Success is multidimensional. Although it’s impossible to embrace all its fringes, let’s start with factors contributing to professional success. Apart from luck (which one can’t ignore), there are strategies people use to achieve impressive results in various fields. It’s quite remarkable that they all focus on the person doing the work, not the work itself.
Listed here are five rules that are easy to get started with and yield great results right away:
Structure Your Time
The standard work week (as of now) lasts for forty hours. So far, it looks like the norm for most industries and people working in them: average employees, managers, CEOs alike. How these forty hours are spent defines success, regardless of the profession you are in. Having a calendar with scheduled meetings and a running list of tasks is a default that yields average results, as the default option is expected to. And it won’t produce better results more unless the system is changed and improved. Although we are living under the treacherous VUCA conditions (the abbreviation stands for “volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous” and serves as a comprehensive notion for the rapidly evolving world), this fact doesn’t obviate the need to build strategies and allocate time to follow them.
There are books written on this factor contributing to professional success, and this article doesn’t aim to be a time management guide. But there are a few strategies everyone can use that boost performance.
- Learn to estimate the time work will take. As humans, we tend to usually underestimate the timeframe, confusing the average case with the perfect one. Get yourself a notebook and write down how long certain tasks take, then take an average. This time will be a much better measure of your performance than intuition.
- Create a system for your planning. Create an inbox for new tasks, and spend five minutes every morning sorting them out before making a to-do list. This saves time and ensures all the tasks are taken care of and none are lost in the clutter.
- Know yourself. Track the amount of time you can work efficiently without breaks. Find out when your golden hour is, i.e. the time of the day you are the most productive at. Experiment with caffeine and sugar consumption, as they often have drastic effects on productivity.
Take Responsibility and Keep Learning
One of the most common advice out there is to be confident. But this confidence has to be based on something to be productive – the two necessary components being professionalism and responsibility. And the latter doesn’t depend on the field. In some sense, taking responsibility for the work you do is like making a bet. For instance, “I am good enough at this to risk consequences of the possible failure”, is a good mindset for this.
On the other hand, professionalism doesn’t appear out of the blue. It comes by making a habit of constant studying. Cultivating a culture of continuous learning keeps your mindset more flexible and ready for new challenges. Moreover, it increases your value as a specialist. However, applying the system of learning at the workplace requires profound employer support. Companies able to align their goals with employees’ aspirations make them more loyal to the business and responsible for their professional success. So, if you bring up these traits, i.e. passion for learning and the sense of responsibility, they will substantially increase your chances to succeed in any chosen field.
Communicate, Connect, Collaborate
The time of lonely genii is long gone. All the remarkable people in the last century had a large, efficient team working for them. There’s not just one way around communication, and access to information and its extent are no longer limiting factors. And the ability to network with people effectively and effortlessly are the most crucial factors contributing to professional success. Moreover, as organisations move towards adopting hybrid working models and where teams are dispersed globally, building this skill should become something you need to focus on. We live in an unprecedented time when specialists with completely different backgrounds can easily interact, exchange ideas, and collaborate. With the right skillset, this can result in great achievements.
No one says it will be easy. However, practice makes perfect: talk to people, make connections, find what works and what does not. Do not worry about embarrassing yourself – it is part of the learning process.
And while you’re practicing, study the subject. Many books teach public speaking, explain body language and the art of rhetoric in general. Also, consider hiring a coach – it often saves a lot of time on research on your journey to yield great results.
Many people work hard every day pursuing their goals and dreams, and this is very noble. But the work does not have the same value: tedious tasks typically take up large chunks of our schedule, yielding little results. Recognising these tasks and actively seeking ways to reduce the time they take can speed up your work dramatically.
If you work on a computer, learn how to automate sequences of tasks with a programming language or automation software. Read about common shortcuts to save some time, make a cheat sheet. Look for templates and ideas people post, as there may be a solution for your problem on Stack Overflow or a similar website. For manual work, build the workflow consciously to speed up the process. Organise the workplace, make sure items used more often are the closest to you, and so on.
It may sound clichéd, but among the factors contributing to professional success the most, personal growth plays a distinctive role. We tend to always gravitate towards people with engaging personalities at work and in life. So it is in your best interest to keep learning and growing from them. Optimise the workplace, look for potential shortcuts and bottlenecks in the workflow. Talk to your engaging colleagues to learn about their work.
Read a few books on productivity and planning. Then learn about the industry you work in and the related fields, as having regularly updated background knowledge can give you an upper hand. Make sure you’re improving alongside your work.
These are the five rules crucial for achieving success in your career. Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to nail the tasks at your current workplace, they will do you good. Consistency is the name of the game. And while any one of these rules will improve your performance, even in the short-term, applying at least one of them daily for at least year has the chance of transforming your life. Moreover, factors contributing to professional success can be useful to your life’s success too.
Author: Alexander Chalov – Technology Enthusiast and Scientist, and Writer at Jooble.