Becoming better at what you do might have more to do with your mindset than with the specific skills needed for the job. Sure, without these skills, you can’t do the job to begin with, but in order to sharpen them, you always need three things – autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
What does this mean? Well, first you need to take charge of your own career path. Second, you need to work on improving these skills through discipline and dedication. Third, you need to understand why all of this matters so much. Here are a couple of things you need to keep in mind in order to get an edge in these three fields.
1. Self-imposed deadlines
You should never depend on others to set deadlines, seeing as how the corporate policy may underestimate your capabilities. Why is this a bad thing? Well, there’s this thing called Price’s law, which implies that the longer you have to do things, the longer it will take. This slows down your momentum and lets you get accustomed to a slower rate than you’re used to. As a result, less will get done, and your productivity will plummet.
Another reason why self-imposed deadlines are a good thing is that it helps you exercise your autonomy. It puts you in charge of the deadline and the workflow. Sure, you may not be able to prolong the deadlines without getting authorization but even shortening it gives you a level of command.
Second, it helps you take the initiative. By doing this before the end of the management-imposed deadline, you’ll be seen as someone who is ready and willing to go that extra mile. Doing more than the bare minimum is how you draw attention to yourself without actively trying to do so.
At the very least, you get more time to make changes and edits, which results in a more reliable working process. It’s that simple.
2. Improve your knowledge
There are some jobs that you can’t do without proper specialization. For instance, in order to become good at dental management, you need great managerial skills, as well as specific experience in this field. You can’t just laterally move from managing a business in a different industry and hope to be great in this field, as well.
To overcome this obstacle, you need to do two things. First of all, a part of your income needs to be dedicated to your self-improvement. Having a self-improvement budget can sometimes make all the difference. Courses and learning materials are not free, and sometimes you’ll have to take an absence from work in order to attend a course/seminar. Needless to say, this pursuit of knowledge will result in a diminished income.
The second thing you need to do is commit to working as a learning experience. This means agreeing to a worse-paid position than you’ve grown accustomed to in order to gain some experience. Remember, there are several different forms of payment, and not all of them are material.
To get involved in a specific industry, you’ll have to make adjustments, develop new skills, and earn specific experience. None of this is easy.
3. Productivity tricks and strategies
Try to be more disciplined, which is easier said than done, but there are a couple of rules that can help you out. For instance, you have the two-minute rule and the five-minute rule, both of which aim to do, more or less, the same.
- The two-minute rule implies that if a task takes two minutes to complete, you should do it right away.
- The five-minute rule claims that if you can’t get started, you might want to try to force yourself to work for five minutes straight. After these five minutes, in theory, you won’t be able to stop.
Aside from this, you might also want to try the so-called Pomodoro technique. This is an interval working method that allows you to fully focus on the task at hand and avoid getting overworked. The way it functions is fairly simple. You work for 25 minutes straight and then rest for 5 minutes. Every three working intervals, you get 15 minutes of rest. This system allows you to stay at the height of your focus throughout the whole process.
It’s also important to know that the first two hours after you wake up are the most productive of your entire day. Therefore, using them to their full potential can be a major boost to your workflow.
4. Find the right motivation
In order to boost your productivity, you need to find the purpose behind what you’re doing. There are several ways to get there, and here are some suggestions. First of all, you need something that you’re passionate about. It should either be something you like or something you care about deeply on a personal or ideological level.
Second, you can focus on the lifestyle perks instead of just looking at the nature of your work. The fact that you have a great salary, a lot of respect, as well as a great dose of self-gratification. The thing is that getting all of this from your career path means that you’ll stay motivated to get better at it, as well as climb through the ranks.
It’s also important that you understand the industry. This will help you figure out why every single minor task is worth doing. Feeling like something is trivial or unimportant will make it harder for you to stay motivated or focused on the task at hand. They say that to become successful. You need to do a lot of smaller things perfectly.
The matter of intrinsic motivation is vital for success in any industry. Every person has their own motives, and finding the right motivation in your particular case makes all the difference.
5. Blowing off some steam
Finding a method to blow off some steam is perhaps the most important thing for any highly successful person. What does this mean? People in high positions are always the ones under the most stress. So, you need something that helps you vent, something that makes you feel good, and something that you’ll have access to at any time.
Some people exercise, others play video games, while there are those who turn to baking and decide to become pizza masters. Overall, it comes down to what makes you feel happy and fulfilled. While buying something big and traveling is great, the truth is that, even with the ultimate effort, you can do something like this once or a couple of times every year. You need something simpler and more reliable.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is also a great idea. What you’re looking for is a rejuvenation of your social life and a way to spend more time with your family. Sometimes, you need to remind yourself of why you’re doing all of that, why you’re making this ultimate sacrifice.
There’s time to work, and there’s time to play. Eliminating the latter will not make you better or more professional. If anything, the result might be quite the opposite.
In the end, you need to understand the factors that lead to one’s success. By having enough willpower, you’ll overcome virtually any obstacle, but you also need to have the right plan of action. Focusing on autonomy, mastery, and purpose as the ultimate tools (keys to your success) is a great starting point. From here, there’ll be no stopping you.