Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends, and for recharging from work. Studies show that leisure time is needed to boost productivity, but there are other ways to improve your career before the long weekend wind-down. Here are our top three.
Self-reflection may seem like it belongs in the ‘leisure time’ category, but it’s actually heavily tied to work performance. Several studies, including one by Harvard Business School, show a correlation between work performance and self-reflection. In the study, call center agents took 15 minutes at the end of each day to self-reflect. In just 10 days, they outperformed their non-introspective peers by an average of 23 percent. Although self-reflection is not an action, like working out or increasing your number of sales calls, it has been shown to nonetheless generate results. The approach that each person takes to self-reflect might differ, but there are dozens of books, journals and articles to help find the best topics for self-reflection.
Many people live by the “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” rule, but here’s to ‘working for the job you want’. For example, if you are interested in advancing a career in marketing, you should reprioritize your workload to give the greatest number of labour hours to assignments that will boost your portfolio or help you network in your industry, rather than taking on projects that are unrelated. Don’t be distracted by fantasy – there is still a job to be done, but this doesn’t mean that there isn’t time to focus on the projects that will help you advance. When prioritizing, try to be specific about what does and doesn’t match your criteria. Identify the small menial tasks as well as the larger projects that align with a growth path. By doing so, you can establish yourself as a specialist, and may be looked at more favourably for the next promotion in that department.
In the world of business, and maybe now more than ever with the move to digital workplaces, communication is key. Every interaction has a trade-off, usually between time and efficiency. Twenty minutes spent every day in a meeting is an additional 1 hour and 40 minutes per week that could be spent on work – so inefficiencies in communication add up quickly. By streamlining your communication – whether it’s the choice to hold one long meeting per week, or several smaller ones, you can reduce the number of lost hours and refocus them onto the projects that will advance your career. The Harvard Business Review reported that top companies and executives continuously evaluate their internal communications strategies. The study showed that companies who take the time to communicate effectively had a 5-year return to shareholders that was 47 percent higher than their less-effective counterparts. That is a huge increase in performance and is sure to be noticed by senior leaders.