Quality Magazine

Jim's Gems: How to be Effective at Work

April 9, 2012


Although many of us like to think of ourselves as being very effective while at work, the truth is that we could be more effective than we actually are. Being truly effective at work can pay off now and throughout our careers. Effective workers tend to get exciting projects and, when delivering results, get greater rewards, such as more recognition, money and promotions.

It’s not realistic to think that we can be at peak form 100% of the time, but we can still improve our on-the-job effectiveness.

If you don't feel very effective or productive while you're at work, it can lead to a downward spiral. When you don't feel effective, it can lower your feelings of self-worth. This, in turn, leads to even less effective performance, and down you go.

A downward spiral is the last thing you need. Chances are you can work far more effectively than you are and move yourself into an upward trend, instead. How? Start by taking control of your time. One of the most critical steps in becoming fully effective is to know your purpose at work. Use that knowledge to identify priorities.

If you don’t set priorities, you’ll be forever buried under a mountain of work, unable to tell the difference between what’s important and what isn’t. Setting priorities will help you manage your time as best as possible. Keep a log for a week or two, track every minute of your workday, then analyze it and develop strategies for eliminating time wasters.

Effective workers have good attitudes. Those with good attitudes take initiative. They help their team members succeed. They tend to “pick up the slack” when one of their team mates is not available. A good attitude will earn you respect and your work will be noticed by the team and your management. Surprisingly, a truly good attitude is hard to find in many organizations and could open many doors in the future.

It's also important that you stay up-to-date with the technical innovations in your industry by reading and taking classes, if necessary. If you feel out-of-date and out-of-touch, your self-image and performance will suffer. Finally, if you don't have a network of people who stimulate and support you, it's not too late to start cultivating one. Make a point of developing cordial relationships with people who can serve as mentors or who are working on challenging, leading-edge projects. You'll be inspired and surprised by how quickly you'll be energized just being around them.

Effective workers are typically the most respected and the most productive. Yes, they tend to get more challenging assignments because they become the go-to people for them. However, generally, they are the people who get the greater pay increases and the first to be considered for promotions. If this route appeals to you, what are you waiting for? Start working more effectively today.