Before you continue reading this article, stop and ask yourself this question: Why is it important for you to find areas of improvement at work? If you know the answer to that question, it’s a good start as you will be able to assess quickly which strategies that I suggest in this article will best help you to improve your work performance.
For those of you who are struggling to answer the “why” question, I will discuss the 2 reasons as to why work productivity drops, and this will hopefully help you answer your why.
Why Is It Important to Know Your Why?
If you don’t know the reason as to why your work performance has dropped, then it is really hard for you to know what strategies are going to help you improve your work productivity.
When your work performance is falling, then your personal life is certainly affected. This means that you are not only dealing with the issue of poor work productivity, but you are also having to deal with the personal challenges you are facing.
A Word of Caution
There is no quick fix to improving work productivity.
Whether you have the answer to the why question or not, everyone has to deal with the personal impact, and this is where the hard work comes in for everyone.
As a career coach, I spend the first 3 sessions with my clients working through their personal issues that sit around career change. The feelings of frustration, confusion, fear and low self-confidence need to be addressed before any practical work, such as working on their CVs or Linked In profiles, can be done. Every time I try to speed through the personal stuff going on with my clients, I struggle with the coaching, and so does my client.
Why Work Productivity Can Drop
There are generally two main causes to a drop in work productivity. Read about them below.
1. Challenging Work Conditions
There are many challenging work conditions that can impact work productivity: constant change and moving goalposts; ineffective leadership and poor management; lack of acknowledgment; low staff engagement; low morale; workplace bullying. The list goes on.
If you are having to deal with challenging work conditions, my suggestion is that you consider getting another job where the work conditions are more aligned to your needs and support your productivity.
Once you have a job where your work conditions have improved, then you can focus on applying the 5 strategies that are presented in this article.
2. Challenges in Your Personal Life
There are many challenges in our personal lives that can impact our work performance and productivity. Some of these challenges are events that are out of our control.
For me personally, the sudden loss of both parents at the same time was a life challenge that had a huge impact on my work performance. All I could do was take one step at a time and just keep moving forward. If you do find yourself in a situation where your world is suddenly turned upside down, be kind to yourself and remember to move forward one step at a time.
Jenny Blake, the author of Pivot, wrote that:
The only move that matters is your next one.
And this is so true.
If you find yourself having to deal with personal challenges that you do have control over, where you have the choice as to how you react, then all you have to do is to choose to take action and then go do it!
5 Strategies to Improve Your Work Performance
There is no magic formula for improving work performance. However, here are 5 strategies that high performers use to maintain consistently high levels of work productivity. I am confident that if you commit and consistently apply these 5 strategies into your life, your work performance will improve.
Your job is to work out which ingredients (strategies) and how much you need to create the right recipe for you to improve your work performance.
1. Get Clear on Your Goals
Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve gives you direction and purpose.
With this clarity in your mind, you are more likely to take action. Write down the goals you want to achieve in the short and long term. For each set of goals, decide your own time frame. Refer to these goals on a regular basis, and make sure you are noting the progress you are making.
2. Plan Each Day the Night Before
What can often happen at work if you have no daily plan of action is that you tend to be more reactive and can end up fighting lots of small fires at work. Firefighting at work distracts you away from important tasks that need to be done, and as a consequence, your work productivity suffers. Take the time each night to plan for the next day.
3. Create a Daily Action Plan
Once you have taken the time to plan what you need to do each day, write your action plan detailing the time when the key tasks need to be completed.
A word of advice: don’t spend 100% of your time on the goals and tasks you have to complete each day. Allocate time to relationships and taking time out to spend with your work colleagues. The last thing you want to do is to become so focused on your goals and tasks that you end up disconnected from the people in your work life. Having great relationships at work contributes significantly to being able to improve work performance.
4. Be Accountable for Your Actions
Our subconscious mind does not like change and will do everything in its power to distract us away from turning our life around. All those self-limiting beliefs, fears, and negative thoughts that you have within your subconscious mind will fight hard to stay. Don’t listen to them.
Use your power of accountability to keep you on track. Share with your team and work colleagues your goals, ideas, and experiences on ways to improve work performance. Model the behaviors that you want to have as a high performer at work. Watch for the signs that threaten your progress and shut them down quickly.
5. Celebrate Your Success
Managing your mindset is key to you staying on track and moving forward. The best way for you to keep the momentum is to celebrate your achievements. I suggest that you do this on a regular basis as this keeps your motivation up.
Your motivation level is the key factor to you wanting to continue to keep going and succeeding the next day and the day after.
Improving your work performance doesn’t mean you have to get up at 4 am and work 14-hour days. These are not the behaviors of a high performer at work.
A high performer is focused, has a clear action plan, and knows what needs to be done and how it should be done. A high performer has great work relationships, is a good communicator, and works efficiently.
You can become that high performer, and the 5 strategies above will enable you to improve your work performance dramatically.