Ten Ways to Improve Your Work Performance Today
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Successful professionals create value. They do this by finding or creating a need then meeting it and by doing more with less through enhanced productivity and innovation. They are able to rise above the fray and be completely unique by delivering on new products, services, business models, operational constructs or just simply more productive, efficient and effective methods of finding solutions for old problems. Here are some tips from the Bayt.com team on how to improve your productivity and general work performance today:
1. Plan and prioritize
Failing to plan is tantamount to planning to fail. Have an end goal in mind and organize a game-plan to get there. Create a daily schedule and stick to it. Be punctual and don’t postpone. Keep in mind the 80/20 rule as you choose how to approach your day; 20% of the work you do will determine 80% of the outcome. Determine what projects and tasks are critical, urgent and create the largest value and benefit to the business and allocate your immediate efforts to those. Select what you can easily postpone and what you can delegate without hurting results. A lion’s chunk of prioritizing involves simply learning to say no.
Focus is a key trait of productive professionals. Online and other distractions are a bane to productivity. According to Bayt.com’s ‘Rest and Recreation Habits Among MENA Professionals’ poll (January 2013), 30.7% of polled respondents say that they spend more than five hours a day surfing the internet just for fun. Don’t get distracted by the nuances of the daily grind; stay mindful of the demands and progress of the tasks at hand; and don’t lose sight of your vision, mission and values along the way. Remember sustainable success is rarely about revolutionary breakthroughs, it’s invariably a process of evolution that feeds off persistent effort and consistent progress.
3. Set interim milestones and reward yourself
The road to your destination may be long and winded and the end-goal may still be a few moons away but don’t let that stop you from stopping to smell the flowers along the way. Set clear milestones for interim success and reward yourself with a self-congratulatory break and private or public accolade at every deserved opportunity. Breaking a long project into chunks of mini-tasks with unique end-goals and success metrics will keep your morale high and energy levels soaring. 62.2% of professionals in the region as polled by Bayt.com claim that they do receive recognition or praise at work but why rely solely on others; make sure to tabulate your own progress and reward yourself too!
4. Read something new
Try to allocate some time every day to read, refine skills and learn something new. Take notes and share your learnings wherever possible; in this way you are learning more actively and also building repute, gaining social currency and establishing expertise for yourself. With change happening at lightning speed the quickest way to increase productivity, improve performance and maintain a competitive edge is to stay fully abreast of the latest tools, trends and technologies in your industry. 77.9% of respondents to a Bayt.com poll indicated they read constantly and 69.6% indicated they believe reading is vital to career progress.
5. Ask a question
What if I did this differently? What if there is a faster, easier, more effective way to achieve the same results? What if I changed my pitch/tone/content/brand or message? Whatever the question you ask is, you need to constantly challenge the status quo and enquire of yourself and of others, whether you are really working as productively as you possibly could. The best way to ensure moss doesn’t gather at the wheels is to keep those questions rolling and never be satisfied that things can’t be improved.
Whether your clients are internal or external, you need to listen to them regularly and often. They will provide you with first-hand insights into your performance and general perceptions of it as well as what the nature of their preferences are so you can better meet demand. You may be able to amplify your productivity substantially by better understanding and honing in on actual consumer expectations and by learning to anticipate their needs. Listen to your team, your stakeholders and your peers in the industry too.
7. Take stock of your competitive space
Rarely are we blessed with a space void of any competitors whatsoever and a blinkered approach to market dynamics and one’s competitive space is usually a recipe for lethargy. Observe what your competitors are up to, analyze what they are doing right – and not so right – and treat this as a key learning and valuable impetus to keep innovating and doing things better.
8. Give credit
All of us rely on the cooperation, input, feedback and buy-in of others to get our job done in the best way we can. To facilitate and magnify the kind of co-operation you need to truly succeed to the best of your abilities it’s essential to give credit and show gratitude along the way. Make those who help you shine and you will stand on the shoulders of giants.
9. Stay healthy
Good health and an acceptable work-life balance lead to better productivity. A recent poll conducted by Bayt.com reveals that professionals in the MENA region are keen on maintaining a healthy work-life balance. In fact, 26.9% of polled professionals believe that their poor work-life balance has jeopardized both their mental health and happiness, and a staggering 64.8% of them would even accept a pay cut to have more free time on their job. To sustain peak performance over the long term and avoid stress and burnout, you need to be physically and mentally healthy and have a good modicum of balance in your life. Eat well, sleep sufficiently and try to squeeze some exercise into your routine on a regular basis.
10. Put your heart in it
Passion is one of the single most important drivers of success. If your heart and soul aren’t in what you are doing you are likely not to be performing optimally. Do some soul-searching and find out what it will take to make you love what you do and perform to the very best of your abilities. Make sure your values are being reflected and respected in what you do and that you see the meaning in it. As Abraham Lincoln said, “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”