12 Ways to Improve Work Performance and Grow Professionally

Written by on October 28, 2022

Do you want to be more successful at work? If so, you’re not alone. A lot of people are looking for ways to improve their work performance and grow professionally. Luckily, there are a lot of things you can do to make this happen.

Let’s look at Jane who is already successful by most standards. She was leading a department at a prestigious law firm, responsible for a large proportion of the firm’s revenue, and was well known in her industry.

The problem was that despite all this, Jane still felt overwhelmed and inadequate. She constantly felt like she wasn’t doing a good enough job and she was always stressed about juggling her different projects.

Jane thought that she could do better even though her colleagues were already impressed with her performance. But the thing about Jane is that she is finding ways to improve work performance.

12 Ways to Improve Your Work Performance
Jane wanted to keep accelerating her progress, so she followed these steps. She consistently invested time over many months in her own personal development using the methods regularly used and taught by coaches.

After just a few short months of focused effort, Jane’s performance at work skyrocketed even higher and she was promoted to lead all her law firm’s sales and revenue efforts. Jane didn’t stop when she reached a stage in her career that other people thought was successful.

She kept pushing for her own satisfaction and improvement. When you ask people about their motivations, the most common reason people seek out a big change in their career is for self-improvement. [1]

No matter who you are and how far you’ve come, if you feel like you could do better and grow professionally then there are always some proven ways to improve your work performance. By trying some of these steps, you too can supercharge your performance.

Setting and Monitoring Your Goals
The first step is to set and monitor your goals. You have to begin at the basics whether you are already successful or not. Setting and monitoring your goals makes them more achievable and specific.

  1. Set Specific Goals
    Set goals for yourself that you can track and measure. Having specific, measurable goals will help you stay on track and motivated as you work. The goals should be personal to you, not just “business goals.”

For example, if you work in a commercial role, don’t think about “winning more business” as a goal. Instead, consider improving your negotiation skills as a more tangible goal that helps you perform better.

Or if you work in an operational role, perhaps consider a goal like improving your ability to influence leaders. That could be used in multiple ways and across your entire career.

  1. Get Feedback
    There are always things to improve on at work. Once you have a list of potential goals, it helps to discuss them with other people to get feedback on them. Talk to your boss, your colleagues, your friends, or even a professional coach. Ask for their opinions on what you’re looking for and what could help you move up in your career.

This will help to validate or invalidate your ideas and give you some different perspectives to consider. It’s also a good way to start building a network of supportive people around you that want to see you succeed.

  1. Track Your Progress
    You need to hold yourself to account. Writing down or tracking your goals in some way is an essential part of this. It could be as simple as keeping a journal or using a spreadsheet.

But the key is to make sure you review your progress regularly, ideally once a week. This will help you stay focused and motivated to keep going.

  1. Take Time to Reflect
    When you’re in the middle of a busy day, week, or month, it’s easy to keep riding the rollercoaster. You need to pause and reflect on what’s going on around you.

How are you feeling?
What’s going well?
Where could you improve?
Reflection is a key part of any learning process and it will help you gain insights into your behavior and how you interact with the world around you. It will also help you to identify any areas that need more attention.

You should also regularly review your goals. Are they still the right ones for you right now? Should you be changing something up? How long do you wait to make a judgment on your improvement or success?

Planning and Using Your Time
Once you set your goals and have a good monitoring system, it’s time to plan how to use your time wisely.

  1. Prioritizing Your Work
    If you want to learn how to excel at work, you have to know how to work properly. Many people struggle with feeling overwhelmed by work. Your to-do list seems to be never-ending and you’re constantly playing catch up. The first step is to understand what’s really important.

You need to be able to prioritize your work so that you focus on the things that will have the biggest impact. This means learning how to say “no” to the things that aren’t as important. It also means being realistic about what you can achieve in a day, week, or month.

Remember that you can’t do everything and that’s ok. Just focus on the most important things and make sure you get them done.

  1. Make Time for Deep Work
    Many roles require a lot of focus to work through complex situations, details, and decisions. This is often referred to as “deep work“.

In our constantly connected world, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find time to focus on something. But if you want to improve your work performance, then you need to make time for deep work.

This means setting aside specific blocks of time where you can completely focus on a task without distractions. Turn off your email, put your phone on mute and close the door to your office if you need to.

You should audit how you’re spending your time at work. Try to assess what small items could be considered shallow work that you could cut to make room for more time spent on deep work. [2]

The goal is to be able to work uninterrupted for some time so that you can focus on the task at hand. This will help you get more done in less time and improve the quality of your work.

  1. Use Routines
    People use routines in different ways. Many people don’t follow clear routines and many people like to have well-defined structured routines to make their lives easier. Wherever you sit on the spectrum, the reality is even a small simple routine can help make your day much easier and help you focus on more important tasks. Routines don’t have to be work-related.

For example, 92% of people with a morning routine feel highly productive. Starting your day with a set morning routine can help you ease into the day and get yourself organized for what’s ahead. This could involve things like making your bed, having a healthy breakfast, reading the news, or meditating. [3]

Creating a simple evening routine can also be helpful in winding down at the end of the day and preparing for the next one. This might involve things like taking a relaxing bath, reading a book, or writing in a journal.

Routines at work, if you’re that way inclined, can certainly help streamline your workload. Having some sort of routine, even if it’s small, can help reduce decision fatigue and make it easier to focus on what’s important. Routines also help your colleagues better predict how to work with you productively.

  1. Eliminate Distractions
    If you want to be more productive, then you need to eliminate distractions. This doesn’t mean that you need to work in complete isolation all the time. But it does mean being aware of the things that distract you and finding ways to minimize or eliminate them.

For some people, this might mean working in a quiet space away from colleagues. For others, it might mean putting their phone on silent and out of sight. It could also mean using a Pomodoro timer to break up their work into more manageable chunks.

The goal is to find what works for you and then do whatever you can to minimize distractions so that you can focus on your work.

Create Work-Life Balance
After all these, you still have to live a balanced life. That’s why creating a work-life balance is important to keep yourself from burning out. Not that it keeps you energized, but it also improves the quality of your work.

  1. Take Daily Breaks
    It’s important to take breaks throughout the day to help you refocus and recharge. This doesn’t mean that you need to take a long break every couple of hours. Taking a few minutes here and there to step away from your work should be enough.

This could involve things like going for a walk, stretching, meditating, or just taking a few deep breaths. The goal is to take a break so that you can come back to your work refreshed and ready to focus.

  1. Exercise Regularly
    Exercising regularly can help improve your energy levels, mood, and focus. This doesn’t mean that you need to become a gym rat. But it does mean finding ways to incorporate some form of exercise into your daily routine.

This could involve things like going for a walk during your lunch break, going for a run in the morning, or taking a yoga class after work. The important thing is to find an exercise that you enjoy and that fits into your schedule.

Regular exercise will help improve your work performance by making it easier for you to focus and be productive during the day.

  1. Get Enough Sleep
    Sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being. It’s also essential for our work performance. Sleep deprivation can cause impaired attention, memory, and decision-making. [4]

The goal is to get enough sleep so that you can function at your best during the day. This means finding ways to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. This might involve things like going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, avoiding caffeine in the evening, and creating a relaxing bedtime routine.

Making sleep a priority will help improve your work performance and make it easier for you to focus during the day. This doesn’t only improve your sleep cycle but also helps you excel in work.

  1. Take Your Vacation
    It’s important to take some time off from work to relax and recharge. This doesn’t mean that you need to take a long vacation every year. You can take the weekend regularly or book that flight during a long weekend.

This might involve things like taking a long weekend, going on a day trip, or even just taking a few hours to yourself during the week. Taking some time off from work will help improve your work performance by making it easier for you to focus when you are at work.

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