Why would you want to get better at your job? Well, no reason apart from a few little things like pay increases, promotions, and success. In fact, there are many benefits to improving your performance at work, not least the feeling of satisfaction and achievement that comes from a job well done. To that end, check out the tactics below that can help you be better at your work and ultimately boost your career prospects in the long term.
Push yourself, but not to 100%
In life, you need to be wary of people that talk about giving 110%, because they not only don't understand how percentages work, but they are probably giving too much of themselves as well.
This is not something that is a good idea either for you personally or for your employer in the long term, because workers that give and give, eventually get burned out, demoralized and disenfranchised with the job they are doing. Something that often causes them to leave go off sick or lose their passion for the work.
Therefore, while it is always a good idea to challenge yourself and drive a little harder at work, pushing all the way up to 100% consistently, isn't something that you should do. Instead, aim for around 70-80%, and you’ll likely be doing more than everyone else around you, and you'll still have that extra 20% left in reserve in case of emergencies, or when you really want to impress.
When our superiors tell us that we're doing a lousy job, it can be difficult to hear. After all, no one wants to listen to a list of their faults and the things they are doing wrong all the time. However, for the most part, feedback is usually a good thing, if you can learn to see the value in it, because without an assessment of how we're doing it's impossible to improve.
What this means is that seeking out feedback is a great idea, and not being defensive when we receive it is wise is also wise. OK, so it may bruise our egos a little, but as long as it's delivered reasonably its definitely more of a gift than a curse.
Focus on things that have a tangible outcome
There are a lot of things that you may do in your life that you believe will give you the edge at work. For some people, this may be attending every work social, even though they really don't enjoy them. For others it may be reading every single professional publication. Still, others may always wear their lucky pants or socks when it's time to negotiate a big deal.
Of course, it's pretty much impossible to determine whether such things are actually having a positive effect on your career or not. However, there are things that you can almost always guarantee will help you advance at work. Such things include asking for more responsibility because this is an activity that shows you care about your job and are ready progress through the ranks.
Also completing a qualification that fits well with your career field is an activity that is known to have a positive effect on your prospects. You don't even need to take time out of your career to do this, because you can take a course like this online MBA that will allow you to study from home. This means you can fit in your assignments and reading around your current role, and maintain your salary while still doing something tangible to increase your potential to progress and earn more in the future.
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Be a mentor
Next, if you are looking to improve your performance at work, why not consider becoming a mentor to another employee that is less experienced? This can work wonders because it's super easy to know what to do without actually making much effort in real life. However, teaching someone else means that you have to not only talk the talk but also walk the walk as well, as you are accountable to another person, as well as required to lead by example.
Of course, the additional benefits of becoming a mentor is that your employers will see how committed to the success of their business you are. Something that can undoubtedly help to court positive favor, and that can work to your benefit should you choose to ask for a pay rise or apply for a promotion.
Be a mentee
Of course, not every workplace will have someone you can mentor, especially if you are new the company or field yourself. The other option then is to become a mentee and find someone established within the company that is willing to guide and teach you.
A problem with being a mentee is that sometimes, we guys can have a bit of a problem with asking others for help. However, it's important not to let our egos get in the way here, as being mentored can have some distinct benefits for our job.
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The first is that listening to someone that has more experience in your field can stop you from making silly mistakes that will derail or otherwise negatively affect your career. Also, advice from a mentee can prevent you from trying to continually reinvent the wheel and come up with new ways to do things just for the sake of it, even though the current methods are working just fine.
Additionally, having a one to one relationship with someone that is more senior in your workplace flags you up as a candidate that is ambitious and going places. Something that means you are already on management's’ radar when it comes to being considered for extra responsibility and promotion.
Plan for the long-term
If you want to do better at work, it can help to think about the big picture and plan for the long term. The reason this is so useful is that when you are stuck doing the filing, cleaning the equipment, or sweeping the floor and ask yourself what the heck you are doing, you will undoubtedly know that this is just a step on the journey that is your career as a whole.
Planning for the long term can help you succeed in the workplace.
This is so valuable because it will allow you to remain motivated even when you aren't doing your favorite tasks. Something that is hugely underrated quality in the workplace.
Of course, the other advantage to having a longer-term plan that stretches over 5-10 year so that it can make career decisions much easier too. After all, if you know where you are going, you only need to say yes to things that will help you get there instead of everything that comes your way.
Lastly, if you are looking to do better at work, you can't go wrong with increasing your output. What this means is that you will need to focus on productivity, as this will allow you to get more done.
Don't panic though, because improving productivity doesn't necessarily mean working harder. In fact, for the most part, it is much better to work smarter instead.
What this means is putting tactics like eating the frog and batching into practice. It's also a good idea to remove as many distractions to your progress as possible, whether that is checking your emails every 5 minutes or surfing the web for content that isn't related to work.
After all, if you want to get more done, and so improve your performance at work, you need to remove anything that might tempt your focus away from what you are doing. Happily, the rewards of promotions and pay increase should make it all worth it in the end!