Improving your performance at work should be a standard practice. As a manager or leader, you should constantly be striving towards success not only for yourself but also for each one of your employees or teammates. The following tips will help your entire organization improve work performance by creating a more efficient workplace that thrives on perpetual growth and continuous learning.
How to improve work performance
- Set the right expectations
- Have milestones and goals
- Organize, plan and prioritize
- Avoid distractions
- Do one thing at a time
- Don’t leave things unfinished
- Read something new everyday
- Communicate effectively
- Acknowledge weak spots and improve
- Delegate tasks
- Use the right tools
- Stay healthy
- Take breaks
- Minimize stress
- Prioritize self care
- Ask for feedback
- Rethink ineffective ways of working
- Build working relationships and connections
- Practice knowledge sharing
- Promote new skills
- Take part in regular training sessions
1 Set the right expectations
Whether you’re planning for your team or working towards a personal goal, setting the right expectations is extremely important. Setting the right expectations right out of the gate will ensure your employees or teammates have a north star. If you fail to set the right expectations upfront, you may ultimately be disappointed with the final outcome.
2 Have milestones and goals
Just like the way you would set expectations, it’s important to follow up with milestones and goals. Creating milestones and goals will help both you and your team improve your performance at work by providing everyone with concrete metrics that can be measured to gauge success over time.
For example, Implement a new marketing strategy in the next 3 months.
3 Organize, plan and prioritize
If you fail to organize, plan, and prioritize, you won’t be able to be successful. Each one of these practices are key in facilitating a productive environment that attributes to success at work. Being organized and prioritizing planning can be as simple as creating a checklist at the start of each day or as complex as creating a quarterly business plan. Being organized is essential, no matter what your final goal or outcome may be.
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4 Avoid distractions
One of the quickest ways to get derailed from a task or pulled away from an important project is to get distracted. If you’re someone that’s easily distracted, it’s important that you set time aside for deep working periods where you close yourself off to any external factors that may get in the way of your success. Consider:
- Muting notifications on your phone
- Working in a quiet area where you can focus
- Blocking off time for deep work and concentration
5 Do one thing at a time
Many claim to be prolific multitaskers but it’s very rarely the case. When you begin to take on task after task the quality of your work may deteriorate. If you want to improve your performance at work, a quick and easy way to make a difference is to focus on one core task at a time.
What’s really important is that the people on the team know their priorities and know what matters. If someone comes out of the blue and says, ‘Hey, I need you to drop everything you’re doing and do this.’ They should be in a position to say, ‘That seems odd, because I feel like as an organization, we’re aligned around these priorities. And that feels like it’s not lined up with that, can you give me a little more information’?– Rob Zuber, CTO of CircleCI
6 Don’t leave things unfinished
The age-old rule remains. If a task will take less than two minutes to complete, finish it right away and cross it off your list. If you’re the type of person that frequently starts a task and fails to finish it, you know that it can begin to get daunting or even overwhelming. Finishing a task before you start a new one will not only help you improve your performance at work, but it will also help you minimize stress.
7 Read something new everyday
The greatest leaders of all time are the people that prioritize perpetual growth and continuous learning. Reading something new every day is a simple practice that you can integrate into your daily routine that will help you acquire new knowledge while sharpening your skills.
8 Communicate effectively
Being an effective communicator is imperative, especially in a remote-first or digital by default work environment that runs on asynchronous communication. Being intentional about the way that you communicate with your employees or teammates will ensure everyone is working in tandem and taking steps to achieve the same common goal.
9 Acknowledge weak spots and improve
You can’t improve if you aren’t willing to change and grow. Acknowledging your weak spots and creating an action plan that can help you take steps towards improving whether it be from a personal or professional standpoint will be instrumental in your personal life as well as your career. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider:
- Seeking guidance from a trusted mentor or friend
- Reflecting on projects that may not have ended the way you intended
10 Delegate tasks
If you were once an individual contributor that has grown to take on a management or leadership role, you may have a difficult time knowing when to delegate tasks. No one can do everything themselves and knowing when to delegate a task that another teammate may be able to complete more efficiently than you is a superpower.
“As a general rule of thumb, if you want to empower your team to solve their problems, you want to delegate problems back to them. If you can do that over a period of time, then you can start to empower your team and allow them to build the skills they need.”– Dave Bailey, Coach & Mentor
11 Use the right tools
Using the right tools can make a world of difference, especially when you have an endless list of tasks to take care of. Take automation tools for example. Automating tasks that don’t require a human touch can save you tons of time and provide you with the bandwidth you need to thrive in other areas of your work.
Here’s how you can get started:
- Identify areas within your workflow that can be automated
- Consult with a third party that specializes in creating workflows and streamlining business
- Reach out to a colleague or superior that may have more experience working with automation tools
12 Stay healthy
Prioritizing both your mental and physical health is a must. Create boundaries, take frequent breaks, and recharge when you can, your health should always be your main priority. If you’re healthy and happy everything else will follow suit.
13 Take breaks
No one can operate to their full potential without taking the time to recharge. Taking short breaks will help you focus and regain the strength you need to conquer your task with excellence. Encouraging short breaks in the workplace will ensure everyone is energized and in the right headspace to complete tasks efficiently.
- Signing off to indulge in a healthy meal
- Taking a short walk in-between meeting
- Spending quality time with friends and family after working hours
14 Minimize stress
If you’re feeling stressed about work or stagnant in your career, it may be a sign that you need to minimize stress. Logging off and directing your energy elsewhere is a great way to give your brain and nervous system a break. Giving your mind the chance to rest, and recharge will help you be in a better mindset when it’s time to get back to work.
15 Prioritize self care
There’s nothing better than having time for a warm cup of coffee in the morning, going for a leisurely walk before work, or reading a good book at the end of the night. Taking care of yourself and addressing your needs is crucial for your overall happiness. Integrating self-care practices into your everyday routine will help you remain energized and motivated to do your best work.
For example, Take breaks every hour to stretch or walk around.
16 Ask for feedback
Feedback is a gift, and it should be treated as such. The only way to prioritize growth is to constantly seek ways in which you can improve and seeking feedback is a great starting point. Checking in frequently and asking specific questions will help you get the feedback you need upfront, potentially limiting the risk of receiving negative feedback down the road. There are various strategies to ask for feedback, including Fellow’s 360-feedback feature, or Hubspot’s free online form builder.
It’s really important to get to know your reports on a personal level, learn about them and whatever comfort level they have with sharing their personal lives. And then also giving feedback because I think showing that you’re invested in someone’s growth by giving them helpful, well worded feedback is a really good way to show that you have their best interests at heart and you care about them.– Alexandra Sunderland, Director of Engineering at Fellow
17 Rethink ineffective ways of working
It’s easy to become stagnant and get stuck in the process of repeating mundane tasks that may not contribute to the overall success of the organization. Sometimes it’s important and extremely effective to step back and evaluate the way things are being done so you can make improvements that may result in a more efficient workplace.
For example, Avoid multitasking and instead focus on one task at a time.
18 Build working relationships and connections
Cultivating strong relationships with your coworkers means you will have a solid team to collaborate with when you need it most. Spending quality time or initiating impactful conversations with your employees or teammates by encouraging check-ins and casual chats is a great way to build lasting connections and strengthen relationships within your team.
19 Practice knowledge sharing
Knowledge sharing presents a unique opportunity for people to practice effective communication while sharing their expertise and teaching others about what they’re passionate about. Everyone comes from a different background and joins an organization with a different skill set. Embracing these differences and encouraging knowledge sharing will help you improve your performance at work because you will have acquired new knowledge and information that you can apply in the workplace.
20 Promote new skills
Now more than ever it’s essential to continuously invest in your skill set and adding new skills to your technical abilities. Adding tools to your personal toolbelt and empowering your employees or teammates to do the same will contribute to a higher level of competence and will ultimately improve work performance across the entire organization.
For example, Invest in training or workshops to enhance your technical abilities
21 Take part in regular training sessions
We’re living in a digital era which means information is available at your fingertips whenever you need it. If your organization or employer doesn’t prioritize courses or regular training sessions, take it upon yourself to improve and learn new skills via online workshops or free courses.
Be a reflective person. Everything that I write about and teach is all about looking within yourself and asking, how can I do this better? Or how can I build on my strengths and also keep moving better and moving in the direction I want to move in? And so much of that is about self-reflection.– Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler, CEO of Alignment Strategies Group
Improving Work Performance One Step at a Time
Practicing self-care, prioritizing organization, and acquiring new skills are fundamental practices that can help you improve work performance. These tips may seem obsolete but when applied collectively over time, they will make a huge difference in your overall performance at work.