I don’t need to tell you that times are tough and good jobs are scarce. So if you have a job, the goal is to keep it. And if you’re sure you’re going to keep it (rare these days), the goal is to move up. The way to do both is to boost your job performance. Some tips to make you stand out from the herd:
Ease up on the emails. I used to check my emails every 5 minutes. Huge waste of time. I discovered that checking them every 30 to 45 minutes is usually often enough to handle any emergencies and “put out fires.” Checking emails is a big interrupter and time killer. Most emails don’t need an immediate action or response.
Limit multi-tasking. Carrying on a conversation while emailing or typing may seem time-efficient, but it robs each task the attention it deserves. Mistakes invariably creep in. And before you know it, you end up having to repeat one or more tasks.
Be Simpatico with the Boss. When it comes to all matters related to work, try to understand what challenges your boss faces every day and every week. Don’t just keep up with the boss, try to stay one step ahead--with reports, emails, schedules, and end of week/end of month workloads. Even if you can’t stand him or her, don’t let your boss “walk into the propeller” with an erroneous report or presentation to upper management. Do the damage control (even if it’s not your responsibility) and be hero.
Arrive early/stay late. No need to overdo this one. About 15 minutes either way is enough. Any more and co-workers will get suspicious and think you're brown-nosing. I used this time to get organized for the day—before the phone started ringing and people popped their heads into my office to chat about this or that.
Cultivate allies. Don’t work in isolation. Forge some “political friendships” you can count on for “cover.” Things don’t always go as planned. Disasters happen, often through no fault of your own. This is when you’ll need an ally or two to step in or vouch for you.
Prep for Meetings. In my ad agency days, I found that many people were unprepared for meetings. Many times, it was, “I don’t have that information now, but I’ll get that to you.” Or, “These numbers are out of date, I’ll have those numbers as soon as we adjourn.” People would call their assistants during the meeting to get something. Or simply run out of the meeting to get a memo, report or some other bit of information—while the rest of us waited and talked about cars, vacations or the latest movies. Huge time waster. If you’re fully prepared and others aren’t, you’ll stand out.
There you have it. The winning “Six to Succeed.” Got a few more? Add them to the comments section below.