With looming deadlines, daunting quotas, and pressure to get the next promotion, many of you may have been furiously googling for the one clever trick that will transform you overnight into the high performer you have always wanted to be. Regardless of what your search results may tell you, there is no obvious lifehack hiding in plain sight that will instantly take you to unprecedented heights of productivity. What I can offer, however, are six not-so-obvious ways to improve your performance at work—little changes you may not have thought of but, together, could help you work smarter, faster, and more happily.
Challenge the Status Quo
Here’s a particularly frustrating aspect of office life. You work your way through a process that seems outdated and unnecessarily complex—perhaps trying to use PowerPoint for page layout when you really should be working in InDesign or simply filling out a series of redundant forms. Exasperated, you ask, “Why do we do it this way?” only for a manager to tell you, “That’s how we’ve always done it.”
What do you do when best practices aren’t really the best? Don’t accept processes and procedures if you know there’s a better way. Demonstrate the benefits of overhauling outmoded systems, and you can improve your own efficiency and the efficiency of everyone you work with.
Clean Your Desk
Whether at home or in the office, we tend to adorn our desks in little personal touches—family photos, Funko Pop!s, motivational mugs, and whatever else it takes to get through each workday. The impulse to personalise a workspace is a sensible one. However, truly making a desk your own can end up being your own worst enemy.
There’s a fine line between a well-appointed workstation and a cluttered one, and too many knick-knacks and office supplies can put you on the wrong side of it. Clutter negatively affects your concentration. If it’s the difference between staying on task and falling behind, you and your army of bobbleheads may have to part for now.
Make More Friends at Work
“It’s what you make of it,” they told you about going to college. Workplace culture, too, is largely what you make of it—you can concentrate on meeting expectations and nothing else, or you can buy in and truly embrace the social aspects of a collaborative atmosphere. However, the latter doesn’t come at the expense of the former. In fact, a recent Gallup survey found that people with strong friendships at work were more engaged in their tasks than those without such bonds. Get to know your coworkers and enjoy their company. You’ll have more fun and get better results.
Commit to Having More Fun
This commitment gets easier once you make friends at work. When you approach the workday with a positive mindset, you’ll enjoy higher levels of well-being and better mental health. Along with more productive office hours, you’ll also improve your coworkers’ well-being.
Drink More Water
Coffee and the office go hand in hand. Relying on coffee as your fluid of choice, however, can leave you stimulated to a fault and a bit dehydrated, too. Allow yourself that morning pick-me-up but commit to good old H2O throughout the day instead. Staying hydrated throughout the day could help you stay at peak performance—even if that just means writing your best emails.
Don’t Forget To Smile
The last of our six not-so-obvious ways to improve your performance at work is to break out that smile. Now I know nothing ensures a long-lasting glower quite like being told to smile. However, if you can find it in yourself to keep a smile on your face, those good feelings could manifest in your work. Smiling releases dopamine, endorphins and serotonin which help reduce stress. While stress can inspire you to rise to the occasion at work, too much stress can make you shut down. By keeping yourself in high spirits, you’ll keep that stress within acceptable parameters—and that’s something that will bring a smile to your face after the workday ends.