We all have the best intentions when it comes to our careers. We want to do a great job and enjoy doing it. But sometimes, however dedicated we are, it might seem as though we haven’t achieved that much at the end of the day. Maybe a task took longer than you’d planned, or maybe you added more items to your already-long to-do list. Whatever the case, there are simple Microsteps to shift your mindset and make work feel more productive and fulfilling.
Here are six expert-backed tips that can help you become more effective and happier at work.
Complete very small tasks right away
Tackling a project with multiple components that seem complicated can be daunting and overwhelming at the start of the day. A great way to feel effective right away is to practice this Microstep: If something will take less than two minutes to complete, do it immediately. Finishing a quick task is often simpler than reviewing it, putting it in your calendar, and returning to it later. Once you’ve completed even one small task, like a quick email, you’ll feel an instant sense of accomplishment, giving you the energy and enthusiasm to move onto the bigger projects.
Ask your manager for feedback
If you have a problem that’s concerning you, don’t be afraid to ask your manager for help — and feedback. If you feel overwhelmed, perhaps you need help with prioritization. Sometimes, asking for feedback can seem a little challenging, particularly if you’re an introvert, but it’ll help you get the support you need to succeed.
Stop Multitasking and Focus on Monotasking
It may feel more productive to tackle a few tasks at once, but science shows that multi-tasking just doesn’t work. It dissipates our energy, distracts us, and can result in a drop in productivity of up to 40%! Instead, try monotasking – working on only one task at a time. If you’re not sure where to start, write down everything you need to do on a daily basis, then tackle your top priorities. “Just the act of writing it all down can help relieve anxiety and stop you from getting everything out of proportion,” says Angela Noble-Grange, Ph.D., communication professor at Cornell University.
Commit to your work and connect with co-workers
Some people are lucky to have careers they’re deeply passionate about. But whatever kind of work you do, you’re likely to be more fulfilled and effective if you commit to it and make it as enjoyable as possible. That could involve focusing on gratitude, thinking about the service you’re providing, or reminding yourself how you’re supporting your team or customers. The connections we make at work are important, too. Having lunch, having a laugh, or having great conversations with co-workers can make a difference between our job feeling mundane or meaningful.
Write an “I did” list at the end of the day
Often we’re far more effective than we think we are – we just don’t acknowledge ourselves for what we’ve achieved, or we underestimate our successes. A great way of measuring our daily accomplishments is to spend a couple of minutes at the end of the working day noting down what we completed, which could be anything from meeting a deadline to attending a meeting, giving extra support to a team member, or just having a meaningful conversation with a co-worker. Studies show that writing down our small wins on a regular basis shows us that we’re making progress.