An annual review should not be the only time in the year you evaluate your productivity. In order to continue to grow and improve, it is critical to assess your performance on a more consistent basis. While yearly reviews provide a great opportunity to examine what you achieved, or what you wish you’d done more (or less) of over that timeframe, productivity needs to be measured and adjusted frequently. There are a number of factors and unforeseen circumstances that can set you back, but here are a few simple tips to help you improve your work performance if you notice it’s started slacking.
1. Get Back to the Basics
Pay special attention to the quality of work you’re putting out related to the everyday tasks of your job. Are these duties getting the love they deserve or are they being overlooked because you’ve become too comfortable? Remember, these tasks are often the foundation on which the rest of your work is built – make sure they’re solid!
2. Start the Day With a Positive Thought
Your attitude each morning sets the tone for your workday. Starting your day with positive energy and intentions will enable you to make reasonable decisions and allow you to be less affected by challenges that might arise.
3. Set Goals for the Year
Picture yourself a year from now. What do you want to be able to say you’ve achieved? In addition to simply creating a list, a great exercise is to write a letter to yourself as if you were reflecting on all these accomplishments. Express gratitude and be sure to include what you learned as a result of reaching your goals.
4. Set Goals for the Week
Most importantly, make this list realistic. List feasible goals that you know (in most circumstances) can be completed by the end of the week. Not only will this help keep you organized, but checking things off your list will keep you motivated as well.
5. Set Goals for the Day
Now, break down your weekly goals even further into daily goals. You should prioritize your list by writing down the top three tasks you need to finish by the end of the day. Then, commit to organizing your day to ensure these get done.
6. TRIPLE Check your Work
Because double checking is so 2008. You may expect auto-correct to be your automatic safety net, but that isn’t always the case. Emails are being fired off at a rapid rate throughout the day so while response time is important, so is readability! Mistakes happen and it’s important to make a conscious effort in taking those extra few seconds and check your work one more time.
7. Ask How and Why
You’ve probably figured out many of the “how to’s” of your job, but do you have a real understanding of why the process works the way it does? Knowing the “why” behind certain processes will help you troubleshoot any issues and allow you to better complete a task.
8. Jot Down All of Your Ideas
Great ideas sometimes get lost in the abyss, especially if the idea strikes at a random time (before bed, on the subway, while blow drying your hair). Pen and paper may not always be available to you but how about using notes on your cellphone or sending yourself an email? You will never be left wondering how that great idea escaped!
9. Switch up your Workspace
Giving your workspace a facelift from time to time can make a big difference. You spend A LOT of time in your workspace so even some fun new décor can give you a fresh outlook and inspiration.
10. Hone your Listening Skills
Let’s face it – you’re constantly multi-tasking which can make it difficult to retain information. Focus on improving your active listening skills so that you can process details in real time and work more efficiently.
11. Learn from your Failures
Don’t view your failures as the opposite of your successes, but rather as a part of your path. When you acknowledge your shortcomings, you can learn and grow from them.
12. Celebrate Your Successes
You have to be your own advocate. No matter how big or small, allow yourself to celebrate all of your victories. This will not only help build confidence in yourself but also help build the confidence others have in you.
13. Take a Break
Even if it’s just for 5 minutes, get up, stretch, take a walk – just make sure you find a way to move around and give your eyes and brain a rest!
14. Get More Sleep
Every night, set a time to turn off your TV, log off the computer and put down your tablet or phone. More rest = more energy = better productivity.
15. Change your Eating Habits
It is scientifically proven that what we consume has a direct effect on how we act, feel, and most importantly, how we perform. Try adding these productivity-boosting foods to your diet, you will not only see but also feel the positive effects.
Looking for some lunch inspiration? Check out these simple (and healthy) lunch ideas for work!
16. Put in the Extra Effort
Because like they say, it really does go a long way… “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” – Jimmy Johnson