5 Ways to Improve Work Performance

September 18, 2023

“Work performance” is a term that refers to your ability to perform your job duties and meet your responsibilities in the workplace. Companies may use several metrics to measure work performance. Generally, however, they evaluate it based on how much work you do, how well you do it and how quickly you finish your tasks. 

Improving work performance is a priority for most professionals for many reasons. For employees, employers look at performance metrics when deciding which individuals should get promotions, a salary increase or a bonus. For leaders, improving your work performance helps you grow as a professional, elevate your team and open up a world of career opportunities. 

Making a conscious effort to improve your work performance can make you a more effective leader and a valuable employee. What’s more, it can give you a sense of satisfaction and pride in your work. 

Read on for tips on improving your performance at work. 

How to Improve Your Workplace Performance: Five Ways

1. Minimize Distractions 

Do you often find yourself distracted at work? Is your productivity, efficiency or the quality of your work negatively impacted because of social media, office noise, clutter or even chatty coworkers? You’re not alone. 

In a survey by Udemy, about 69% of full-time employees reported being distracted at work. The survey also found that, while all age groups were affected, Gen Z and millennial employees were more likely to have trouble balancing work and personal activities on the devices they use for both. 

While permanently removing all distractions is impossible, many of the factors that pull your focus away from your work can easily be avoided or at least minimized to help improve employee performance. 

Here are some ways you can do so: 

Try the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a popular and effective time-management method that involves alternating 25 minutes of focused work (one Pomodoro) with 5 minutes of rest. After four Pomodoros, take a longer break of about 15 to 30 minutes. 

The Pomodoro Technique works by breaking down large or complex tasks into smaller chunks that our brain perceives as easier to manage. For instance, knowing that you’re about to spend five hours on a 5,000-word report for your boss can seem overwhelming, making it difficult to get started. However, writing for 25 minutes doesn’t feel as daunting. 

Additionally, the longer you spend on a task without breaks, the easier it is to lose focus. The Pomodoro Technique helps prevent this by forcing you to take short breaks. Lastly, this method can also boost your creativity. Taking a break from a challenging task and returning to it can help put it in a new light, allowing you to come up with new solutions. 

Schedule Focus Time

If the Pomodoro Technique isn’t a good fit for you, you can try a less structured approach: Scheduling focus time. Block off hours for focused work on your work email calendar or a calendar app. 

You can use a timer to stay on track or set your phone’s alarm to go off once the allotted time for a task is up. Don’t forget to take short breaks throughout the day to prevent yourself from losing focus or getting too tired to complete tasks. 

2. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Large and complex tasks can seem so overwhelming that it’s difficult to even get started on them, leading to missed deadlines. Another challenge is having too many choices, which can result in indecision and “analysis paralysis.” In turn, this can result not just in poor efficiency but also in poor quality of work. 

One way to overcome these obstacles and avoid the pitfalls of procrastination and indecision is to set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (S.M.A.R.T.) goals. 

S.M.A.R.T. goals are easier to break down into smaller, more manageable tasks, making them seem less daunting. Additionally, having a deadline creates a sense of urgency, while measuring and tracking your progress as well as celebrating success helps boost your motivation and sense of accomplishment.

So, instead of simply aiming to “finish the 20-page financial health report,” set a S.M.A.R.T. goal. 

Specific: I will finish writing a 20-page report on the company’s financial health by Tuesday next week. 

Measurable: I will track my progress by writing two pages per day. 

Attainable: I have created reports before/I have researched how to make reports like this and have the necessary knowledge, and I have enough time to complete this task by Tuesday next week.  

Relevant: This goal is relevant to my overall goal of contributing to the financial data needs of the organization I work for. 

Time-bound: I have a clear deadline for completing this task, which is Tuesday next week. 

3. Organize Your Tasks and Put the Important Ones First 

You likely have to do a wide range of tasks every week or even every day. These may range from simple ones, like answering emails, to more complex and time-consuming duties, like writing reports and creating proposals. 

A helpful practice is to set aside time at the beginning of the week to organize and schedule your duties. Prioritize the most important tasks and those with the earliest due dates. The tasks you can afford to delay or don’t have as much impact on the organization can wait until later in the day or week. 

Doing so helps ensure you get crucial work done within the deadline. Even if something happens and you have to pause work, the only tasks left are the ones whose delay will have minimal impact on either your performance metrics or your company.  

4. Tidy Up Your Desk (and Your Computer) 

Working in a cluttered environment can negatively affect your productivity, focus and mental health. Clutter can make it challenging to find the things you need, leading to wasted time, and it can also be distracting, making it difficult to focus on work. 

What’s more, clutter can make you feel disorganized, and your environment seem chaotic. This can lead to increased stress, heightened anxiety and the inability to think clearly.

Always try to keep your desk clear of unnecessary objects. Invest in organizers and file folders, and make sure everything is in its proper place. Additionally, a cluttered computer can also have the same effect. So, organize your files in folders, delete unnecessary ones and close tabs you’re not using. 

5. Invest in Continuous Learning and Skill Development 

Spending time and resources on learning new skills is a significant investment into your career. It allows you to stay abreast of developments in your industry as well as improves your creativity and problem-solving skills. 

With learning and skill development, you also benefit from improved communication and collaboration skills. In turn, this helps you work more effectively with others to achieve common goals. 

Continuous learning also helps you feel more satisfied with your job. You can also feel more confident about your contribution to the organization and increase your value and effectiveness as a leader. 

Take Action to Improve Your Work Performance 

Improving your workplace performance is good for your career and overall well-being. By following the above strategies, you can boost your productivity and efficiency as well as ensure that the quality of your work remains stellar. 

These strategies we discussed will help you complete tasks more quickly and easily and give you a sense of accomplishment and pride in your work. By following these five steps, you can become a more valuable and effective employee, and you will be well on your way to career advancement and personal growth.

Learn how HPWP Group will help you supercharge your workplace performance through our programs. Contact us today!