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Advance in Your Job in 5 Simple Steps

Advance in Your Job in 5 Simple Steps

While “work hard and do your best” is of course good advice for advancing in your job, those ideas can be a little abstract. Here are some specific suggestions for perspectives and practices that will help boost your performance and your position in order to get ahead at work.

1. Deliver More Than is Asked For

Your career is, in many ways, like the rest of life: go the extra mile, dig deeper, and it will pay off. Maybe not every time, maybe not as quickly as you’d like, and maybe not in ways you will recognize immediately, but eventually it will. Have faith in yourself that even if it seems like your boss or coworkers aren’t noticing your extra effort (or worse yet, are taking the credit for it), the investment you are making in yourself by delivering more than is asked for is a worthy one. More often than not, your extra effort will be recognized and you will be compensated for it in one way or another. Here’s a tip to help put that over-deliver mentality into action: think “Plus One.” There is always one extra step that can enhance every project or assignment. Think of the Plus One in every opportunity.

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2. Don’t be a Vocational Snob

When you get a certain procedure down and feel like a pro at it, challenge yourself to take your duties a step further and learn something more about the thing you seem to already know everything about. The world never stays the same…life never stays the same…there is always more to learn. Don’t write off the veterans in your industry. They are still around for a reason. Observe their good work habits and emulate them. Conversely, the older you get, the more people there will be who are younger than you who are as good as, if not better, than you at your work. Choose an attitude of growth vs. being intimidated and stay open to learning from anyone and everyone, including the newbies.

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3. Say Thanks…Creatively

Don’t save your gratitude for the fourth Thursday in November or “customer appreciation day.” If a client, colleague, vendor, coworker or your boss does something worthy of you saying thanks, do it. And, be smart about it: say thanks in the format that will stand out the most to them. One more email in their inbox might not be the way to go. Given the giant wave of digital communication every person in the professional world is surfing every single day, a good, old-fashioned, hand-written note might cement you in someone’s mind as a unique and extraordinary individual.

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4. Make Your Boss Look Good

Too many people are consumed with how to make themselves look good. Take a tip from the late Zig Ziglar: “You can get everything you want out of life if you help enough other people get what they want.” Apply that principle to how you work for your boss. What does she need? What stresses him out? What would make her life easier? What would make him look good? What information does she need for her boss? Remember that making your boss look good should not come at the expense of making others look bad. Nobody, including your boss, likes a suck-up. Be prepared, anticipate needs/problems, and aim to always put your boss in a positive light.

5.  Be Bold

Not obnoxious. Not pushy. Being bold means taking action to do the right thing, despite fear and discomfort. It isn’t about being obnoxious, slick, or manipulative. To be bold is to initiate strong, positive action at a time when others would give in and take the easy path. Be bold and watch your career advance!

Featured photo credit: How to Climb the Corporate Ladder Effectively via ehow.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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