5 Practical Actions You Can Take This Week to Help You Be More Successful at Work

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Laura Browne524
I help women get more of what they want at work.

Here are 5 specific things you can do this week to help you be more successful at work.

Ask your boss what you can do to help him or her.

What can you do to help your manager reach their goals? You may think you know but with things changing so quickly, what helped your manager last month, may not be top priority now. Instead of assuming or guessing, clearly ask your manager. You can say something like, “I know that you have so many things going on, what can I do to help you?” Even if your boss doesn’t want help, they will appreciate the offer. And if your boss says yes, it gives you the opportunity to work on something that’s important to them.

Eat the frog.

There’s an old Mark Twain quote that says eat a frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen. The idea is to pick something you don’t want to do that’s important and get it over with. Look at the things that are on your To Do list and pick something that’s high priority that you’ve been putting off.

One way to make it easier is to set a timer. Schedule 60 minutes and commit to doing nothing else during that time (that means no emails, no getting a cup of coffee). Just work on the project. At the end of 60 minutes, if you’re making some good progress, you can keep working. Or you can stop and schedule another 60 minutes on your calendar later in the day or the next day.

You might also find that it actually takes less than 60 minutes. There have been times that I’ve put off something I didn’t want to do, and when I actually did it the time needed was much less than I had anticipated.

Ask for what you want.

We all have things that we would like to do or have but instead of clearly asking we hint or hope. That doesn’t work. Even if you think it is obvious to you, your manager can’t read your mind. For example, maybe there is a great project coming up that you’d like to work on. Even if you mentioned to your boss that it looks like an interesting project, your manager might just think that it was a passing comment and you’re too busy to take it on. Don’t make them guess. Ask for it.

One reason I hear over and over that people don’t want to ask is the fear of hearing the word no. So what? What if your boss says no? It might make you unhappy for a few minutes but think about the other possibility. What if your boss says yes? That would be great but it won’t happen unless you clearly ask. Don’t let your fear of no stop you from a possible yes.

Remember, even if it’s not a yes now, it could set you up for a yes in the future. Perhaps your boss can’t let you work on that project this time but because you showed interest, that could help you get on a future project.

Let other people know what you’re doing.

Often when I suggest this to women they say that it makes them uncomfortable because it feels like they’re boasting if they talk about what they’re doing. Let’s look at it another way. Often sharing information with people helps them. For example, one employee I coached was reluctant to “bother” her boss with all the details of the things she was accomplishing. After I pushed her to share the specifics, the boss was able to use that information with their senior leaders and show what a great job they were doing. This was brought up in a large team meeting and the appreciated it.

Who else would benefit from knowing what you’re working on and what your wins are? Stop worrying about feeling like you’re boasting and realize that part of your job is to share your successes with others.

Adjust your message.

People tend to communicate in different ways. Some people are more focused on the facts and just want a list of action items. Other people might be more interested in the big picture and want more general information.  You’re going to naturally communicate well with some people and not as well with others.

Think about someone that you’re having issues communicating with and consider what they prefer. Ask yourself how they like to get and give information. When they give you information how do they do it? For example, some people would rather pick up the phone and chat with you. Other people will send you a very short email with a few bullet points.

Use this information to adjust your message so they get it in a way that works best for them. The way they want the information may not be your preferred style but you have a better chance of them paying attention and understanding it if you give it to them in a way that is most comfortable for them.

Now it’s up to you. Pick 1 thing to do in each of these areas in the next week. These will help you to build habits that can make you more successful.

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Browne is a certified business coach, corporate trainer, author, speaker who’s written for Forbes and has been quoted as a business expert in major publications including Cosmopolitan, Family Circle magazine, and USA Weekend. For more information on coaching and training, go to https://www.careertipsforwomen.com/.  Laura’s online course, 5 Success Tips For Women in Business- 5 Practical Steps, teaches practical skills in less than 2 hours. Get more information here.

What's your no. 1 piece of advice for being more successful at work? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!