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10 Things You Shouldn’t Be Afraid To Ask For At Your Job

10 Things You Shouldn’t Be Afraid To Ask For At Your Job

In this day and age, new jobs are scarce and unemployment is still a very real possibility. Because of the uncertainty we’ve all grown accustomed to, you might find yourself skittish when it comes to making certain requests in the workplace. Of course, a two-hour martini lunch and a new suite of Apple hardware may be out of line, but there are certain things you should never be afraid to ask for at your job. Read on to learn what they are, and how some of them may actually improve your career.

1. An Acceptable Lunch Break

Are you constantly being bothered during your lunch break? If there are no set parameters for when to take your lunch, or how long you have, there’s nothing wrong with asking for a little clarity. The U.S. Department of Labor does not require that an employer offer a lunch break, however your particular state’s laws may differ. Consult your employee handbook and the labor department of your state before approaching your boss. If you point out that you prefer a specific time each day to get away and recharge your batteries, you just might get the answer you’re looking for.

2. Ability to Provide Input

If you’re never asked for input on projects and you think you have something valuable to offer, ask for permission to speak up—this goes for projects you’re not directly involved with as well. Employee input can go a long way toward improving the overall success of a project, and after you’ve commented successfully on a few initiatives, it’s sure to be encouraged even more.

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3. Performance Evaluation

Ask your supervisor for timely performance evaluations if you don’t already receive them. Affirm your commitment to meeting and exceeding company expectations, and mention that it’s going to be easier for you to achieve your goals if you receive regular feedback regarding how you measure up.

4. Letter of Recommendation

There’s nothing wrong with asking for a letter of recommendation if you happen to leave your job. Just be sure you know who to ask. Choose a supervisor who values your work and thinks highly of you, then be polite and let everyone you contact know that you understand if they decline. Offering a draft form of the recommendation letter is another solid strategy for success.

5. Workable Schedule

If you’re unable to adhere to your current work schedule, ask if an adjustment can be made. Employers are much more understanding nowadays when it comes to family commitments and outside responsibilities, including second jobs. Just be sure to provide a solid list of reasons why your current schedule is difficult and how you can better perform with an altered one.

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6. Assistance With a Heavy Workload

You do neither yourself nor your organization any good trying to meet the expectations of an unreasonable workload, so if your boss is simply putting too much on your plate, speak up. If you need help from others, ask them for it. Alternately, ask to whom you can delegate certain tasks in order to better focus on the priorities you’re charged with.

7. More Responsibility

If you are doing a stellar job with your current workload, go ahead and ask for more responsibilities. It’s exactly what your bosses and supervisors want you to do, and it’s a great way to pro-actively advance your career.

8. Proper Tools to Complete Your Job

If you don’t have everything you need to do your job competently, say something. Companies and supervisors have supply budgets to comply with, but shortages around the office do affect productivity. Politely mention that, just be sensitive regarding the company’s finances. Your manager may not know you don’t have what you need.

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9. To Be Treated With Respect

If you’re not being treated respectfully, whether from a co-worker or a supervisor, speak up. Again, your boss may not be aware so it’s in your best interest to mention it. No one else is going to.

10. Better Communication

Does your supervisor communicate clearly with you? If not, express your concerns. Most managers are busy and they might not even know that your ability to perform is being hindered by their communication style. Of course, tact is key here. Restate to your manager the instructions you’re given just to be clear that you’re on the same page.

This article from money crasher gives your some details about developing effective workplace communication skills.

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The Don’ts

Now that we’ve talked about some of the things you should ask for at your current job, let’s talk about some of the things you should not request. Do not ask for a raise—especially if your company is struggling—unless you’re long overdue or have very solid achievements to back up your request. Don’t ask other employees to pick up your slack unless you’ve done the same for them in the past. Don’t ask for a promotion if you know you’re not fit for the job, and refrain from asking for any sort of special treatment. Jobs are political. It’s important to know when to speak up and when not to. Finding the right balance can benefit you personally and professionally, and just may benefit your employer as well.

What do you think you should ask for at your current job?

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

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