There are many tips on how to be a better leader, but we often forget that it is also important for employees to focus on growth. When you think about it, everyone is an employee, even leaders. Deep down, being a great employee means being a team player. Leaders are also part of the team, so these tips are applicable regardless of their title or position.
There are distractions everywhere. They can be small as phone notifications and emails, or large as new projects and last-minute meetings. Sometimes it’s just a talkative co-worker. Begin by determining what distractions are the biggest offenders to break your focus. That can be as simple as having a notebook on hand and making a check mark each time you lose your focus. Once you’ve done that for a few days, start by writing exactly what derailed you. You will begin to see a pattern emerge, and once you are aware of it, you can change your habits.
Learn how to prioritize.
Like distractions, your workload itself can be a reason to lose focus. We often face a mountain of work that must be done, and everything is important. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by that and feel like you’re drowning. The trick to conquer your workload is to learn to prioritize. You can do this by taking stock of all the work you need to do and all you need is a spreadsheet or you can go to the old school with a paper and a pen. Sort projects by deadline, then order them. You can sort them by difficulty, the time it will take, or anything else that helps you get things under control. While it can be a daunting task at first, if it becomes a daily or weekly habit, it will simply become routine. You will learn to focus on what is most important and, in turn, make sure that you do not drop the ball at any priority.
Respect goes a long way in the workplace. You need to respect yourself and respect others. If you do not respect yourself, you will project that lack of respect towards others. The best way to practice respect is to be tolerant of others. It is easy to take a trial and not think twice, but it is certainly not productive, nor is it a happy workplace. The conflict can start with a single instant judgment and causes unnecessary tension in a team. Respect that people will have different opinions and make it a practice to start a discussion instead of an argument.
The best way to be a great employee is to be interested in your personal development. When you start a job for the first time or get a promotion, you are hungry to learn as much as possible. As you stay in a position for longer, you feel comfortable with the consistency of the day to day, and that drive and desire to learn tend to fade. Learning will not only help you advance your career, but it will also make your days more interesting. Learning will help you stay up-to-date on changing work trends and technological advances.
Spend a little less time glued to your screen.
It’s probably better if we do not count the hours we spend looking at a screen every day. At work, our main method of communication tends to be virtual, either through email or an application like Slack. When was the last time you approached a co-worker to ask them a question? It’s usually easier to send them by email, so you can continue to multitask or interrupt your workflow with the distraction of talking. However, we get many benefits from talking to someone face to face. It can reduce the amount of time we spend making decisions and encourages collaboration. Also, talking to someone can reduce stress by giving you a short break to focus too much on your work.
It is easy to simply show up at work and follow the movements every day. It is easy to do the minimum, but ultimately that is not satisfactory. Commit to fully investing in your work. You will feel more connected to your work and, in turn, you will be more productive and successful. It is a challenge to be 100% committed, but it is worth the effort. All the above tips combined with commitment will make you the best employee possible.