I have worked in many different work settings; retail stores, Amazon warehouse, office space settings, work from home—I have pretty much experienced it all except work from a beach 😂.
The great take aways that I have gathered are all made possible because of the diversity in work settings. I have been able to see which principles and work habits work across all settings, and I thought I would share my experiences and key takeaways.
Here Are 10 Work Habits That Will Help You Improve Your Work:
Identify Your Priority Tasks
Each morning, when I would get to my office, or even my Amazon warehouse floor space, I did a quick inventory check of all the materials that I need in order to complete my job.
This included any pens, notepads, scanners, documents, visuals—anything that was required to do my job. This became a priority because it would give me confidence throughout my day. I knew that anything I needed to complete my tasks, I had with me regardless of work setting.
Before you begin work, any type of work, you need a game plan. You must be clear as day with what the priorities are and the deadlines you are assigning yourself.
All of this should be chosen prior to you beginning any type of work. Once you have a clear and concise game plan laid out, now you can get to work!
Cycle Through Your Inbox And Keep It At Zero
If you are working with any form of email data base within your role, it is important to stay on top of your email inbox. This is something so simple, yet I have been dinged for it in the past, so I now know how important email communication really is.
A great way I found to stay ahead of my inbox was simply getting to work and catching up on all my emails first thing in the morning with a pen and pad.
Any high priority emails would be dealt with first thing in the morning. From there, I would slowly work myself down to zero.
Emails are one of those communication tools that simply add up with time. If you don’t stay on top of them it can get messy.
The discipline of responding and clearing out your inbox can make a big difference in your daily execution.
Review And Prepare Yourself Before Meetings
Taking some time to review and prepare yourself before meetings is a great tip. Working for multiple companies, each one had its own set of rules for consistent weekly meetings.
I have attended some big meetings, and I have also been a part of smaller group meetings. One thing that I have realized, is that most people come into a meeting with little to no preparation.
This devalues the purpose of a meeting when it comes to productivity, and it kills time.
Meetings are great opportunities for people to come together and combine brain power. The group shares new ideas, provide constructive feedback, and learns new tactics.
As a manager, I quickly realized that when teammates get into the same mindset, and buy-into the culture, the results are incomparable.
Take a quick 5-10 minutes before each meeting that you know you are going to be attending ahead time, and go over the information. This can make a significant difference for you and the group.
Some meetings come with a bigger agenda, and for those, you might want to dedicate more time to briefing yourself on the information that you will be discussing.
Complete Your Most Important Metric Of Work First
You can go either two ways when you get to work in the mornings.
You can work on tasks from least to greatest, or you can do the opposite, and work from the biggest task down to the smallest.
Either way it works. I found greater success coming into work and knocking out my greatest tasks first thing in the morning.
For some people, that may look like: making 50 cold calls, writing 10,000 words, completing shipping orders, leading a sales meeting—you get the idea.
The idea is to attack your greatest fear first thing in the morning.
In doing so, you increase momentum, which trickles nicely into the rest of your working day.
Don’t put off the daunting tasks.
Attack those difficult tasks first, and lead by example.
Once the biggest task is out of your way, you will be glad you took this approach. And the greatest benefits are found with a no BS consistency policy.
One Hour Of Focused Work With Zero Interruptions
Ever see one of those egg timers?
You can technically achieve the same benefit using the alarm function on your phone, or watch, but the egg timer is a lot cooler 😎.
Whichever route you take, try using a timer to provide you a clear time frame in which you will work without distractions for one full hour.
Envision yourself in your workspace, and ask yourself how often do you dedicate one full hour to consistent work with zero interruptions.
You may find that you could use this type of tactic and increase your productivity.
One hour of focused work can more often than not, be more beneficial than random sporadic bouts of work scattered roughly throughout your day.
Maintain A Clean And Organized Workspace At All Times
There is nothing like a clean and organized workspace.
I have experienced different settings when it comes to workspaces. Although they have been very different, depending on the job itself, the same principle still applies appropriately.
I have gained experience in organization with both direct-report employees in my management roles, and everyday co-workers.
I found that the employees who prioritized organization within their roles, had far more success and production.
It was always the individuals who never had a clue that prioritizing their organization would deliver them better results at work, that suffered.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t go to work to have my managers watching my every move, all because I can’t control the things that are within my control—no thank you.
If you agree, push yourself to take your organization game to the next level. This always pays off.
Create Monthly Goals
Working for various large organizations, I can say that creating monthly goals for yourself is important. 9 out of 10 times, regardless of what field you are in, your employer is going to set goals for you.
This is something that is always going to be there. It’s like the bare minimum that you can do, so you don’t get fired.
While those monthly goals are great and all, you can do way better if you apply yourself.
You quickly come to find that the goals that the companies are setting for you are a lot easier than the goals that you can set for yourself.
If you truly want to improve the quality of work that you are putting out, then it all starts with your own monthly goals.
Do research on your own goals within your current role. Find out what those metrics look like exactly. If you find that those goals are challenging for you, then start there.
After doing some digging, you may get a clear picture of what needs to be met, and realize that those limits can be pushed a little further.
Learn to push yourself a little more.
Meet With Your Mentor Monthly
I would bet that most people reading this don’t have a mentor.
This is a huge step towards making the quality of your work standout.
Where you work currently, or where you go to school currently, there is someone out there who is outperforming everyone, or has already accomplished what you are looking to accomplish.
Find that person.
Ask that person if you can occupy a small fraction of their time to learn how to better the quality of your work.
In exchange for that time, you can offer to help them.
Finding a mentor is going to speed up your learning process ten-fold. In the end, that is what you want to do.
You want to find ways that can help you get from point A to point B faster.
When I say faster, it is not about rushing the process.
It is about having a deep level of understanding that the process requires time and demands respect, but at the same time, if you can do something that is going to help you achieve your goals within 3 years, instead of 4, then I would say this is beneficial to you.
A mentor does just that.
The efficacy that a mentor provides in your personal life is 100 percent dependent on your dedication and willingness to listen and then execute.
Hold Yourself Accountable At All Times
We live in a world where people believe that things just happen to them.
I choose to believe that everything that happens in my life is 100 percent my fault.
I believe the human potential is so grand that we possess within ourselves the power we need to bring ourselves to each exact point of our lives.
Within that realm of accountability, trickles in the small things in life, that are far beyond your control.
Things that happen because they were meant to happen.
For the most part, who you are today, where you are today, is entirely your fault. This can be a good thing, or not. Depends where you are in life.
The higher you set the bar on the accountability scale, the better the results that stem out of your work.
The more control you begin to have over your life, your decisions, and actions—you realize that we need to hold ourselves accountable for everything we do.
There are small micro habits that we make each and every day that most people are not conscious of.
These same micro habits are the ones that put you in the places that you’ve traveled through.
They simply compound over time.
If there is one thing that can make a huge difference in your work, is to hold yourself accountable at all times.
Don’t leave your future up to chance.
If there is something that is taking place in your life, that you feel you would like to change, change it.
If you are underperforming at work, and are frustrated with your results or pay, understand that where you are currently, is because of the decisions that you have made over time.
Create Tomorrow’s To-Do List Before You Clock Out
I worked for a great company a few years back, and one of the things that they taught all of us managers was to create tomorrow’s to-do list before the shift was over.
At first, this became a burden to a lot of managers (including myself), we just didn’t have that discipline down packed.
This could be difficult, since it is something new we are implementing. So of course, there were days that I would do it for a few days, and then have the occasional days where I would forget.
This is where discipline kicks in.
Self-Discipline, is all about harnessing your own will power to get the things that you may not want to do, completed.
As we previously discussed, when it comes to work, in any work setting, organization is key.
The more organized you are, the more efficient you can perform. This takes stress off of your shoulders and provides you more peace at work.
Making your list the day prior, allows for you to hit the ground running when you get to work the next morning.
You know what to work on, where to start, and that leads to an increase in productivity.
The more you focus on getting better at work, the more valuable you become, and the more valuable you become, the more you get paid. 😉