There are always discussions about how companies can improve their work performance. It is a thought every entrepreneur should have in mind. Always ask yourself, “How can I improve my work performance?” This will benefit you personally.
Particularly when you’re running a business solo, it’s hard to keep yourself accountable. When you’re not where you’re at, it’s time to see where you can improve.
UPDATED: FEBRUARY 4, 2023
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What type of action can I take to improve work performance?
This article will concentrate on how business owners can improve their work performance. There are 17 ways entrepreneurs can improve their performance. I’ll outline them below.
- Set Reasonable Goals Using The SMART Method
- Create A Long-Term Plan For Your Business
- Make A Daily Game Plan
- Complete Your Most Important Tasks First
- Breaking Down Tasks Into Smaller Tasks
- Limiting Distractions
- Not Leaving Tasks Unfinished
- Use The Right Tools To Assist Your Business
- Set Yourself As A Role Model
- Communicate Effectively With Your Team
- Be Transparent: Hold Yourself Accountable
- Be Mindful Of Other People’s Time
- Amplify Your Communication Skills
- Outsource And Delegate Repetitive Work To Others
- Think Before Acting And Make A Good Judgment
- Replace Outdated Ideas With Better Ones
- Give Yourself Some Downtime
Set reasonable goals using the SMART Method
When running a business, setting goals is a necessary component to get you to the next step. Without any plans, it’s more challenging to know where you want to take your business.
One common technique for setting goals is the SMART method. This acronym stands for the following:
- S- Specific
- M- Measurable
- A- Attainable
- R- Realistic
- T- Time-related
Many business owners find this technique helps to assist in growing their business. It’s used in business practice, but even in all areas of life.
SMART Business Example
One professional example of the SMART method can be the following:
|Professional Model of Using The SMART Method|
|Specific: I will find six clients for my private consulting business.|
|Measurable: I will keep track of my progress while working on my current client base.|
|Attainable: I will network locally (and online) while at the same time launching a marketing campaign through social media.|
|Realistic: Adding more clients will help grow my business in the long run.|
|Time-related: I will obtain six clients in the next fourth months.|
Create a long-term plan for your business
Traditionally, established companies develop a yearly plan (or annual goals) to grow their businesses. If you get what I mean, these yearly goals are not always clear.
Instead of developing an annual plan with vague goals, I think it’s best to create short-term plans. That could be between three-six months or could be quarterly.
Best Idea: Use the 12-week plan
My favorite idea for a business plan would be meeting goals in 90 days. Some of the best entrepreneurs I know have short-term horizons and look at setting goals within three months.
A better example would be following a 12-week plan. There’s a book called The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months. It gives you a run-down of setting goals within 12 weeks instead of 12 months.
The authors make the case that it’s much easier to accomplish business goals in three months. I recommend checking out the book if you want to learn more about this specific method.
*We are an affiliate of bookshop.org Your purchase through bookshop.org will help support independent, local bookstores.
Make a daily game plan
When I talk about making a game plan, it’s not about writing out an ordinary to-do list. Making a giant list of things to do in one day is not always reasonable, as you may not cross off all of your tasks.
If you want to make a shortlist with clear intentions, it’s best to prep it out the day before (or the next day after you wake up). That way, you know what to expect ahead.
Your priority list doesn’t have to belong. For starters, write down three-five things you want to accomplish or need to get done.
It’s okay if you add more things to the daily plan but focus on at least three things that need top priority.
Complete your most important tasks first
Whenever possible, it’s best to get your priorities done first thing. If you’re a morning person, it’s best to take care of those during the morning hours. Especially if the morning happens to be your peak period, then you’ll want to take advantage of that.
Going off the topic of being a morning person, the early hours of the day may be the time when you’re most focused. If you’re a morning person, then you know you’ll have more energy up until the afternoon/evening hours.
It works the same way in the opposite direction. If you’re a night owl, use the night hours to get your most important work done. Either way, I think it’s better to get that work done when you’re most focused.
Breaking down tasks into smaller chunks
When you’re working on challenging work that requires focus, it’s a good idea to break them down into smaller chunks. Rather than doing a more complex task in one sitting, break it down to make it easier to work.
For example, if you’re working on a business report that will take up a couple of hours, break the tasks down into 30-45 minutes. If you can get one section of a report done in less than an hour, you’ve already won half the battle.
From there, you can finish the rest of a report in 30-minute chunks- if that’s what’ll work for you.
Not only is it beneficial to work in smaller chunks, but you’ll do better quality work. In other words, if you work on a big project and rush through it in an hour, the results might not be as impressive. When doing work that requires focus, keep this in mind.
I can’t emphasize enough how crucial it is to avoid distractions when you need to work. Yes, they’ll be inevitable from time to time; however, it’s something that you can take control of.
If you work in an office setting, there’ll always be people needing to speak with you or come by and interrupt for a moment. Also, electronic devices (such as our mobile phones) can be very distracting when we need to focus.
Technology and electronics are enormous distractions that take up our time. In that case, consider silencing your phone or, if you must, put it in another place you cannot reach.
I know that can be difficult for some people glued to their phones. But trust me, doing something simple such as this one can be a massive time-saver down the road.
Not leaving tasks unfinished
There will be times when you may not complete your work. Sometimes it’s necessary, but not the best practice, to procrastinate on critical tasks.
Some people tend to jump from task to task but leave that work incomplete. In the same vein, if you are jumping from one more challenging task to an easier one, that is not good either.
For instance, if you’re working on a big project under a tight deadline, but then you switch to checking your email, that’s not efficient either.
The act of leaving work unfinished to do something easier is not a good practice for anyone, especially entrepreneurs.
Use the right tools to assist your business
When you consider using software or a communication tool (i.e., Skype), ask yourself the following question:
- Does the tool or resource help you, or does it take up your valuable time?
If it’s assisting you with your work, that’s fine. But if it’s wasting your time, then you need to reevaluate those resources for your business.
If you’re using a software system such as Slack, you may want to ask yourself if it’s helping you be efficient. If it’s not, then maybe it’s best not to use that type of software.
If project management tools slow you down, you may not need them, depending on what kind of business you run.
Set yourself as a role model
When you manage or lead a team of employees, there need to be some expectations established. We must set a standard for our work ethic as well as various productivity goals.
When your goals are clear and specific, it will be easier for you and your team to work together. The expectations you set for your team will influence their view of you as the leader.
It would help if you showed yourself as a leader. When you act like a leader (e.g., walking the walk instead of just talking about it), your team will respect you.
Honesty and integrity are two characteristics any business owner can have. When you make mistakes, don’t shy away or think you look harmful to your team. Being transparent will lead you to more accountability for your business.
Also, you will also gain more trust and confidence from your team. If you’re seen as an honest individual, people are more likely to cooperate with you.Eric T. Seil (Site Owner of notimekillers.com)
Communicate effectively with your team
It is imperative that the people you work for know what you expect of them. Without proper communication, things can go wrong, and you may find yourself having to repeat some things.
This issue may occur when you’re not meeting your business goals; in other words, if you’re not making the revenue that you need to grow your business. If that is the case, then you need better communication with your team.
What’s Better? Meetings or Email Announcements?
Some simple things to keep in mind would on how to communicate effectively. For instance, is it better to have a brief meeting each week, or is it better to explain everything clearly through an email?
Sometimes, email announcements may be more efficient than an in-person meeting. Or it could be the other way around. Maybe brief encounters might be better to clear up any misunderstandings. It all depends on what works best for your business.
Be transparent: Hold yourself accountable
Honesty and integrity are two characteristics that any business owner can have. When you make mistakes, don’t shy away or think you look harmful to your team. When that happens, admit those mistakes and be open to your staff about them.
Not being honest or transparent can make things worse down the road. I won’t get into those types of problems that can come up, but it’s best to avoid them.
On the other hand, being transparent will lead you to be more accountable in business. You will also gain more trust and confidence from your team. If you’re seen as honest, people are more likely to work with you.
Be mindful of other people’s time
When you need to reach out to other people, only do so when you have to. Therefore, if it has anything to do with your business moving forward, go ahead.
If you take away other people’s time, you might be taking away your own time as well. If there are things you need to do, you should put those priorities on your to-do list.
It’s essential to consider other people’s time when they are working, especially when you’re short on time sometimes.
Amplify your communication skills
Communication is an essential aspect of your business, as I mentioned earlier. When you feel that you aren’t a pro at communicating with others, you should work on that skill to grow your business.
So how do you go forward with improving that skill?
Well, there are a few things to consider:
- Networking with like-minded individuals who are running successful businesses. If someone you know has explosive growth in their company, they may be an effective communicator.
Where to reach out to them? Online platforms such as Linkedin are helpful to network. Or if there’s someone you know who can introduce you to a successful business owner, that’s another option for you to consider.
- It doesn’t hurt to take a public speaking course. There are plenty of places online where you can take a public speaking course in today’s world. You could spend a day learning how to do public speaking or take a series on public speaking if you’re interested.
How I did it
In a previous role held, I was responsible for new hire training. Several years ago, I took some online public speaking classes that helped me improve my presentation skills.
I greatly benefited from the tips I learned from those courses.
In a classroom setting, it made me more comfortable interacting with groups of up to ten people. As a result, I became a better communicator and listener.
Outsource & delegate repetitive work to others
As I mentioned in previous articles, outsourcing is necessary to move your business to the next level. When you’re doing tasks that don’t add value to your business, you’re not doing yourself a favor.
However, if you take the next step to delegate tasks to other individuals (or invest in automation), you essentially free up more of your time. Your free time can be used to do things that will help grow your business further.
As a business owner, you can focus on what you’re good at by outsourcing work. Put more time into talking to prospective clients if that’s your strong suit. Bringing those clients on board may benefit you in the future.
If you schedule a time to do that (rather than getting caught up in administrative work), you’ll be less likely to get caught up on it later.
Think before acting & make a good judgment
Making the best decisions will benefit your business. You’ll reap the benefits later on if you make the right choices.
It’s not as simple as saying it, but it’s vital to practice thinking before acting. That’s how you eventually make good judgment in your business.
A story of mine
I remember one person from a job I had a few years back that inspired my team and me. At one point, she said something to the effect of, “I will think before I speak.”. She made us repeat it as we had this meeting many years ago.
I bring up that situation because I always try to make the best decision when possible. When you don’t think before you act, you might regret your choices in the future.
Replace outdated ideas with better ones
When running a business (or an empire if you’re ambitious), you always want to be coming up with better ideas. If you follow traditional ideas that don’t fit in the 21st century, you may end up being like every other mediocre business.
Instead, I say take on the challenge to be creative and think outside the box. Having that innovative mindset can lead to real change and better outcomes for your business. Whatever ideas you have in mind could benefit your business in the long run.
One Excellent Model: APPLE
Apple Inc is a good example. Apple is among the most innovative companies in the world. “Think Different” resonated with people because Apple is a successful brand of lifestyle technology.
As a result of the popularity of Apple’s products, they are providing value to their customers. As of today, they continue to be innovative and produce outstanding products. It is the idea of thinking outside the box that has made Apple successful over the years.
Give yourself some downtime
The typical challenge entrepreneurs face is taking downtime. When you’re working for hours at a time (but not taking care of yourself), that’ll take a toll on your health. It’ll result in burnout and possibly making poor decisions for your business.
If possible, make sure to give yourself downtime and rest. Taking a few days off helps you reflect on your accomplishments.
Taking a brief break can help boost your creativity when you’re ready to start working again. So take advantage of it, or else your business can take a hit if you don’t make the right decisions.
A relevant article from notimekillers.com
Read next on “Do Entrepreneurs Waste Time? 5 Time Killers To Avoid” to learn about common time wasters you can avoid as an entrepreneur. If you’re starting out, this post will help you save a lot of headaches and frustrations.
Running a successful business is not an easy job to take on. Often, entrepreneurs struggle with their performance. It can result in not moving their business to the next level or ending up going nowhere.
The approaches mentioned above can help any business owner grow their business. If you take action and make an effort, it’s possible to run a successful, profitable company.
Your Turn: What will you do to improve your performance as an entrepreneur?
I would like to hear your thoughts on this matter. What challenges do you face running a business? What is one area you wish you could improve on? What will you do today to move the needle forward?
Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below? I look forward to reading them, and I’ll respond promptly.
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Eric is a content writer and the site owner of notimekillers.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. Eric is a firm believer in time freedom, as he believes in taking ownership of time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. You can follow Eric on LinkedIn.
12 thoughts on “How Can I Improve My Work Performance? Top 17 Tips”
It’s like you wrote this post for me. I always set unrealistic goals for myself; as a result, I end up not finishing any task on my list.
Well, I get distracted all day long. I decided to do affiliate marketing since I stay at home with my child. But sometimes, it gets hard to finish writing one article because she can be hyper active 95% of the time.
Your article is like a wake up call for me. Thank you for the tips.
Thank you for your comment.
It’s not uncommon for people such as yourself to set unrealistic goals. Even myself, I got in a bad habit of doing that several years ago.
It’s frustrating when you don’t finish a task you planned on doing. Putting it off (especially if it’s a priority) is not the best thing to do.
I understand how being distracted can be a problem. Especially working from home, it’s not easy. But there are ways to work around it. I’m sure you can work it out, as most successful people can try.
Thank you again for sharing your comment. I’m glad to have shared the tips, and that they’ll help you out.
I remember back in my entrepreneurship class early on. Our teacher emphasized time management as the backbone of being a successful entrepreneur.
My best time-saving technique is setting time for your priorities and leisure activities. That way, you never have to mix both of them together.
I love the details in your article which is well explained.
Thank you Kenny for your comment.
Yes, your teacher was right to emphasize time management as an essential skill for entrepreneurs. If they learn how to manage their time properly, it’ll be easier to achieve their goals. Moreover, the better chances of being successful in the future.
I agree with you that we need to balance our priorities and leisure activities. Separating personal and professional activities will make it easier (and less stressful) to manage our daily activities.
I do the best I can to separate the two; that way, it doesn’t mess up my time management activities.
It sure is no fun when going down that direction. Trust me, it can make your schedule look hectic!
Thanks again for your input- it’s very much appreciated.
Hey there Eric,
Thank you for this very informative and insightful article. There are some really great tips here that will help me improve my work performance.
I really need to get into the habit getting rid of outdated stuff that doesn’t work. On the other hand, introducing new stuff that works.
Especially if it will help move me to the next level in my business. I will definitely bookmark this post for future reference.
Thank you for your comment. I’m glad to hear you found this post very helpful.
You’re spot on when it comes to changing your habits. Ditching old ones and practicing new ones is a step in the right direction.
Whatever it takes to help grow your business, I hope it works out for you.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Please do refer to this post and come back soon.
This article is an excellent read on improving your work performance. These 17 tips are right on target- just an excellent outline of what to do and when to do it.
I particularly liked focusing on a daily game plan. Also, prioritizing your tasks in the order of what is most important, and of course, breaking these tasks down in to doable chunks.
Thank you for your thoughts. I’m glad to know you found this post useful. Any one of these tips can help boost your work performance.
Yes, making the daily game plan can be a “game-changer” if you execute it properly. Prioritizing is one thing I focus on doing each and every single day.
So it’s a good idea to start learning how to do that- that way, you can get the most out of your time working on what’s more important.
Thanks again for sharing your input- very much appreciated!
This is a great list- I agree with the majority of points in this, but I struggle with the ‘don’t leave tasks unfinished.” I have been doing a little bit of design freelancing recently and have found that I genuinely have become obsessed.
There’s no possible way I can complete a task in one day with everything else I have going on at the moment and always feel guilty until it’s complete. The first thing I think about when my eyes open in the morning is getting the task done.
So it’s definitely important to maintain a work-life balance at the same time.
The purpose behind leaving tasks unfinished is to get people to prioritize their tasks properly. It may not be easy at first, but it helps when you have multiple tasks to work on in a single day.
I understand your struggles with what you’re going through. Sometimes, it’s best to break it down into small increments if it’s part of a big project.
For example, if you’re writing an ebook, it likely will take you more than one day to complete. If it’s a long book, it’s going to take you time to work on.
So if you want to get it done within the next month, assign yourself to write a few pages each day (or a few times a week). Whatever works best for your schedule, doing it in small increments can help.
If you work on that approach, it’ll make your workload simple and not as overwhelming. Your point on work-life balance is a great point, as a lot of people want that as well.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They’re much appreciated, and it gives our readers a better understanding of this topic. Thanks again!
Hi Eric, I really liked your article about improving your work performance, as well as your 17 tips. They are incredibly helpful.
I do think that it is a greater challenge for those of us who have decided to become online entrepreneurs working from home. There are always distractions.
I found time management much easier when I was in the workforce and managing teams. My golden rule was always to give each team member ownership of their particular tasks and not be constantly giving directions.
Thus they felt valued and always contributed at their best. Thanks so much for sharing this article.
Whether working from home for someone else (or working for ourselves as entrepreneurs), there will always be distractions. Although they are inevitable, we can figure out how to work around them to stay focused.
Your experience is very valuable, especially if you were previously in management. Your golden rule is definitely one I like to follow as well.
So that’s an excellent point you make- I’d want to value my team members if they had self-ownership in the work they do.
So those are things to take away from as a learning experience. I like what you had to say.
Thank you for sharing your insights- they’re very much appreciated.