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10 Signs Your Potential Isn’t Fully Developed in Your Workplace

10 Signs Your Potential Isn’t Fully Developed in Your Workplace

Reaching your potential in the workplace is an exciting prospect. Yet many of us have simply not found the right job (or the right organization) to reach the heights of achievement. Many people, especially those fresh out of college, start off in jobs that are far below their potential. In time, well-managed companies provide promotions and training to get every employee to reach her potential. To figure out if you are reaching your potential, read on.

1. Your tasks are easy

Day after day you complete your tasks with ease. Your forgot what it is like to face a challenge at work. That’s the essence of being in a role where you are not reaching your potential. A job that pushes you to work hard and overcome difficulties, in contrast, is a job that encourages to reach new heights.

Before you decide to quit, take the time to look for new challenges. For example, consider scheduling a meeting with your manager to ask for additional responsibilities. Getting new tasks to learn is one way to start growing your potential again.

Reminder: Challenging work is what keeps you growing to meet your potential.

2. You cannot find anything to learn

Learning is essential to growth. When you are new to a job, you are constantly learning. Over time, you can continue to learn from taking courses and learning from your own mistakes. In some cases, you may simply have nothing left to learn. If you have reflected on your job, asked your manager for suggestions and learned what your coworkers do, then it may be time to seek a new opportunity.

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Tip: Grow your career by finding new tasks to master. It’s one key to preparing yourself for promotion and staying engaged at work.

3. You have developed all the connections you can

Every job gives you the potential to develop and grow your network. For example, you may customers, back office support staff and sales representatives. Over time, many of these people will become familiar faces and your network will not grow as fast. At that point, you can leave the role or take an active approach to developing your network (e.g. meeting people outside your company or join an association).

Tip: To expand your internal network, join office committees (e.g. health and safety committee or the social committee). These can be a great way to meet people from other departments.

4. You have exhausted the options for process improvement

Every job and organization has the potential for improvement. When you learn a task for the first time, you may notice all kinds of possible improvements. Over time, you can apply the principles of process improvements (e.g. complete a report or delivery 1% faster than last time or eliminate one of the steps) to improve your results. Over time, you may not be able to improve your effectiveness further. If you have reached that point, you may have reached your potential

Remember: At a certain point, there are diminishing returns in process improvement, no matter how good you are.

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5. There are no promotions available

In some companies and some departments, promotions are rare. For example, low growth companies may only be able to offer promotions in a few select departments (e.g. to promote sales staff). In contrast, a rapidly growing start-up company is more likely to offer promotions to staff. Promotions are one of the best ways to develop your potential at work so they matter a great deal.

To assess this point, simply ask yourself this question: In the past 12 months, how many promotions have I seen in my department? If the answer is zero, then it may be time to move on to a different role. Alternately, you may want to set schedule a meeting with your manager to ask about the promotion process.

Tip: Learn how to get ahead by reading How to Get Promoted.

6. You have no funding for training

Education and training courses are one of the best ways to grow your potential. That’s why companies like General Electric spend $1 billion per year to provide training to their staff. Self-reflection and on-the-job training have their limits. Before you quit, take the time to look for free resources such as online courses and books from your library.

Tip: Read 25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education to keep your training going even if you are on a limited budget.

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7. You leave early every day

From time to time, you will need to work late to reach your potential on the job. For example, you may have to stay late to help your boss prepare a presentation. Or you may have a long day due to business travel. These are realities of the working world. On the other hand, if you are able to finish all of your work and leave early every day, then you are probably not reaching your potential.

Tip: Align your schedule to match your manager. If she or he arrives at nine each morning, aim to arrive at 8:45 a.m. It is a good way to get an early start on the day’s work.

8. You rarely receive feedback about your performance

Like it or not, feedback is a valuable tool in seeking to reach your potential. In fact, negative feedback is highly valuable because this comment tends to include suggestions to help you improve in the future. If you rarely receive feedback, you are probably not reaching your potential.

Tip: Are you struggling to make use of feedback? Read 8 Ways To Receive Feedback And Turn Them Into Your Strengths.

9. You are working in a toxic environment

Some companies and departments are simply toxic – full of complainers, gossips and even worse. Unfortunately, being surrounded by negative people at work makes it difficult for you to grow yourself. In the short term, you can work on improving your attitude and staying positive. If the situation does not change after 6 months or more, it is time to start looking for a new opportunity.

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Tip: Discover if you are surrounded by toxic people and what you can do about them by reading 5 Types of Toxic Employees And How You Can Deal With Them.

10. You feel bored at work

It may be difficult to quantify, yet it is very important. If you feel bored at work, day after day, then you are probably not reaching your potential. If you feel bored once at the office, you might be tired. If you feel bored week after week, you are probably not reaching your potential.

Tip: Use the pushing boundaries strategy to expand your job; this is a great way to learn more skills and reach your potential.

Featured photo credit: Boring/Unsplash via pixabay.com

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Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

More About Boosting Productivity

Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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