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It is natural to want to get better at things. Most of us find ourselves at this point: We’ve been doing a certain job for a while, and we are ready for the next step. We want to be better than we were yesterday. This type of thinking is vital to professional success.
You can always find ways to do a job better than you are already doing, regardless of how well you are doing. Improving work performance is something everyone - i.e. individuals, teams and businesses - should seek because of the potential of enhanced earnings, reduced stress, increased free time, and career advancement opportunities.
Navigate through the top 3 ways to boost work performance discussed below to learn what you can do to slowly become a master of your craft.
Focus on the Small Picture
Yes, you read that right - focus on the small picture. This is not to say that you should not have a big picture in mind; go ahead and shoot for the moon when you are setting professional goals, you just need to focus on the smaller things you can do to get there. Sonia Thompson, the founder of TRY Business School, stated that setting the bar too high can serve to de-motivate and discourage you from ever getting started.
Setting big goals can be overwhelming unless you break them down into smaller goals. Smaller goals are more obtainable and allow you to pursue your long-term goals without getting discouraged. Setting small goals can sometimes seem trivial, but each small goal is a stepping stone to the final goal. Make sure that you do a mental audit periodically to make sure that you are keeping track of the milestones you’ve set for yourself and your team.
We often lose track of small goals due to our own weaknesses, such as poor organizational skills, procrastination, lack of motivation and so on. Often times, the thing keeping you from doing a better job, making better use of your time, or growing your business, is you. Reflecting on what weaknesses are keeping you and your team from improving work performance will allow you to tackle them from within.
Keeping track of your milestones requires you to look deep within and objectively evaluate you and your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by your poor organizational skills, ask yourself “What can I do to make it easier on me to be more organized with daily tasks?”, “Are there any tools or strategies that will help me stay organized?”. By doing so, you cannot only make your weakness your strength, but you will also be less stressed since the tasks we avoid are the ones who end up giving us the most stress.
As a business leader, it is difficult to stay updated with what everyone is doing all the time. Insights into how time is being used and on what tasks it is being used can help you keep track of the milestones you’ve set for you and your team. Atto’s team activity insights give you a clear understanding of what your team is working on and for how long. Detailed insights into your team's daily activity give you actionable knowledge that helps you ensure everyone is doing their share of the work to achieve the goals you have set out.
Plan before, during, and after
Now that you have broken down your long-term goal into smaller chunks, it is time to plan accordingly. Some people are natural planners, while others tend to avoid it at all costs. Whatever attitude you have towards planning, you should not neglect the extent to which proper planning can help, or in the opposite scenario, sabotage your plan. Research published in the Public Administration Review revealed that strategic planning has a positive and important impact on organizational performance.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
You can try to integrate planning into your daily routine by forcing yourself to plan until you start planning out of habit. At the beginning of each day, write down tasks you have to complete for the day. After you’ve created your daily to-do list, make sure that you have prioritized based on importance and urgency across tasks. Encourage your team to do the same. If you have a noon meeting where you will present an offer to a client, perhaps it is best to dedicate your morning to prepare all the documents and promotional materials you will need to nail that meeting. The financial report you have to turn in at the end of the day can wait until after the meeting. At the end of the day, make sure you check your to-do list to check off completed tasks and write down the incomplete tasks for the next day.
Now that you know how to plan ahead your day, apply the same logic for larger portions of time. Plan your time at the beginning of each week, month, and year. Prioritize tasks with an approaching deadline to avoid last-minute stress. Be realistic about how much you can accomplish, but don’t sell yourself short either.If you carefully plan ahead, you can make deadlines work for you, not against you. If you find planning and prioritizing intimidating, consider seeking digital help from different software solutions that are designed to give you insights on how you use your time and identify areas of improvement.
Atto’s time clock solution enables you to accurately cross off your to-do-list without relying on memory, eliminating the risk of simply forgetting to keep track. It also offers great insights into areas of improvement for you and your team. It’s scheduled email reporting feature saves you time by giving you real-time access to detailed insights needed to keep track of performance.
See Related: Time Tracking, simplified
Invest in yourself
Sometimes, it may seem like our many efforts to improve work performance are simply not cutting it. In some cases, the issue may point to something larger than poor organizational skills. No matter how well we perform our jobs, there is always more to learn. Learning can mean investing in a training program, picking up a class of your interest, or simply shadowing a colleague you believe you can learn from.
Treat your brain like a muscle - exercise it often. Your brain thrives on challenges, so don’t be afraid to take on a new one. If you find that an employee does not feel fully qualified for the job they perform, seek out training programs in your area that will help them improve your work performance. In many instances, business owners offer to cover the financial cost in order to retain productive employees. Studies from companies like Microsoft have shown that certified professionals perform better. This is also due to the fact that training programs are designed to offer candidates the specific skills they need to perform a specific job, the sort of specialized knowledge you do not necessarily get out of a degree. This leaves you better prepared to face the day-to-day challenges your job entails.