No matter who you are and what your work happens to be, there’s always room for improvement.
And while your company wants their employees to improve, management often lacks the resources to provide specific guidelines for how each of their employees can improve their work performance.
If you’re an independent contractor or freelancer, making a concentrated effort to improve yourself and your work is just that much more important.
Either way, actually going about making yourself and your work better can seem like a daunting task. And in fact, it can be difficult to even know where to start the process.
There are dozens of different skills to improve job performance. We’ve collected several different steps that you can take right away to up your game and show initiative in the workplace.
Before focusing on the small details of your work and how you approach it, it’s key to prepare yourself for a successful workflow routine.
This starts with making sure that your physical and digital workspaces are well organized. If they are, it will make it easier to take care of tasks with efficiency and access your materials at the drop of a hat.
Your desk and surrounding workspace in the office or at home should be clean and organized while also keeping necessary materials close by and easily accessible.
Keeping your computer files and email inbox neat and tidy is just as important as keeping physical files in order.
Communicate With Your Boss
Another great initial step for improving your job performance is to speak with your boss and tell him or her that you want to make an effort to improve.
Not only will your boss most likely have some great suggestions for how you can get better in your day-to-day, but discussing this with them will also show them that you have plans to grow along with the company.
Making this clear may just push you toward the top of the list for a promotion.
The internet is a great resource when it comes to finding ways to improve your specific type of work.
Whether you’re a data entry specialist or a graphic designer, there are great forums and websites online where professionals in your field trade tips and expertise.
You may also come across some local in-person meetups for professionals in your area of interest.
Also, consider speaking with friends who are involved in similar fields. They may have lots of ideas for how you can make yourself an essential employee in your company.
Consider Taking a Class
If online resources aren’t enough to get you where you want to go, take a look at some local adult education classes.
Classes may require a bit of a financial investment, but the skills and methods you learn there can ultimately be invaluable.
You can even invite some of your coworkers along to take a class with you. You’ll get to know them a little better while learning important lessons at the same time.
Set Milestones For Yourself
Making specific goals for your professional career is an easy, low-cost way to plan ahead for the future and get a better sense of which expectations are realistic and which will take a little more time.
The way you visualize those goals in completely up to you. Some people work best when they make simple lists for themselves, often ones that they can hang up in their workplace or at home, where they will be reminded often of what they want to accomplish.
Others benefit more from a vision board that shows simple visuals that represent things they want to do in the future and how they can get there.
Setting a schedule for yourself also gives you a tangible method of accountability. Repeatedly failing to meet certain goals can signal to yourself that you need to work harder toward meeting them or readjust your timeline to be more realistic.
Ask For Honest Feedback
If you already have friends in the office, it’s a good idea to ask them for honest feedback on your recent job performance.
Your coworkers see how you work every day, and they’re often the best judges of how you’ve been completing (or not completing) projects lately.
And since you see them in the office every day, you can ask again and again over time to see whether you’ve really improved.
Set Aside Time for Brainstorming
While working hard and committing to completing tasks is an essential skill for improving job performance, it’s also important to give yourself time to brainstorm new ideas.
Whether you take time during your lunch break or just on the weekend while at home, relaxing and free-associating to come up with new ideas for ways to improve your work is a great way to gain perspective.
Let yourself think about your personal performance as well as the company’s work as a whole and the ways in which simple tasks could be done better.
That way, the next time there’s a big meeting in the office and your boss asks for ideas from the staff, you’ll have a few ready to go and you’ll be seen as an idea person, not just someone who coasts through each workday.
It’s definitely hard work to become skilled in your field. And one common attribute of some of the most successful individuals of all time is that they never settled for mediocre quality. They continued to work toward elevated goals.
And once you establish yourself as one of these individuals, who are never satisfied with work that is just OK, you’re more likely to be recognized for initiative and drive by those around you, both at work and at home.
Always keep learning, whether by listening to TED talks or other helpful online videos or speaking with people in your life who have found success in their careers, no matter their field.
Additionally, you’ll feel better about yourself if you start making lofty goals that you’ve set for yourself.