Everyone wants to get ahead at the office, but in the modern age, blindly grinding away isn’t the best approach.
We polled the experts for ways you can work smarter, not harder, to get a leg up on your co-workers and stand out from the pencil-pushing pack.
Try these tips for using your time more wisely at the office, and watch your performance soar.
1. Use after-work hours to make coworker connections.
We know what you’re thinking: “But you said I wouldn’t have to do more work.” Don’t worry. This tip doesn’t require too much heavy lifting. In fact, it could even involve drinks! Relationship and career expert April Masini of AskApril.com suggests looking for deficiencies in the workplace and filling them.
“For instance, if there’s a negative aura over the office because cliques and competition have taken the fun and the productivity out of the work, organize a bowling party or hike and lunch event for co-workers,” Masini says. “You’ll change the way you’re seen, and the way you lead in other areas of work, as well as the office productivity and atmosphere.” Impress your bosses and co-workers and nail a 7-10 split? Sounds good to us.
2. Extend your energy by waiting to eat lunch.
Ever had that overwhelming desire to crawl under your desk and take a nap at 2 or 3 p.m.? That fatigue can wear you out and definitely won’t help you get ahead. A lighter, smaller lunch with fewer calories and sugar means less of a crash before 5 p.m., which equals more time for you to show you’re a star.
That’s why the folks at Seamless Corporate suggest waiting to chow down on an office feast. Bonus: There’s a health benefit. “You’ll be less likely to continue eating if you’re the only one still munching, and there will likely be less left for seconds,” says Robyn Youkilis, National Consultant For Health for Seamless. “Plus, you can then ask people what was good and actually worth the calories.” You’ll be lean, energized and looking like a straight shooter with upper management written all over you.
3. Adapt to technologies that save time.
It’s easy to fall into a rut at work and do seemingly the same tasks over and over again. If that happens, you’re not going to get anywhere. “Stop learning to use computer technology and the Internet. Learn to leverage it,” advises Robert King, the founder of EntelliPROJ Consulting. “You’ll spend 60 to 90 percent of your work day using technology. Most people use it the same way they did last year and last decade.”
The takeaway? Evolve by keeping up on the latest programs and apps that can make your job easier, then inject them into your modus operandi to juice things up and be more productive.
4. In your spare time, ask questions and get involved.
It’s great if you’re putting in the work and killing it at the office, but sometimes that can go unnoticed or unappreciated. So make yourself visible by talking to the higher-ups as much as possible. “Encourage transparency from your executive team,” suggests Karen Miller, Vice President of the People Team at Seamless. “The more you know about what’s going on at the company, the more direction you’ll have and the better you’ll be at your job.”
Now we know we said you wouldn’t have to work harder, but this part might require a little extra effort. Get involved in group projects whenever you can to expose yourself to other departments and bosses. You’ll learn more, and you just might catch the eye of someone who can give you a boost up that corporate ladder.
5. Go outside your comfort zone.
Last but not least, shake things up a bit. This move could also involve drinks. (You’re welcome.) Masini suggests inviting someone in your office that you don’t know, even someone you think is the weirdest person in the building, to lunch, coffee or drinks.
“This is a great way to build relationships and respect and educate yourself on what you thought was right, and wasn’t, about people,” Masini says. What you build and learn could come in very handy down the road.
Of course, once you do reach these lofty corporate heights, make sure to remember us on payday. We’re very reasonable. Fifty percent cut, maybe?