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I'm Jon, Principal consultant and Career Coach at Affinity. Watch this short message for more information
Are you effective at work? Right now is always a good time to take a step back and assess. We all have different strengths and weaknesses that might impact our effectiveness, and we can all benefit from a re-think to help develop skills to make us even more effective in our work.
First, you have to be honest with yourself to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps you are great with the day-to-day tasks but find yourself struggling with high-pressure situations; perhaps you adore the thrill of tight deadlines but feel unmotivated during slower work days. Assessing yourself in this way is a skill that will pay off throughout your career. This ability appeals to those looking to hire, and impresses those who have already recruited. It attracts the most exciting projects and opportunities and wins important clients.
You should be able to meaningfully and succinctly answer this very simple question. Once you know your purpose, you have a very valuable vantage point. You will be able to use this knowledge to identify your priorities. This is critical in becoming as effective as you can be. If you don’t identify your priorities, your tasks will seem like and unmanageable mass that you are constantly struggling to get to grips with.
You may need to take the initiative and perform a more in-depth job analysis, perhaps using online or company tools. It may be best for you to talk to management or simply to consult your records and read through your job description. From these analyses, you can extrapolate the tasks that should be your main priority.
Take pride in your work, and adopt a positive attitude. It will make you and others around you feel better and less stressed, and it will make your job more enjoyable. Enhancing positive aspects demonstrates your value to the team and, perhaps most importantly, to yourself. You’ll sleep much more soundly without the compulsion to run over work problems in your mind. Get into the habit of taking the initiative and you could head off problems before they even arise, helping to reduce stress and increase your personal satisfaction as well as your productivity.
Communication is an under-rated quality. These days we have more channels open than ever before, but don’t let your message be overwhelmed by the medium. Be clear, concise and professional. Of course, this isn’t just about what you communicate to others – it’s a two-way street, and you must also develop your active listening skills. Learning to really listen to others will help you understand, digest and organise information you receive. Stay focussed on your purpose, and don’t get bogged down in extraneous detail.
Time management is another essential good practice and feeds directly into productivity. Only when tasks and processes are prioritised can you create an efficient schedule for yourself. It’s also incredibly helpful to look logically at what you are actually spending your time on, consciously paying attention to how long particular tasks or processes might take. Setting goals will break down what can seem overwhelming workloads into more manageable bite-sized chunks, which is a very useful technique for alleviating stress as well as increasing productivity.