It’s a valid question, “DO you want to get better at your job?” Especially considering the shaky economy and lack of sustained progress in many workplaces. As an employee, you might be finding it hard to put in the extra effort into your work when your position feels so tenuous. However, if you want to continue climbing the ladder of success and make it to where you want to be, you may need to get better at what you do.
So, what is the best way to get better at your job? You might have read numerous articles and literature on the subject, and we’ve compiled what we think are the best ways to get ahead in your current job.
- Work on your organizational skills
There’s no shortcut, you have to be organized if you want to be able to handle tasks faster and more effectively. Come up with a way to prioritize your inbox, which can fill up quickly with the onslaught of new tools and software at your disposal. Delete what you find to be irrelevant, and only keep on your desk, inbox, and home screen what you consider helpful in your tasks at that particular time.
Organization also extends to how you concentrate. Do you allow yourself to be interrupted by the occasional email or text alert? Switch off your notifications or close the window and allow yourself time to concentrate on the work at hand before checking your messages.
- Be the master of your time
Your tardiness may be overshadowing the quality of your work. Again, being able to concentrate for a sustained period of time is important for you to effectively complete the tasks given to you. In our technology-driven world, there is a myriad of software that can help you get organized and time conscious, so you don’t spend inordinate amounts of time responding to email when you could be working on the report required by the end of the day.
- Accept your performance review
Many companies review their employees’ performance after a given period, mostly 12 months. Understandably, you might be hesitant about letting the boss pick apart your work over the past year, but being open to the idea is the best way to get better at your job. Respectfully articulate what you think you have done well over the period, and accept what the boss thinks are your shortcomings. Find a common ground between the two, and identify which areas you need to work on to get better in the coming months.
- Develop useful working relationships
You don’t have to communicate with your boss only during performance reviews. Exchanging feedback every now and then, and building a working relationship could help you a lot. Employees that find common ground with their supervisors and develop a positive working relationship are more likely to put in the extra effort at work.
Sure, clear boundaries should be established about what’s acceptable in approaching a more friendly relationship with your superiors, but don’t shy away from asking your boss(es) for pointers on the project you are working on. Who knows? You might even learn something new.
- No multitasking
Cut out the multitasking. It’s tiring, takes too much time, and is more likely to make it so that you don’t finish even one task on your list. People who multitask aren’t likely to pay attention to the things that matter, and will constantly shift focus to other things. If there’s ever a time that you need a one-track mind, it’s now.
- Develop relationships with fellow colleagues
Aim to develop strong relationships with the people around you. Your peers could be very helpful when identifying flaws in your game, and can offer advice you never thought of. Ally with the people you think can help you, even if they aren’t in your department. Employees that have been there a long time are also good candidates to develop relationships with, as are those that others might overlook, like cleaning staff and security. Make sure you offer something in exchange, like your own advice, or paying for lunch in order to build valuable relationships that aren’t one-sided.
- Take on challenges
Out of fear of failure or just sheer laziness, you may have passed on an assignment that you thought exceeded your job description. However, you might be hurting your chances for promotion by not branching out. Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges, especially those that are outside your purview.
If you are able to tackle the requirements of your particular position, ask for more work to show that you can adapt and tackle a variety of problems. Taking that proactive approach not only builds your job skills, it also puts you in a favorable position for a promotion or pay hike.
- Become indispensable
Which leads to another aspect of getting better at your job: that of becoming indispensable. Aim to be the most valuable employee in your organization, because–here’s a sports analogy– “No one trades away an MVP.”
There are a lot of things you can do to showcase your skills and talent that can convince the company that they are better with you onboard than without you. Some actions you can take include double-checking your work before submitting it, meeting deadlines, and helping those around you during your extra time.
- Research, research, research
It certainly doesn’t hurt to take the time to research your strategies and objectives before you present them at the next meeting. It should be the first thing you do before you undertake any assignment. Your boss will be pleased you did the legwork, and will view your opinions more seriously if you can back them up with concrete research.
- Learn new skills
In your downtime, try to learn a new skill that could be useful in your industry. The internet is full of blogs, videos, and tutorials that are useful to improve your work skills. Enroll for an evening class or online course that adds to your repertoire, and if you learn anything relevant, bring it back to the office. Joining professional associations is also advised, as you interact with like-minded peers and network with valuable connections.
What tips have you implemented to get better at your job?