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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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Published on July 17, 2018

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

I’ve never believed people are born productive or organized. Being organized and productive is a choice.

You choose to keep your stuff organized or you don’t. You choose to get on with your work and ignore distractions or you don’t.

But one skill very productive people appear to have that is not a choice is the ability to compartmentalize. And that takes skill and practice.

What is compartmentalization

To compartmentalize means you have the ability to shut out all distractions and other work except for the work in front of you. Nothing gets past your barriers.

In psychology, compartmentalization is a defence mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events. We close down all thoughts about the traumatic event. This can lead to serious mental-health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if not dealt with properly.

However, compartmentalization can be used in positive ways to help us become more productive and allow us to focus on the things that are important to us.

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Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach, calls it his Tight Bubble of Total Focus Strategy. This is where he shuts out all distractions, turns off his phone and goes to a quiet place where no one will disturb him and does the work he wants to focus on. He allows nothing to come between himself and the work he is working on and prides himself on being almost uncontactable.

Others call it deep work. When I want to focus on a specific piece of work, I turn everything off, turn on my favourite music podcast The Anjunadeep Edition (soft, eclectic electronic music) and focus on the content I intend to work on. It works, and it allows me to get massive amounts of content produced every week.

The main point about compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult time in your relationships, your business could be sinking into bankruptcy or you just had a fight with your colleague; you can shut those things out of your mind and focus totally on the work that needs doing.

Your mind sees things as separate rooms with closable doors, so you can enter a mental room, close the door and have complete focus on whatever it is you want to focus on. Your mind does not wander.

Being able to achieve this state can seriously boost your productivity. You get a lot more quality work done and you find you have a lot more time to do the things you want to do. It is a skill worth mastering for the benefits it will bring you.

How to develop the skill of compartmentalization

The simplest way to develop this skill is to use your calendar.

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Your calendar is the most powerful tool you have in your productivity toolbox. It allows you to block time out, and it can focus you on the work that needs doing.

My calendar allows me to block time out so I can remove everything else out of my mind to focus on one thing. When I have scheduled time for writing, I know what I want to write about and I sit down and my mind completely focuses on the writing.

Nothing comes between me, my thoughts and the keyboard. I am in my writing compartment and that is where I want to be. Anything going on around me, such as a problem with a student, a difficulty with an area of my business or an argument with my wife is blocked out.

Understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do about an issue

One of the ways to do this is to understand there are times when there is nothing you can do about an issue or an area of your life. For example, if I have a student with a problem, unless I am able to communicate with that student at that specific time, there is nothing I can do about it.

If I can help the student, I would schedule a meeting with the student to help them. But between now and the scheduled meeting there is nothing I can do. So, I block it out.

The meeting is scheduled on my calendar and I will be there. Until then, there is nothing I can do about it.

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Ask yourself the question “Is there anything I can do about it right now?”

This is a very powerful way to help you compartmentalize these issues.

If there is, focus all your attention on it to the exclusion of everything else until you have a workable solution. If not, then block it out, schedule time when you can do something about it and move on to the next piece of work you need to work on.

Being able to compartmentalize helps with productivity in another way. It reduces the amount of time you spend worrying.

Worrying about something is a huge waste of energy that never solves anything. Being able to block out issues you cannot deal with stops you from worrying about things and allows you to focus on the things you can do something about.

Reframe the problem as a question

Reframing the problem as a question such as “what do I have to do to solve this problem?” takes your mind away from a worried state into a solution state, where you begin searching for solutions.

One of the reasons David Allen’s Getting Things Done book has endured is because it focuses on contexts. This is a form of compartmentalization where you only do work you can work on.

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For instance, if a piece of work needs a computer, you would only look at the work when you were in front of a computer. If you were driving, you cannot do that work, so you would not be looking at it.

Choose one thing to focus on

To get better at compartmentalizing, look around your environment and seek out places where you can do specific types of work.

Taking your dog for a walk could be the time you focus solely on solving project problems, commuting to and from work could be the time you spend reading and developing your skills and the time between 10 am and 12 pm could be the time you spend on the phone sorting out client issues.

Once you make the decision about when and where you will do the different types of work, make it stick. Schedule it. Once it becomes a habit, you are well on your way to using the power of compartmentalization to become more productive.

Comparmentalization saves you stress

Compartmentalization is a skill that gives you time to deal with issues and work to the exclusion of all other distractions.

This means you get more work done in less time and this allows you to spend more time with the people you want to spend more time with, doing the things you want to spend more time doing.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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