Many of us seek reassurance from our managers and those more senior to us as to whether we are performing well at work. However, in increasingly busy workplaces, it’s not always possible to obtain the guidance we often seek. Taking things into our own hands is perhaps the more proactive way of ensuring our continued development.
Professional development doesn’t mean working longer hours and increasing our workload, it simply means working in smarter ways. However big or small, improvements in our work often boost our drive, confidence and overall job satisfaction whilst reducing stress - paving the way for a more rewarding career.
Over the next 12 months, each month, we will be releasing one skill we believe everyone can improve to help achieve better work-life balance, improve work performance and overall career satisfaction - from recent graduates and all the way up to Director level.
An important note to make the most of your journey to improved performance is to ensure you take some time to self-reflect. If you can do this for a week, this will be a great starting point. Perhaps after one week, you will see the value in self-reflection and continue to practise it on a regular basis.
For one week, each day, take 15 minutes at the end of the day to sit in a quiet place and assess yourself in the workplace and your current ways of working. What did you do, what did you achieve, what went well, what could have gone better, how did you feel throughout the day, is there anything you wish you had done differently? Try to write notes on your phone, computer or a notebook.
Repeat every day for one week and after one week, look back at your notes and you may discover trends or patterns in your behaviour that will provide a basis to create action points for improvement. For example, you may discover that what should have taken you two days to complete, has taken you one week to complete. Then you look further and you find you've been helping others out during the week, instead of focusing on your own work. Alternatively, perhaps you really disliked the task and kept putting it off, but by putting it off instead of tackling it immediately, you missed out on other, much more enjoyable tasks and your whole week was clouded by this one task.
Why this exercise is important? Firstly, we should get to know ourselves, it's much more impactful and empowering when we reach our own conclusions about ourselves rather than through someone else. Secondly, for a change to be meaningful, you need to know why. If I tell you to improve your time-management skills, you might think, why? I get by just fine as I am, I’m not particularly bothered there are much more pressing matters. But, if you take time to self-reflect you may discover that in fact, perhaps you feel overworked, find a pattern of staying late to complete work or, find that tasks that should have taken you one day to complete, took you all week to complete. Then, you may come to the realisation that these patterns are in fact connected to poor time-management and by implementing various tried and tested time-management techniques, you can alleviate the negative consequences that result from poor time-management. Alternatively, perhaps you may discover that you feel content continuing as you are. If so, no need for change but nevertheless, make sure to self-reflect before reaching that conclusion.
To help you along the journey of improving performance at work, over the next 12 months, we will be releasing one skill a week with a number of tools to help and guide you along the journey. It’s important to note however, that everyone is different. As such, we will provide you with a range of tools to help you improve each skill, but we recommend that you only choose one or two that you feel will work best for you and for you to put into action. Trying to make too many changes at once is no easy feat and is likely to put you off before you even get started. Remember, one small lasting change, is a million times more effective than many, temporary and short-lived changes.
After one month of sustained improvement, you can always check back to see any other tools that you might want to begin to implement too!
The first skill we will be introducing is Time-Management. We will release our first post on the 28th of March so make sure to keep an eye out and join us on this journey (yes, we will be joining you along the journey too!)
Happy journeys and best wishes,