For many of us, working from home has become the new norm. As the way we work continues to evolve, so does the way we manage our new way of working — and the new challenges that come along with it.
Workers today are experiencing an increase in distractions and interruptions with a decrease in uninterrupted focus time, leaving many working overtime with little to show for it. Here are some stats on how the pandemic affected workers’ productivity, performance, and collaboration:
- 28.3% experienced difficulty concentrating
- 5% spent more time in meetings
- 24% spent more time in 1:1 meetings with their manager
- 11% saw an increase in fragmented time or blocks of time shorter than two hours
- 20% reported taking longer to complete tasks
- 12.4% completely put off challenging work
While it may seem difficult to constantly assess yourself during this period of transformation, don’t avoid improving your work performance until your annual performance evaluation or, even worse, until your boss brings it up.
Focusing on continuously improving your skills and pushing yourself to learn new things is a great way to boost your confidence and help you become the best version of yourself — both at work and at home.
If you’ve found that you’re struggling with productivity or having issues managing your time, here are 10 tips that’ll help improve your work performance and empower professional development.
10 tips to improve your work performance
1. Set milestones.
We have a natural tendency of shooting for the stars and establishing challenging goals.
It’s okay to be bold when setting goals to improve work performance. The problem is that big projects can become overwhelming. Setting milestones can help you achieve those moonshot goals whether personal, professional, or both.
By breaking those big personal and professional projects into smaller goals, you’ll stay motivated with each victory you achieve.
Setting individual success metrics to analyze your goal is also very helpful to keep morale and energy levels up. Keep track of your progress, allow yourself to enjoy your success (as small as it may be) and share it with your team.
2. Plan, organize, and prioritize.
Planning your daily schedule plus organizing and prioritizing tasks or goals is essential to improving your work performance.
When making your to-do list, be reasonable and achievable. It’s much better to establish realistic goals and overachieve than the opposite. Making a detailed plan in advance is also very useful for identifying which tasks you can postpone for more urgent, valuable tasks, and which ones you can pass off without affecting the result.
After planning, organize your work by breaking down big projects into smaller tasks, and establish a due date and priority status for each one. Then, prioritize your work by combining the most urgent and essential tasks, then take into consideration how much time it’ll take to finish each one.
Didn’t have time to get to a task? Use these tips to set your schedule for the next day. Here are two articles on how to prioritize tasks and learning how to estimate the time needed to complete tasks more efficiently.
Golden tip: In order to be able to prioritize tasks and manage your to-do list effectively, it’s important to learn how to delegate and say “no” to tasks that may jeopardize your progress.
3. Stay focused and avoid distractions.
The most productive professionals in the world have named distractions as productivity’s number one enemy.
Never lose sight of your goals. Every time you feel tempted to check out your Facebook feed or watch your favorite YouTube channels, remember what’s at stake.
Focus on taking one step at a time and completing the previous task before starting a new one. Check out this article for a deep dive on how to avoid distractions at work.
4. Learn to manage interruptions.
Do you know how many times you’re interrupted in a day? According to various studies, it’s estimated that workers are interrupted every 6 to 12 minutes.
Interruptions come in many forms and learning how to avoid them is vital for improving work performance.
Whether it’s a Slack chat or your family knocking at your home office door, constant interruptions can cause you to lose focus and waste time you’ve previously allocated to a task, increasing the risk of running late on a deadline.
5. Avoid multitasking.
Most people claim they’re experts at multitasking, but the only thing multitasking actually does is compromise the quality of work.
Even though it feels like multitasking allows you to accomplish more, it actually does quite the opposite. Whenever you start working at more than one thing at a time, take a step back and determine which task is more important and focus entirely on it. Working on one task at a time makes you faster, less stressed, and less prone to making mistakes.
6. Don’t leave things half done.
This is very likely a consequence of trying to multitask (and another thing I’m guilty of).
Try to remember how many projects you’ve started only to abandon them shortly after: New Year’s resolutions, diets, a new sport or hobby. They’re all great for a while, and then they start to slip straight back to your to-do list. Don’t let that happen.
Once you start a task, try to see it all the way through. Keep yourself motivated by recording every project you’ve completed and reward yourself for each one.
7. Read something new every day.
Change is happening all the time, all around us. Reading is the best way to learn about new tools, trends, and technologies affecting your company or industry, and a great way to keep up with the competition.
Golden tip: Try to read at least one relevant article regarding your industry every day. (Count on our blog to help you!)
8. Communicate effectively.
Whether you’re a manager or not, make it your ultimate goal to establish a consistent communication channel among your team members.
Effective communication at work can take the following forms:
- Evaluating your work performance on a frequent basis to keep your goals and responsibilities in mind every time you have to make a decision.
- Creating a solution by talking with your colleagues, and actively listening to what they have to say.
- Making sure everyone knows their opinion matters when brainstorming new and improved ways to achieve better results.
Golden tip: Communication is a two-way street. Whenever you’re feeling uncertain or unclear about anything, ask someone.
9. Recognize your weak points.
There’s no way for a person to be good at everything. We all have strengths and weaknesses. The great thing about acknowledging your weak points is that you’re able to identify opportunities to improve.
Even though you can always find things to improve, focus on identifying the things decreasing your work performance and continuously work on improving them. Don’t settle for “quite alright” when you can achieve “awesome.” Read, learn, listen. Do whatever you can to be the best version of yourself every day.
10. Take a break when you need one.
Admitting you need a break is not a weakness, it just means you’re aware of your limitations and you’re wise enough to admit it.
Stress and burnout levels are increasing at alarming rates. It won’t do anyone any good to keep pushing yourself after you’ve reached your limit. Your productivity will suffer, and you’ll get even more stressed for underperforming, and so on. This is a vicious cycle you don’t want to get trapped into.
Rest time is just as important to your professional development as any other aspect. Turn off your computer, go away for a weekend, change your scenery, and always remember to keep a healthy work-life balance.
Use Pipefy to improve your work performance
Sustainable continuous improvements are part of a slow evolutionary process. It feeds off consistent progress.
Using a tool to manage your daily work already puts you one step ahead of the competition. Business process management (BPM) platforms, like Pipefy, can offer you smart and logical techniques to prioritize and boost productivity for finance, HR, customer success, marketing and sales, dev, and IT teams.
Find out how BPM can keep your commitment to continuous work performance improvement flowing seamlessly, and why Pipefy’s modern and intuitive low-code/no-code platform is the right choice for you.