Be More Effective on the Job
Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Lynn, Eng
The work arena has become an extremely competitive field today, and you know that getting results is the first thing you need to do if you want to get ahead in your career. Here's how you can be more effective on the job.
- 1 Step 1: Know what the goals of your job are and what your outputs should be
- 2 Step 2 Have a Positive Work Attitude
- 3 Step 3: Take care of your own professional growth
- 4 Step 4: Manage your Time
- 5 Step 5: Develop good communication skills
- 6 Step 6: Develop an Impeccable Work Ethic
- 7 Step 7: Be Kind to Yourself.
- 8 A Final Tip
- 9 Comments
Step 1: Know what the goals of your job are and what your outputs should be
Every job has a role and a purpose in the overall set up of the company and all that it seeks to accomplish. Knowing your purpose or role at work is crucial to being an effective worker. This knowledge will enable you to prioritize tasks and organize them in a coherent, decisive way.
- What happens when your goals are not clear? You easily fall prey to the tyranny of the urgent rather than march to the precedence of the important.
- People whose goals are unclear are not able to craft the objectives that can steer them through their daily work. You've seen many people who are earnest, who work hard, and yet who are always swamped with even more work.
- Most of the time they become overloaded because they are not able to distinguish between essential tasks and those that can be placed in the back burner.
- Find time to analyze your position and study your job description. Line up all your tasks, and see which ones should be done ASAP and which ones can be deferred. Most of all, zero in on the tasks that are central to your job.
Step 2 Have a Positive Work Attitude
- Having a positive work attitude means taking the initiative when there is work to be done. It means being willing to pick up the slack when someone is sick. It means being open to change and giving new ideas a chance.
- One of the worst traits many workers have is the tendency to whine and complain. They dislike new procedures simply because they don't want to be bothered with learning something new.
- These are the workers who reluctantly take on a customer 10 minutes before closing time, and who think the last 20 minutes before the end of their shift is time to get ready to go home.
Step 3: Take care of your own professional growth
- If you want to be more effective in your job, you have to find ways to grow professionally and develop skills relevant to your work.
- There are online courses for just about anything today, so pick one that will help you get ahead. For example, if you are in the customer service department and your Spanish needs brushing up, take an online Spanish course.
- Actually, you can even find several free language courses through the internet. If your typing skills need improvement, look for a tutorial that will help you increase speed and accuracy.
- There is a lot you can do to become better qualified if you just open your eyes to the fact that your abilities need not stay at the same level forever.
Step 4: Manage your Time
Time management is one of the most crucial skills you must acquire if you want to be more effective on the job. Unless you learn the discipline of using time well, you will find yourself always hard put to meet deadlines. You will feel as if you never have enough time, and you may need to skip some crucial steps that could make your work outstanding.
How do you start doing this? Here are a few simple things you can do.
- Make a week-long log of your working days. Note the times you start and finish a task (e.g. answering e-mail, attending meetings, arranging your files). Include the times you take your coffee break, etc.
- Analyze how much time you spend on each task, and see how much time you spend on chores that do not directly contribute to the day or the week's objectives.
- Mark the tasks you do daily by assigning three stars to those that are essential to your objectives and should be done ASAP. Give two stars to important tasks you can do after the three-star chores, and mark routine tasks with one star.
- Use your analysis (the star system) of your actual work week to see if you spend enough time on the important things.
- Based on your analysis, create a good to-do list.
- Your to-do list should provide you with a realistic time frame for getting things done.
- Using your to-do list, check at the end of each day and assess how well you are doing.
Apart from creating a daily time schedule, good time management means taking stock of your habitual pitfalls. Do you spend precious minutes hanging around the water cooler? Do you procrastinate? Are you unable to resist distractions when you are doing online work? Do you only have one address for personal and business e-mail? If so, you are placing yourself right smack in the middle of temptation while answering business e-mail. Separate the two, and go through your personal mail at home, not at work.
Step 5: Develop good communication skills
Professionally, your ability to communicate is as important as your ability to get things done. Your work will go unnoticed and under-utilized unless you are able to communicate well about it. This includes explaining your work, giving instructions on how it can be used, and talking to people about trying it. Communication is not just a matter of speaking well; it is a blend of skills that require all your faculties. If you want to develop good communication skills and be more effective on the job, you need to learn how to do the following:
- Listen actively. Hear and understand what the other person is saying. Don't listen while your mind is composing your arguments to show why he is wrong and you are right.
- Review your writing skills. Are your emails easy to understand or are they a string of thoughts and topics? Do you number the points you want to make so that each one becomes clear to your addressee? What about your reports? Are they well written, coherent, and incisive? Are you careless with your grammar? Remember, a lot of work is judged primarily through punctual and well written reports.
- Create interesting presentations that show the important features of your work without being boring or being so fancy people are distracted by the graphics.
Step 6: Develop an Impeccable Work Ethic
- An impeccable work ethic will build you a body of work that you can be proud of. The standards you set for the things you do will not only develop expertise on your part; they will also help you establish a solid reputation, and people will know you won't pass off substandard work. When quality needs to be assured, people will go to you. This is one of the hallmarks of being effective in your work.
- Apart from setting standards for your work, a good work ethic should include the behavior you exhibit towards others in the workplace. Never indulge in gossip. When there are conflicts between people, desist from taking sides. Be pleasant to everyone, and learn to speak your truth without offending others.
Step 7: Be Kind to Yourself.
Pay attention to your own needs, including the need to manage stress. Making an effort to be effective on the job is sure to generate its share of stressors, and unless you allow yourself to decompress, you could become anxious and irritable. Take care of yourself; being stressed out can rob you of all your good intentions, and render you unable to make the right decisions when these are needed. Here are a few things that will help you be kind to yourself and ultimately enable you to deal with stress:
- Get your 40 winks. Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep for each 24 hour cycle. It is a physiological need that humans can't escape from.
- Identify the issues and concerns that stress you. Analyze these and productively create strategies to deal with them. Seek help if you need it.
- Be fit. If you need to exercise, do it. Being fit is an often neglected prerequisite for being effective, not only in your work, but in other things as well.
A Final Tip
Learn to appreciate your work, your life, and your own self. People who have a positive attitude toward work and life are magnets for good things. People who work happily are usually sought-after in work teams. Usually their disposition helps put them in a position where they have more options, and that allows them to be more effective, not only in the workplace, but in everything they do.
- If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.