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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 September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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