11 Tips To Excel At Work This Year

Have you set your goals for 2019 yet?  I’m sure everybody has at least some, right?  Do your goals include any that tie to your career?  Do you really have what it takes to excel at work?

excel at work
Truly show up and engage at meetings. This is one way to excel at work this year.

The Importance Of Success At Work

Success at your job is key to a happy and prosperous life, right?  Some will tell you that working less is the key to a longer life.  Others will say working additional years helps you live longer.  Whatever you believe, there’s one thing we can all agree on:  Being happy at work is important.  Happiness can come from being more productive.  Here are some tips to excel at work this year.

Read more11 Tips To Excel At Work This Year

1 Step To Getting A Better Performance Review

Everybody wants a better performance review at work, right?

Everybody deserves a better performance review, right?

Well, OK, not everybody.  But you do, right?

Of course!

There’s one simple step that I would recommend you start off with.  If you’re not doing this already, you may be missing out on better reviews (which can of course translate into better raises, better job opportunities, etc.).  Ready?  Here goes:

Track your accomplishments throughout the entire year.

The way our system works is that once a year, we sit down with our managers and directors and roll through our accomplishments. They have their own ‘list’, but we also present things that we’ve done that have added value to our customer or to the company in some way.  They go back, work it all out, and then a follow-up meeting is held where we get our actual evaluation.

Having all of these accomplishments can definitely impact our ‘rating’.  We have a rating system where you get a 1-5 rating in multiple categories including job functions, financial, and training.  Getting a 4 or 5 in multiple categories is something everybody strives for.

If you and your bosses miss out on noting something that you did eleven months ago, that could be the difference between a 3 and a 4!  Not good.  But, who remembers what you did eleven months ago?  Not too many of us.

What I do is, at least once every three months, update a running ‘Accomplishments’ list.  Any big report I’ve finished or presentation I’ve given or fire I put out gets logged.  That way, it’s not a mad scramble at the end to go back and remember things that my bosses should be impressed with.

The longer you wait, the more apt you are to forget something key.  Why shoot yourself in the foot?  If you’re not tracking your accomplishments on a regular basis, I suggest you add this to the top of your To-Do list today!

Career Tip: Become An Expert At Something (And It Doesn’t Have To Be Big)

At every job I’ve had, I have attempted to be “the guy” when it comes to something.  It’s been as big as a major piece of technology (the ‘Citrix’ or ‘Virtual computing’ guy) and as small as a piece of software (the ‘Excel’ guy).

It’s important to be ‘the guy’ or ‘the girl’ at something for one reason: People will think of you.

In business, you can be better at something than anybody else on the planet, but if people don’t think of you first, then it’s pretty much all for nothing.

So, make sure they think of you.

The funny thing is that you don’t even have to be expert level at what you do.  Just so long as you can answer the questions that are presented to you within a reasonable amount of time, you’re good.

When I was the ‘Excel guy’ at a recent job, I got the reputation pretty early on.  I happened to help someone with a problem who used it a lot and who did a lot of talking in the department.  Word spread quickly and people asked me Excel questions all the time.

My dirty little secret was that, for many of the questions, I didn’t know the answer off the top of my head, and simply used Microsoft Help or Google to figure out the answer.  I’d look it up, try it out myself to make sure it worked, then head over and show off my mad skill as ‘the Excel guy’.

It worked because it kept me talking to people that I might not otherwise talk to.  That can never hurt in business where it’s all about networking.  I’m pretty sure I even got asked an Excel question or two by people with Manager or Director (or better) in their title, and that was double bonus day.

So, find something that you can be ‘the guy’ or ‘the girl’ at and get cracking.  Don’t make a big deal of it, but if you can quietly take on that role, it can only help your reputation.

7 Ways To Enjoy Guilt-Free Time Off

Time off is one of those things that has gotten a bad reputation.  Companies give you time off, but some will look down on you for using it.  Many people freely admit that they avoid taking all of their time off for fear of being seen as lazy or dispensable.

I try not to feel guilty about using my time off.  I feel that if the company gives employees time off, they are counting on you using it.  If companies actually give employees hassle about using it, then it seems silly to even be working for that company in the first place.

There are some tips you can follow so that you can take your time off without feeling guilty about it.

  1. Know your company / department – Taking a week off shouldn’t be a problem, but if you plan on taking more than that off at one time, you should make sure your company and department can handle that.  Most tasks can be put off a week or so, but if you’re handling important things that can’t be shifted around, it will start making people nervous if they get put off for too long.
  2. Get ahead of the game before you leave – If you’re heading out for a week, try to get some of the things you would normally do done before you leave.
  3. Transfer any responsibilities that have to be done – If there are things that need to get done that you have to transfer to someone else, make sure they understand completely what is being done.
  4. Send out a ‘reminder’ e-mail to anybody doing your work – If you ask someone else to do something, they agree to do it, and it doesn’t get done, guess who gets the blame?  You.  This can often be avoided by sending out an e-mail a couple of days before you leave.  A simple “Just want to confirm that you will be doing such and such task next week while I’m gone.  If you have any questions, please let me know before Friday afternoon.  Thanks so much!”  Copy your boss.  Trust me, the work will get done.
  5. Make sure to update your calendar, voice-mail, and out of office reply.  This should need no further explanation.
  6. Make sure to remind your boss that you’ll be off– If you plan your time off for July back in March and your boss approves it, that gives him/her four months to forget all about it.  Dropping by a few days before your time off saying ‘Hey, just a reminder that I’m off next week, do you need anything from me?’ can often avoid a messy situation for your boss (that will then unavoidably transfer to you).
  7. Follow up when you get back – The morning you get back you should run through your voice mails and e-mails, responding to anything urgent, and you should also stop by your bosses office (as well as any colleagues who were handling your tasks).  No matter how best you prepare, things will often blow up while you’re gone, and the best thing you can do is put out any fires as quickly as you can.

Do these things and you shouldn’t feel guilty about taking time off.

Any other tips you have to ensure relaxing time away?  Have you had any time-off horror stories?