Do you sit back and wait for an annual performance review to think about your work performance? It does feel easier to wait for another person to tell you about how you can improve yourself. But how can you do a better job every day without waiting for an annual feedback? The trick here is to work on yourself, not the job. Your work reflects you, so begin by making yourself better, and success will follow. Here are nine ways to help you get better at what you do and become the best version of yourself.
1) Turn weaknesses into strengths. Research shows that 97% of people can readily identify a career-limiting habit they have. However, managers reported only 10% of employees showed a change a year after a performance review. Most of us assess our weaknesses but don’t always take steps to rectify our career-limiting behaviors. Use this 3-step guide to get actually change your behavior.
- Identify moments of anxiety and pay attention to them. For instance, when you’re dreading making an important presentation at work and are constantly checking your email, you’re not just distracted, you’re playing out a habitual response to anxiety and stress.
- When you’re in such a moment, stay with it. Consciously replace that ineffective behavior with a deliberate, thought-out alternative action. Drink a glass of water to give yourself time to breathe.
- Then, recognize what you can do instead. Ask yourself, “What do I really want now?” and take your time to figure out how to get there.
2) Set goals and track them. Setting goals for yourself doesn’t just give you a sense of purpose in life but also makes you accountable for your decisions and actions. To set realistic goals, follow this 4-step process:
- Figure out what you can want to accomplish in a day, a week, and a year. If possible, write it down somewhere or keep a digital diary. Keep your goals SMART and focused. They key is to avoid setting too many goals for yourself.
- Prioritize your goals and focus on the most critical ones first.
- Motivate yourself to stick to the plan
- Finally, make sure you track your goals religiously.
There’s no point in setting goals if you don’t follow through with it. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, figure out simple motivational moves to get yourself to implement your plan of action. For instance, if you want to switch jobs, give yourself a couple of months to make the move, then make a list of the short and long-term actions you need to take to and the timeline to achieve that goal. Spend a couple of weeks shortlisting companies you’d like to apply to, then spend them doing the actual research, reach out to your network for opportunities, and start the interviewing process.
3) Find opportunities to learn. Learning should always be a top priority while factoring in your day-to-day activities. Spare 10 minutes each day to read, listen or watch something that can help you work smarter. You can try to learn a new skill every month, or see if you can learn something from your colleagues. For instance, if you see a colleague with a strong work ethic who gets work done faster, talk to them and learn from their habits.
4) Believe in the power of asking questions. Don’t be afraid to ask the questions that matter at work. Asking the right questions can impact the outcomes of our decisions. It shows that you are present and participative. So don’t hold back those questions; ask away!
5) Don’t ignore your health. If your work demands your constant and undivided attention, you could feel overwhelmed and feel like most of your worth resides in your work. Remember, a job is just a job. Refocus your attention and think about what really matters to you. Re-prioritize your work-life and find ways to get help without burning out. You can reach out to colleagues for help with work, take vacations regularly and most importantly, look after your body. Get a good night’s sleep and avoid spending the wee hours of the night on a work email. Make sure you’re physically, mentally and emotionally fit to avoid getting addicted to work.
6) Dig critical or negative feedback. While receiving negative feedback well can be a hard skill to master, it is an important component to advance your career. The key to dealing with negative or harsh feedback is to emotionally detach from the information and then take action. Avoid being reactive and take a pause while you’re in the moment. Later, break down the feedback into specifics. For instance, feedback such as, “Your presentation lacked conviction” should be rephrased as, “I can become more convincing.”
7) Don’t multitask. Did you know doing several things at once can decrease your productivity by about 40 percent? Research shows that most multitasking is unproductive because we don’t really multitask. We switch-tasks rapidly, making us more distracted and less focused. So, stop the loop of constantly interrupting yourself because there are really no downsides. Tackle one task at a time because you don’t lose anything by not multitasking!
8) Avoid distraction. The average person is distracted or interrupted every 40 seconds when working in front of their computer. We can’t even work for a full minute without getting distracted! To get better at the work you do, find simple ways to overcome everyday self-sabotaging practices. If you’re having a hard time getting some data sorted, leave the work for some time and take a walk. Or, move to a different space. Similarly, put your phone face-down so you don’t get distracted with constant notifications. Make room for some solitude in your workday so you don’t feel stressed or overwhelmed by your small losses.
9) Don’t overcommit. Before you take on additional work, pause and check if you’re able to take on that work. Learn to say “no” at work more frequently, delegate the work to your team members if possible, and don’t shy away from asking for help, when it’s needed. Before you take on a project, map out what you know and make an estimate of the time you’d need to complete the task.
Source: – Harvard Business Review
By: – Rakshitha Arni Ravishankar