding on goals, be realistic. You should never overcommit in front of your managers or even yourself.
Otherwise, in the end, you would end up disappointing yourself and the management. Try to quote a number that you are more likely to achieve or even surpass.
For instance, consider a hypothetical situation, where it would be an unrealistic goal for a social media manager to increase followers by 10x in a month. Given that it shows the last 3 months follower growth has risen only by 2x.
If you still have a plan to achieve that, we suggest you commit to a goal of around 3x or 4x growth. If the plan works, you would be able to achieve way more than that, making everyone appreciative and confident of your performance.
Meanwhile, as you work on the goal set, highlight every small milestone achieved, and mark timelines in a calendar to accomplish milestones one after the other.
3. Focus on one task at a time
In the previous point, we have talked a bit about how important it is to work in a time-bound manner. Let’s expand on the idea below.
We have always been taught how learning the art of multitasking is a must, but never how it impacts the quality and timeliness of the work. So, even if you are expected to multitask at work, stick to monotasking unless there’s no choice.
Align tasks one after the other and when you are doing one task, give all of your attention to it. Don’t break your workflow.
Try it once and you will realize how much time this trick helps you save.
4. Become more organized
As mentioned earlier, sometimes you just have to leave a task in between or postpone it altogether. In such a case, you might find yourself boggled with how to manage all the work. This is where organizing and prioritizing come at the forefront.
When given tasks on an ad hoc basis, you must take a moment to analyze when it is to be delivered and how much time it would take you to complete them. Based on that, you can prioritize or postpone the task at hand.
You can take the help of online task management tools. If your company has invested in one you can use that, else you can use free tools by Google to manage your day-to-day tasks.
You must strive to align your tasks with that of the team and pick urgent tasks first. Also, avoid taking up more work than you can.
When you take up more work than you can pull off, just like overcommitting goals— it leads to disappointment. It is better to say your bandwidth doesn’t allow you than to take the work and struggle to complete it well.
5. Manage your work hours
Employees now prefer to work in an environment that allows flexible timings. This helps employers, as well as employees, to be more productive when they want to work on timing that suits them. With a great work schedule maker, managing your work shifts becomes very smooth. Also, you can now time your tasks for the day and set yourself up for success, every day.
An ideal work schedule maker would help you track the time you spend on each task, thereby making you super-efficient.
6. Limit distractions
As a human, socializing comes off as a natural attribute. However, while at work we must not spend more on distractions than on our actual work. We aren’t just talking about chit-chatting with colleagues here, but also about social media.
However, we understand that it’s inevitable. It would be foolish of us to say that you should switch off or stay away from your mobile during office hours. What if there is something that you must know urgently?
So, a better solution is to time your distractions. The small breaks you take to unplug and refresh your mind, use that to go through your phone, talk to colleagues, take a walk, listen to a song— anything you like.
Another great way is to turn off notifications from the social media app you use the most to doom scroll. Dedicate two or three slots to view your emails morning, after lunch, and before leaving. Such small and easy-to-implement changes would improve your focus and accelerate your workforce manifolds. You would get more work done in less time.
7. Improve communication skills
While we say you should not talk with colleagues at the cost of your work; it is absolutely mandatory to communicate when collaborating. However, here what we can do is make the communication clear and brief.
In fact, if teams collaborate on tasks and share meaningful feedback, it can bring radical changes to the work you deliver. Moreover, it also helps to keep the team members on the same page and update when the task is being delayed by one person in the team. All of this allows the team as a whole to perform and plan better.
For companies who have adopted a hybrid or work from a home model, using HR software with a chat tool or using Google chats, virtual conferencing apps would be a great option to practice effective communication.
Clear instructions, fast message delivery, and proper explanation are among other key factors to solidifying cooperation between managers and employees.
8. Work on the feedback
Feedback, when constructive and actionable, gives you a clear direction on what needs improvement. Don’t be the employee who takes feedback negatively and consider what they have done as the best.
Learn to really push your boundaries and think out of the box to deliver exactly what your employers desire. Don’t fear rework, consider it a way to hone your skills.
We recommend you to ask for feedback on every task you do. This is not just to show your wish to learn, and improve but also to understand what can make you a highly valued employee, that is a top performer of the company.
9. Learn from top performers
Your team members might not have the time or will to teach you what they know better.
What do you do then? You observe and implement. Remember the top performers are not to be envied but to be treated as an inspiration.
Include people in your circle whose work ethics you really appreciate and watch yourself grow. People with a growth mindset, people in leadership, let them know why you admire them. You can also request them to guide you in acquiring a particular skill.
If not them, search for the leaders in your industry online and start learning from them via their videos, posts, and interviews. You won’t understand at first when your work performance would start improving.
10. Schedule vacation days
If you focus too much on working hard and stress yourself out about being the best, you may burn out. It is real. This might not be the thing you would think of as a way to improve your work performance but it does.
Sometimes, you need a change of place, and routine to break the monotony and get a fresh perspective. So schedule your vacation days and come back to work with a fresh mind and better focus. You deserve it.
Improving your work performance isn’t about working hard and getting more done. Rather, it is also about not overcommitting and taking more than your bandwidth allows. In a nutshell, try to be at the office earlier, practice monotasking, communicate effectively, be observant, and take actions to improve.
It’s time you start setting those small goals and aim to crush them for good. Don’t forget to share how these worked for you and the tips you would like to recommend to other readers. Good luck!
Saurabh Wani is a digital marketer at ZoomShift, an employee scheduling tool. He has worked as an HR Recruiter for over 3 years before moving to marketing, where he defined the recruitment life-cycle that helped employees find the right job. He loves traveling and can be seen binge-watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S when he is not working.