You have a wonderful position with a great company, but are already thinking about the next position you will hold. What? You are not?! Well, according to Richard Templar and his 2005 book The Rules of Work: The Unspoken Truth About Getting Ahead in Business (Pearson publishing), you should be! In his book, Richard examines his successful climb to the top of his career path. He provides a set of work rules to live by, in hopes to help you succeed towards your dream position. For example, according to Richard, you should always find a good thing to say about co-workers and never speak negatively. Richard provides you his guidance in avoiding business pitfalls, and feels you should be acting and dressing for the next position you wish to hold with the company. Now, you are thinking, “I already knew these rules!” Well bare with Richard, I mean “me,” as I examine the book and the rules provided. I will point out that Richard’s rules have validity, but we can’t all be managers at our companies, there are not enough management positions for all of us! In Richard’s book, rule number 30 is to “Look for Opportunities”, but Richard’s opportunities are about finding a moment with Senior Management and providing insight about the company. Yes, I agree, if you get a moment with the Senior Managers, you should take the opportunity to share your business story. However, within every department or business unit, there are concrete opportunities to help the business. This is a great way to have upper management take notice of your efforts. The first step is to know what an opportunity looks like. Last month, my company laid off employees in an adjacent department. One of the people laid off was a report writer, like me. When his position became vacant, the work he was completing no longer was being worked upon. Realizing the bind the department was placed in with the layoff, I informed the Director of that department, that I would be willing to help with reporting needs. Unfortunately, the work was not available for me to complete, however, the Director thanked me for my offer. The good thing is that Director will remember me for volunteering to help. It may lead to future work opportunities or even better, she may need to hire that position and my name may be remembered for the position! Not to say that this would always work in your favor, but to realize that the department may need a help to get through a tough time, is the opportunity you should be looking for. A word of caution, make sure you are not going to step upon another person’s skill-set! When you put your volunteer notification out there, be sure to avoid conflicts from both your immediate manager and team members. Always act in a positive light towards the goal of helping others. An opportunity may look like this: a way to improve a process or write about a procedure to complete the process better. When you do move on, the next associate will have your technical documentation for review. Once you see an opportunity, pounce upon it and do a great job, but don’t allow your assigned work to deteriorate in quality or delivery times! A second way to stand out is to build a cheer team. I want you to realize who you are interacting with on the job. When you are assigned a project with another department, don’t assume that the members of this project are only working on that deadline. They may be working on that project, but have other very important work to be accomplished sooner. I am on a testing team for a product. Our deadline is Friday! However, when speaking with the Team Test Lead, she indicated that another project is of higher priority. I simply informed her that I am ready when she is and if she should need a hand, I will provide the assistance to keep our testing moving forward. This conversation accomplishes two work goals with the Test Lead, 1. It provides the lead a chance to work on her higher prioritized project without worrying about the upcoming deadline on the less prioritized project. Secondly, now the Test Lead remembers that I can be flexible in assisting her to meet both goals. She will remember that Mark was a very patient and helpful asset to the project team. She will want to work with me again. Having cheerleaders in your organization is the way people will remember you when it is time for your promotion or next position! Building your cheer team will increase your exposure to the hiring managers! I do recommend this book. The guidance, Richard provides, help you develop a plan to reach your future position. Mark Dubay is a a seasoned Business Analyst/T-SQL Report Writer for a large communications company, in San Antonio, Texas. In his own words, "I have a fantastic wife, of nearly 10 years, and two wonderful kids. I have a well-rounded life balancing family, play, and work!" Mark can be reached on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/mdubay and Twitter http://twitter.com/mdubay.
Want to be more productive but not sure how? Whether you are working or job seeking or both, using the following tips will help you bridge the gap between where you are right now and where you want to be in the future.
1. Time Management
Choose the best part of your day and use it wisely. Time management is a catch-all phrase for planning but without it very little gets done. I believe we must create our life and that goes with how and what we spend our time on.
For example, when I'm writing, I choose morning because that's when I feel most creative and can seem to channel my thoughts onto paper. When I was job searching, I would only accept an interview in the morning because I wanted to show up at my personal best and my energy is lower in the afternoon.
Not only will you look and feel better, but you'll also have a sense of accomplishment, which will create momentum in other areas. There are so many benefits to exercise and I'm a huge fan. Knowing yourself will help you engage in the right activity at the right time of day.
For example, I work out in the middle of the day because that's when I need a lift. I go to the gym because instructor-led group exercise is more motivating to me. Consider hiring a personal trainer or trying one of these activities: cardio, weight training, running, playing sports, yoga, Pilates, walking.
There are no excuses for not exercising. It is the single most important thing you can do for your health. It will also propel you forward in your work life and job search activities because you will feel good about yourself.
3. Being Reactive
Living in a non-stop world these days can wreak havoc on your health, relationships, and productivity. If you are someone who does whatever comes up and jumps from activity to activity, then chances are you aren't being very productive.
Multitasking is necessary at times, but I wonder if people actually accomplish more or less. I have seen incredibly people pull off multitasking and I'm in awe of their talent. Sadly, I'm not one of them. I'm someone who takes charge by starting and completing tasks before moving on to the next thing. Knowing which one of these people you are can work to your advantage and increase your productivity.
4. Priority List
It's a game changer. Either you run the day or the day runs you. Writing out a priority list on things that are most important to you right now will help you to stay focused on what you want and off of what you don't want. You've developed the criteria for making decisions and your life flows better because you're connected to what you want.
5. Setting Boundaries
I find it necessary to set boundaries with people because, when I do, it helps protect my energy and mood and I'm honoring my time. For example, I won't take phone calls in the morning. I have also stopped listening to victim stories because I find them very draining. I also choose to work from inspiration—not obligation—and this helps me eliminate time spent doing things I don't want to do and opens up time for activities that fill me up and move me forward.
6. Commuting And Traffic
Commuting can be such a huge productivity killer. People spend hours every week stuck in traffic. Do the research and see if there are ways that you can obtain the same results through an online meeting or phone call. Can you work from home? Plan what you will do to make your time in the car productive? These are valuable ways to reduce your time held hostage in traffic.
If you want to be more productive in life and in your career, focus on these six things first. Chances are at least one of these tips will work for you!
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.