As an employee, increasing your productivity and work performance puts you at a better position of getting job promotions and pay raises. If you’re an entrepreneur, improving your work performance allows you to grow your business much faster and boost your profits.
Very often, improving work performance is not a matter of learning new skills, but rather, being more efficient in your work. Question is, how exactly do you become more efficient? Below, let’s check out 10 ways that will help you improve your work performance in 2021.
1. Become A Master Of Prioritization
The average worker has several tasks that they need to get done each day – responding to emails, generating reports, attending meetings, handling all sorts of paperwork, and so on.
With so much workload, it can get to a point where things become overwhelming. This can in turn lead to some important tasks not getting done on time.
Here’s the thing however – all tasks are not equally important or urgent. For instance, waiting an hour or two before responding to that email might not do any harm. However, submitting an urgent report late could have dire consequences for the organization.
To ensure that the most important work gets done on time, you need to become a master of prioritization. A good way to do this is to use the Eisenhower Matrix to prioritize tasks.
2. Eliminate Distractions
The average person encounters lots of distractions on a normal workday. A notification going off on your smartphone. A coworker passing by your desk for some chit chat. Checking social media. Noise from outside the window. The list is endless.
On the surface, it doesn’t seem like such small distractions derail your productivity by much. In reality, however, they do. Research has shown that distractions affect productivity in three ways.
First, they waste your time. Second, they reduce your attention, and with it, the quality of your work. Finally, distractions increase your likelihood of making mistakes.
The good thing is that eliminating distractions is not a very difficult thing to do. Some of the things you can do to reduce distractions include:
- Set your smartphone to do-not-disturb mode when working.
- Have specific times for checking and responding to emails, rather than responding to emails the minute they land on your inbox.
- Learn to say no to colleagues who want to stop by for chitchat.
- If you’re working from home, have a dedicated work space where you’re unlikely to be distracted by kids, pets, or even the TV.
3. Eat The Frog First
According to a popular saying that is often attributed to Mark Twain, if your job was to eat a live frog, your best option is to do it first thing in the morning.
If you do this, you can go through the rest of your day with the satisfaction that you’ve already overcome the worst thing you’ll face that day.
So, what does eating live frogs have to do with work performance? The live frog is used colloquially to represent your most difficult task.
When we have a difficult task to work on, most people postpone it till the last possible moment. To convince themselves that they are doing something, they then spend time working on other unnecessary tasks. In effect, this is wasting time, because you’ll eventually need to eat the frog.
Eating the frog first means that you should start your day by handling your most difficult task first thing in the morning, rather than postponing it.
Once you complete your most difficult task of the day first, it gives you motivation and energy to get your other tasks done, because everything else that you need to do that day is a lot easier to do compared to what you’ve just completed. This can have a massive boost on your productivity.
4. Delegate Some Tasks
If you’re an entrepreneur, working on a startup or just a proactive employee, there is a high chance that you’re always trying to do everything by yourself. You believe that you’re the only one who can do what you need to be done perfectly.
Unfortunately, trying to do everything by yourself lowers your productivity. First, you will have too much on your table, which means some tasks will definitely be pushed back.
Second, if whatever you need to do is not something you’re very good at, you’ll have to spend even more time learning how to do it.
To avoid all this, your best bet is to delegate tasks that do not have to be necessarily done by you. This will free up your time and allow you to concentrate on the more important tasks.
5. Keep Your Work Environment Clean And Organized
Is there a correlation between a disorganized work environment and decreased performance? Yes. When you have a cluttered work environment, you’re essentially adding potential distractions to your work environment, which we already saw are not good for productivity.
In addition, things become harder to find when you have a cluttered environment, leading to time wastage as you try to find something you need.
To avoid this, always keep your work environment clean and organized. This applies to your desk, your computer desktop, and your office in general.
6. Always Keep Learning
During one of my first jobs after college, I worked in this organization where part of my work included compiling multiple reports into one master report. Initially, I used to do this manually, and it used to take me about two days to finish compiling the reports. Actually, I had dedicated my Thursdays and Fridays to this one task.
Compiling the reports manually was tiresome, and so I decided to find a better way to do it. After lots of research, I found an Excel formula that allowed me to compile the multiple reports into one within a few minutes.
As you might have guessed, this freed up a lot of time for me, and I was able to get more done in a week – simply because I had taken time to learn something new.
Similarly, if you want to improve your work performance in 2021, you have to keep learning. Find better ways of doing what you do, talk to experts in your industry to learn how they do things, take online courses, and so on. Continuous learning will have a massive impact on your performance.
7. Take Advantage Of Available Tools
One of the things that helped humans set themselves apart from other animals is the ability to use tools to make work easier. Today, tools have gotten a lot more advanced than the rudimentary tools our ancestors used back when humans survived by hunting and gathering.
Today, there are dozens of tools that you can use to make your work more efficient and improve your productivity and performance.
For instance, if you’re an online course creator, rather than building your own website from scratch, you can take advantage of online course platforms to simplify the process and take advantage of the wider reach of the platform.
Similarly, as an entrepreneur or marketer trying to boost your sales through a sales funnel, you can make work easier for yourself and boost performance by using sales funnel software to build your sales funnel, rather than trying to do everything from scratch.
In today’s highly digital world, there are tools that you can use to do just about anything:
- Social Media Marketing Tools
- Task Management Tools
- Email Autoresponder Software
- Hashtag Generator Tools
- Appointment Scheduling Apps
- Twitter Analytics Tools
- Landing Page Builders
- Video Creation Tools
- Productivity Apps
And that’s just a short list of course.
The key here is to look at your daily workload and try to identify key processes and tasks that can be improved using software and tools. You also need to keep yourself aware of the latest tools to ensure that you’re always using tools that deliver maximum efficiency.
8. Stop Multitasking
Have you ever found yourself trying to respond to an email while at the same time talking on the phone and trying to find a document you placed somewhere on your desk drawers?
A lot of people believe that they are good at multitasking, and even believe that multitasking makes them faster and more productive. This is so far from the truth.
Multitasking has several bad effects on you and your productivity. Multitasking leads to cognitive overload and lowers productivity by up to 40%. It also lowers your IQ score and the quality of your work and makes you more prone to making errors and mistakes.
Therefore, if you want to improve your performance, you need to stop multitasking at all costs. Instead of trying to get multiple tasks done simultaneously, prioritize your tasks, and work on them one by one, in order of priority.
9. Create A Good Work-Life Balance
Even though we are talking about work-life balance, this does not mean that you need to be working all the time. Actually, poor work-life balance can hinder your performance at work.
Poor work-life balance can easily lead to things like workplace disengagement, stress, and burnout, all of which take a toll on your performance at work. Therefore, if you want to get more productive at work, make sure that there’s more to your life than work.
Always make sure you get enough rest, eat fruits like bananas for energy, find time to work on your hobbies, avoid carrying work home, and spend time with your loved ones. Doing this will make you happier and improve your motivation, which will translate to improved performance at work.
10. Finish Every Task You Start
How many times have you started working on something, only to leave it midway and start working on another new task or project? I believe we’re all culprits here.
When you leave tasks unfinished and start working on new ones, this will eventually lead to delays, which are bad for performance.
To avoid this, get in the habit of finishing every task you start before moving to the next one.
If you want to take your career a notch higher in 2021, either by getting a job raise or getting that coveted promotion, or if you want to grow your business, you need to start thinking of ways through which you are going to improve your work performance.
In this article, we have shared with you 10 ways that will help you improve your work performance in 2021. Give them a try and watch as your productivity and performance skyrockets.