Published on January 17, 2020
Read time 10 minutes
25 super hacks to improve work performance in 2020
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Imagine working at a workplace where you a lot of tasks to complete and you are just not able to complete them in a given time. So, how can you be highly productive at your workplace and improve work performance?
In this article, we’ll list down and explain 25 ways on how you can improve work performance.
Let’s get down to business and discuss ways to improve performance at work.
1. Improve Work Performance by Prioritizing
One of the biggest struggles in the modern workplace is understanding the tact to prioritize work. The amount of workload is skyrocketing, and you feel as if everything is important. Sometimes it is hard to work on simultaneous tasks. We understand that.
The truth of the matter is that not all tasks are as urgent as you think they are; there are ways on how to prioritize work and complete the ones that matter the most. Each day you have to learn new ways to optimize how you utilize your time and resources.
The aforementioned is one of the key points in inculcating productivity in your life. Once you get a grip on things, it can help everything from time management to task management. However, do keep in mind that it takes time and effort to organize things at multiple forefronts.
To make things easy, I’ve summarized some of the key tactics out there to improve work performance:
- Record everything on a master list and then divide it based on annual, monthly, weekly and daily objectives.
- Differentiate between critical and essential work categories with the help of the Eisenhower Matrix.
- Distinguish between tasks by using the ABCDE method.
- Avoid Everything until and unless Priority #1 is done and dusted.
- Cut out “good enough” objectives using the 2-list Strategy by Warren Buffet.
- Slot your task and responsibilities in order to improve performance into four boxes – Important vs Urgent.
- Pick your 1-3 most essential and important tasks first, and then move on from there.
2. Set Milestones to Improve Work Performance
One of the important aspects of project management is setting milestones. It facilitates you to see and observe your development; while the procedure allows you to create a clear-cut and achievable project plan.
Milestones layout the urgency of each step of the project in front of you.
Project management tools definitely help in the process including our very own nTask (which over 100,000 teams are using worldwide).
If you’re interested in learning more about an effective milestone setting; go-ahead and read this article by Chris LeCompte; he is also the creator of the Project Web.
3. Improving Performance Depends on Whether You Are Clear on Why You Were Hired for the Role
One of the most important steps to improving performance at work is to make sure what you are doing is something important for your organization. There is a high percentage of people who spend years and months at an organization in a certain role, but they are not certain as to what their job requires them to do.
It is important to know what you were hired for and what your most important tasks are. If you are still not clear, then ask your supervisor and get clarity.
4. Run Effective Meetings – One of Our Favorite Ways to Improve Performance at Work
An inevitable part of our work routine includes meetings. Your bottom line will improve if you spend valuable time on meetings in an effective manner.
To start off, you need to evaluate whether a meeting is really that important for you and your team members to stop their ongoing tasks for it or not. Is it possible to achieve the goal through email or phone call?
In case you do require setting up and engaging in meetings with different stakeholders, keep it effective by creating an agenda; placing a time limit, or by staging a standing meeting. The latter doesn’t take that long to execute.
5. Avoid Distractions
It’s commonly known that interruptions hinder efficiency. To keep yourself on top of your game with optimum creativity, focus. You need to eliminate possible distractions from your environment.
Likewise, avoid putting yourself in a situation that could be distracting and interrupting your workflow, like going on Facebook. Put the phone out of sight and focus on your work.
6. You Can Improve Performance by Communicating Better
Let’s face it. Communication is a two-way highway. Effective communication gives you the capability to understand and delegates tasks much more efficiently. Always remember, each point of view matters and it can help to take your work performance to a whole new level.
You should definitely consider injecting a powerful team communication tool in your work process. Doing so helps a lot from a long term perspective.
7. Preparing In Advance Goes a Long Way…
What’s the best part of beginning a task? You’ll never be in a position of recovering a slow start. I’m really in favor of preparing well because it’s right within our control.
We can’t control our external stimuli like the economy, political situation or simply how our stakeholders will act but one thing we can manage is our preparation.
If we lack practice, how are we going to ace a project or a task? There are generally two kinds of practices that potentially help with improving workplace performance.
Practice in Play
This category largely deals with how mindful you are of the tasks and responsibilities at work and how they help you to be more productive. You could spend a complete month looking as if you are busy, but you may not master your art. On that note, you need to look at your work through the lens of a positive intent of understanding and developing your skillset.
Practice Outside Play
You must have heard people discussing how creative activities outside work can help improve job performance. This is empirically proven by different research studies by organizational psychologists. Creative pursuits away from work have a direct effect on factors such as stakeholder management, problem-solving as well as the capacity to empathize with others.
9. Navigate Pitfalls which might affect your work performance
Navigating pitfalls is a sure shot of forecasting the problems which might arise during a task. Even if you are an expert with respect to a certain skill set, there are other areas where you need prior heads up in order to ace the task.
What do you think? Where do successful people place most time and resources in? I believe the best performers focus on things they can avoid first in order to improve work performance.
10. Apply the 80/20 Rule
The Pareto principle states that 20 percent of your effort produces 80 percent of your results. This means that around 80 percent of the time you spend on tasks does not affect the bottom line.
Solution: Prioritize your day so that you work on your priority goal first.
11. Stop Multitasking!
I often discuss the subject of multitasking with my team. Some people are good at it, others end up facing hindrances. This may be happening because you’re doing a lot of things at once. If you find it difficult, slow down a little and focus on one task at a time. You can increase your momentum as time passes by.
Even though you may think that you are doing well my moving fast when you multitask, your brain cannot focus on multiple tasks at one given time.
12. Reading Helps to Improve Performance at Work
According to Entreprenuer.com, reading more books will make you richer, smarter and psychologically healthier. Stay on top of industry news, white papers, thought leadership and latest tactics, so that you can perform even better at work.
13. Review Personal Benchmarks On Continuous Basis
As you set different milestones, always keep an eye on them as they pass and through a macro lens observe whether you were able to achieve those milestones. Use this to keep yourself in check and jumpstart your work ethic accordingly.
14. Overcome Resistance to the Tasks That Seem Difficult To Start With
There have been times where you may have been hesitant to start a task because it initially seemed difficult. Though, once you began brainstorming it, it wasn’t that hard in reality! You must remember a ton of such tasks during your work and educational careers. Challenges are always there to make us stronger. So, grow and evolve!
Kris Hughes at projectmanager.com recommends eating the frog first thing in the morning when you begin your work.
According to Kris, “If you always tackle your most dreaded or most difficult task first thing in the morning, the remainder of the tasks you have to do throughout the day will pale in comparison and you’ll be able to maintain a high level of productivity throughout, rather than dreading the frog as the clock ticks”.
15. Investigate Issues such as; Underperformance in Teams
It is essential to know why an employee is underachieving than the rest of the herd. You need to avoid making assumptions and hold a discussion with the concerned team member to get to the bottom of the issue.
There might be problems at the employee or employer end. For example, issues such as; lack of adequate training and onboarding from the start or some external stimuli may be affecting the employee. In this case, HR can possibly intervene and play a positive role to address and rectify the problem at hand.
It’s always recommended to be a mindful listener, and not cover up issues because that’s only going to bite you back.
16. Training Doesn’t Need To Stop at the On-boarding Stage
New employees really need to be given attention not only at the time of hiring but a continuous training plan needs to be in place to improve workplace performance. This is especially true when during the onboarding stage employees are given a lot to digest.
It can often be hard and in cases overwhelming. Continuous training and refreshers will always aid an employee in performing his tasks better and complement his skillsets for the job role.
17. Improving Performance at Work depends on Developing a Positive Mental Attitude
Normally people like to be around people they like. Generally, those are the people that get bonuses and promotions. But that shouldn’t be the case.
In order to be a good performer and supervisor, you need to be consistent, cheerful and full of optimism. When you will try to be positive around people that will show in your environment and will open extraordinary doors for you.
18. Personality at Work
Personality is at the epicenter of how we interact with people in our surroundings both in our professional and personal lives. It provides a framework for predicting why our way of life differs from our colleagues at work and neighbors in our everyday life.
Instead of ignoring personality factors, employees and employers both need to embrace factors such as personality. Understanding why you react the way you do to different situations and stimuli will aid in developing the professional and life skills you need to improve your work performance.
19. Have a continuous passion to learn
You need to keep ahead of the competition by keeping abreast of the latest trends in your industry. I would say that even learning something as small as a keyboard shortcut are low hanging fruits to improve your learning and will aid in improving performance at work.
20. Request Feedback Often
You don’t need to believe that your annual performance review is the only way of knowing where you’re getting things right and where you need to improve. I would say you don’t need to wait for it.
Be proactive and often request feedback from your supervisor and contemporaries in your team so that you don’t miss out on opportunities for learning and growth.
21. You Need to Batch Meetings and Task to Improve Work Performance
An important strategy to help you accomplish more is to batch your work. If you have a bunch of presentations to draft, book an appropriate time slot to work on it. Never switch tasks until you have accomplished the task at hand.
22. Understanding Your Personal Goals
It’s important to align both your personal goals and organizational goals.
Are there certain goals which your function or organization is pursuing? In your work, try and balance these goals with your personal goals. The bottom line here is that know the goals and prioritize & focus on activities that push you in that direction.
23. Have Only One Document Related to One Task on Your Desk at a Time
When you begin a task make sure your desk is clear of any irrelevant stuff i.e. work which you won’t be focusing over the foreseeable hours and days.
This will help you save on time by not having to go through documents that are not important at the current time period. A clutter-free workspace is often the best way of efficient performance.
So, there you have it. If you would like to add to our tips to improve your work performance, feel free to use the comments section below. We look forward to hearing back on our readers. This helps us to serve the project management community in a better way. Good luck, and have a great week ahead!
24. Ask yourself the right questions to improve work performance
As you move through the day its normal in a professional environment to be asked to rush into new activities and workstreams.
When you are about to decide on starting afresh task, always do some soul searching and ask yourself, “What would be the most valuable use of my time at this point in time?”
You need to deep dive and understand whether it falls within your 20% of tasks which will give you the 80% output on your bottom line.
25. Work while you’re at work
This is a simple but effective tactic 😊. When it’s time to work just focus on the work at hand rather than looking at the news, social media or chatting with your friends.
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