I am sure you have noticed that your workday is often about a lot more than work. Sure, you’re there to do your job, but there are lots of things that can affect how that job gets done. External forces can make your job easier – or harder.
Some Workplace Insights
A few areas that have the possibility of having a huge impact on your day-to-day life are:
Motivation: Sometimes people confuse motivation with productivity, but they are two very different things. Productivity refers to how you get things done, and motivation refers to why you get things done. There are two main types of motivation: intrinsic, which means it comes from inside you; and extrinsic, which means it comes from outside forces. Intrinsic motivation means that you work hard because you have a good work ethic, or because you feel better at the end of the day when you do a good job, or because your work makes you feel successful, or in some other way, you somehow feel personally rewarded by your work. Extrinsic motivation refers to your paycheck, your bonus, your performance review – all those things that are outside you but that motivate you to perform at your highest ability. Many people assume that intrinsic motivation is superior, but that’s not necessarily the case. A rewarding job will have a good mix of both types of motivation.
Performance reviews: Speaking of performance reviews, this is an area that can be fraught with stress. Performance reviews can not only have a major impact on your ability to receive a promotion or raise, but they can have an impact on how you feel about your job or workplace itself. Someone who receives an unexpectedly poor performance review can feel demotivated – especially if they feel that they are trying their best. Conversely, a great performance review can motivate you to work even harder. It’s important to think ahead to how you will receive the news of your performance review and prepare information to help your reviewer know the value that you believe you bring to your role.
Mistakes: Nothing can derail your day faster than a mistake. Once it happens, even if it’s been rectified, it can loom large in your mind as something that can embarrass you or even harm your career. The truth is that even though all of us strive to be careful, double-check our work and think ahead, there is not one professional who hasn’t made a mistake. The key is in how you deal with it. Do you come to your supervisor with the honest story, and a plan to fix it? Or, do you present the problem and make it theirs; or, worse, do you try to cover it up? How you handle the mistake ultimately will have more bearing on people’s memory of the mistake than the mistake itself.
Family, holidays and fundraisers, oh my!: We grouped these disparate topics together because they are three issues that can bring great rewards – and great stress. All of them are intrinsically happy and good things, but they can go very wrong in the workplace if not dealt with appropriately. The main thing to keep in mind is that you should always be looking ahead to any possible downsides to how you handle these. Is your focus on family making it harder for you to focus or perform at work? Is the gift you brought to the holiday party inappropriately expensive? Are you harassing your fellow coworkers to buy your daughter’s Girl Scout cookies? The bottom line in each of these three scenarios is really to think through different courses of action – and how each will play out to positively or negatively affect your performance and reputation in the workplace.
Telecommuting: As more workers demand flexible schedules, more workplaces are responding with the option to telecommute. It can save companies money by not having to provide infrastructure for workers, and it can save time and money for workers, who no longer have to commute to work or dress up. At the same time, it is a privilege that is only awarded to those who have proved they can handle it and deserve it – and those who continue to perform once the telecommuting has been established. Your role as a telecommuter is to make sure that no one in your company ever questions your devotion to your job. That means that you answer email and phone calls promptly, that you participate in team events when it’s appropriate, that you turn your work in on time and that you are available when you are needed. Telecommuting can be a win-win situation for both employee and employer, if it is handled professionally.
Starting a new job: As they say you never have a second chance to make a good first impression – and that is a major rule of a new job. It’s important to spend those first few days and weeks absorbing as much as you can, to help make your transition seamless so you can begin contributing right away. Don’t come in with a million new ideas of how to change things, as that can rub people the wrong way, but instead be open to just learning and observing, knowing that you can offer your suggestions down the road. Starting off on the right foot with colleagues and your superiors can help ease your way to a successful future.
Planning your day: As you think about productivity, planning your day is high on the list for ensuring you are as effective as possible. Most people know that what you do in the first few minutes can set the tone – but so can what you do in the last few minutes. From fitting in time for exercise, to planning activities for rejuvenation, make sure that you have created your schedule so you are master of it, rather than the other way around.
Having a clear head when it comes to workplace insights, and all the politics that can affect your career, is a vital component of being a savvy professional.
Articles on decision-making:
- Trust Your Intuition
- How to Make Good Decisions
- Reasons Why Win-Win Is Better Than Win-Lose
- Understanding the Problem Gives You a Better Solution
- Understanding Dumb Decisions
Articles on discrimination:
- Gender and Technology: What We Can Learn from the Google Memo
- Age Discrimination Is Not Based on Age
- How to Manage (and Avoid) Discrimination in the Interview Process
- How to Avoid Age Discrimination
Articles on fundraising:
- Tips on How to Start a Community Outreach Program at Work (Part 1)
- Tips on How to Deal with Fundraisers at Work
Articles on holidays:
- Christmas Holiday Productivity: Five Ways to Make the Most of the “Wasted Week” (Part 1)
Articles on how to deal with mistakes at work:
- Overcoming Mistakes at Work: Don’t Beat Yourself Up!
- How to Own Up to Your Mistakes at Work
- Your Co-Worker Made a Mistake or Did Something Wrong — Should You Speak Up or Shut Up?
- Mistakes at Work: Cut Yourself Some Slack
- Recovering from Disappointment
- Ups and Downs: How You React to Failure Will Determine Your Future Success
Articles on motivation:
- Give Yourself a Self Esteem Boost
- I Am in a Rut, How Do I Get Out?
- How Gratitude Makes Your Job Better
- 7 Ways to Recognize Your Job-Tipping Point
- Five Ways to Combat Feeling Discouraged
- Having the Right Attitude at Work… Avoiding “This Job Sucks!”
- Don’t Let Your Failures Stop You: Many Successful People Have Failed More than Once
- Lost Motivation at Work, How to Fix It?
- Career Satisfaction: Finding the Value in Your Job
- Refreshing Your Attitude Towards Work
- What Makes You Unique?
- Finding a Sense of Purpose: Make a Difference in Your World
- Rethink Possible
- Fighting Low Morale at Work
- Your Sense of Purpose
- The Way You Talk About Work Affects Your Own Attitude
- Remain Inspired by Having a Clear Objective in Mind
- Re-energize Your Career
Articles on how to have the right outlook on work:
- Embrace Problems to Improve Workplace Habits
- Setting Expectations: What Do You Expect From Yourself At Work?
- People Can Tell If You’re Engaged in Your Work
- Facing Obstacles by Building from Possibilities
- Where Are You a Leader?
- Problems or Opportunities? — Down to Earth Ways to Find Solutions
- Working Around Your Fears at Work
- Increasing Accountability: No More Blame Game
Articles on performance evaluations:
- Employee Performance Review — How to Make the Most Out of Your Meeting with Your Supervisor
- What to Do When You Get a Bad Evaluation
- How to Document Your Performance to Get a Better Evaluation
- Employee Performance Evaluations – How to Make Your GOALS Work for You!
- How to Score High on Your Next Job Evaluation
- Performance Evaluation – It’s OK to Have Weaknesses
- Self Evaluations, Tips and Advice to Make Them Great
- It’s Review Time, How Do You Accept Feedback in a Positive Way?
- Incorporating 360 Degree Evaluation Concepts into Your Work Life
- Responding to a Performance Warning
- Increasing Performance: After Action Reviews
Articles on starting a new job:
- Live and Learn: How That New Job Will Contribute to Your Career
- When to Leave Your Job and When to Stay
- Knowing When to Leave
- How to Adapt to the Work Environment After Leaving College
- Getting off on the Right Foot in a New Job
Articles on parental leave:
- Bye Bye Baby: Six Things NOT to do When You Get Back in the Office
- Yahoo! Baby in the Boardroom: Parental Leave, the Basics (Part 1)
- Leaving for Your Parental Leave in Good Terms: Five Tips For Making Your Workplace Exodus Easy and Smooth (Part 2)
- Are Babies Work? Or Is Your Work a Baby? – Taking Care of Your Child While Staying in Touch with the Office (Part 3)
- “A Day in the Life” – Finding Ways to Juggle Work and Family More Efficiently (Part 4)
- Welcome to the Jungle: Returning to Work after a Leave of Absence
Articles on telecommuting:
- How to Pitch Working from Home to Your Boss
- Working from Home: How to Draw a Line Between Work and Personal Life
- Working at Home Productivity? Say Yes to Pajamas, Say Yes to Productivity
- How to Eliminate Distractions When No One Is Looking Over Your Shoulders
Articles on planning your day:
- Having a Rejuvenating Lunch Break
- The Last Ten Minutes at Work
- The First Ten Minutes at Work
- Work Schedule: Going to Work Early and Leaving Early or Arriving Later, but Staying Later
- How to Fit Gym Time Into Your Day
- Productivity Tips for Friday Afternoons
- Morning Routines to Boost Your Productivity
- Don’t Leave Yet! 3 End-of-Day Work Habits That Contribute to Success the Next Day
- First 30 Minutes at Work in the Morning, What Do You Do? What Are Good Habits?