It’s no secret that the quality of your work opens up new doors in your career, whether it be a promotion, raise, or even a new opportunity at a different organization. But if you feel that your work isn’t at a level of quality that can propel you to those new opportunities, how do you go about fixing that and bringing your quality of work to a whole new level? Here are five strategies that will help you improve the quality of your work.
Have a Plan
It is very important to have a plan to improve your quality. You can go into work one day telling yourself that today is the day your going to improve the quality of your work, but make very few improvements at all. You may be a little more focused on your work and you may try to work faster, but those little things will not do very much to improve the overall quality of your work. You have to have a plan coming in, you have to know not just what you want to do but how you’re going to do it. Do you have a lot of paperwork to get through? Plan out what to do first, and what will take the most time. Do you have a stressful meeting today? Make a plan as to what you’re going to say and do in that meeting. Planning ahead will help increase the quality of any work you’re doing, which will start to open more doors to future career opportunities.
How do you know where your quality of work should be if you don’t set any goals to work towards? Goals set a standard to work towards, a destination to reach. Goals are the ocean on the horizon that you are traveling towards, but you aren’t just going to get there just with little effort. If you do, it isn’t much of a goal. The goal should be one that you have to work towards, one that takes effort and change and maybe even a little hardship. Goals should have a positive impact if their met. And even if they aren’t met, you should still be better off than when you weren’t working towards that goal. For example, a salesman may set a very high goal of sales numbers that he would like to meet for the year. If he meets those numbers, that is wonderful for him and the organization. If he doesn’t he will most likely still have more sales than he thought he would have for the month.
A problem that a lot of employees run into when working is that many of them are too embarrassed or too proud to ask others for help with their work. Even when they are struggling, many employees will just try to figure things out or even skip whatever it is they are struggling with all together. This of course has a very negative impact on the quality of your work and can lead to serious issues if you never seek out help. In fact, some of the best workers that you find in a company are the ones that are in constant communication with both co-workers and superiors. These people are not afraid to ask for help and share that they are struggling with a situation in their job. And it shows in the quality of their work as their work continually outshines that of their less communicative co-workers. If you have a number of co-workers and superiors that are more than willing to help you out with their combined wealth of knowledge, why would you not take advantage of that? Put the embarrassment or pride aside and seek out the help of those around you. They will most likely be more than happy to help you, and the quality of your work will skyrocket compared to when you were trying to go at it alone.
Strive For Improvement
This point goes hand in hand with our past point on goals. What do you do when you have accomplished your goals? Do you take time to relax and let your work slide a little because you just reached those lofty goals you have set? This is very tempting, but can lead to a decrease in your quality of work over time. Instead, try creating new goals for yourself based off of your performance. Did you meet your goals faster than you expected? Set goals that will be harder to reach. Were your results the 3rd best in the company for the quarter? Strive for 1st in the next quarter. There are always ways to improve your work, and you should always be looking for ways to make those improvements. Even the 30 year veteran at a Fortune 500 company who seems like he can do no wrong can always improve in some aspect of their work. When you look to always improve your work, you won’t reach perfection, but you’ll get a lot closer than when you weren’t trying.
Wait a minute, didn’t you just tell us to not relax in the last section? Yes, I did, but I’m talking about relaxing in a different context here. When I said don’t relax before, I was talking about not putting your work on cruise control just because you had recently accomplished a goal or two. That is dangerous and is a slippery slope to lazy and low quality work. In this context however, I am talking about keeping yourself from becoming over-stressed and overworked. All of my past points take a lot of effort and more dedication to your work. But you don’t want work to take over your life and add extra stress and exhaustion. You need to take moments to relax so that you don’t get burned out at work. One of the best ways to do this is to keep your work life separate from your home life. Let your home life be a place for family, friends, and faith, and don’t let your work life interfere with these parts of your life. Another great way to relax is to take vacations. There are a lot of workers who don’t use all of the vacation days that are provided to them, and it has an affect. Workers become worn out, tired, and their quality of work actually decreases simply because they are not taking the time to relax and rejuvenate. Take some time off, keep work separate from home, and your quality of work will increase respectively.
Following these points will definitely help you increase the quality of your work, but more importantly you simply need to have the drive to want to improve and succeed. No tips or tricks will help you if you’re not motivated to give it your all and provide the highest quality of work possible in your position. Motivate yourself to work hard hard and give it your all, and everything else will fall into place.