If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it; if you can’t manage it, you can’t improve it.
I advanced quickly at my current job. Productivity and efficiency are some of my core values, so it was easy to apply the mindset and tactics to my work.
Even the smallest productivity gain, say 1% monthly compounded over 40 years, is invaluable. Thus, it’s worth figuring out how to optimize productivity, and develop new ways of doing recurrent tasks more efficiently. If you’re able to get 10% more done and get 1% better every day compared to your peers, the difference between the final products are massive.
I have been committed to personal growth and improvement for as long as I can remember, challenging myself to learn, create, and expand my skill set. Though I made huge strides in my personal life, it still blew my mind when I took on my first management position and truly had the chance to apply the principles.
I took on the entry-level position nearly five years ago and was promoted to department manager within one month. I have a 15-page excel sheet of every recurring task I’ve ever conducted, which contains duration, objectives, targets, notes, and supporting resources (e.g., my employees).
I consistently aim for 10%: shave 10% of task time, negotiate vendor costs down by 10%, or increase accuracy by 10%. In five years, I’ve never missed the mark. That’s required several 60-hour weeks, but I was able to anticipate and prepare for those long weeks ahead of time. I have achieved unheard of feat–I’ve done the impossible, simply by tracking, managing, and continually striving to improve my performance.
I believe that anyone can achieve the same by simple planning, plotting, and review. Say for example you would like to be promoted within your job. First, access your current performance: are you kicking butt or dragging your feet? Next, watch your peers–they are your competition, so observe and analyze where they’re failing and succeeding. Since you want to outshine them, determine the goal (e.g., increase sales by 20% within the month), break down the goal (e.g., sell 3 additional units per day, on average), and then measure progress and adjust sub-goals accordingly (e.g., only sold 2 on Monday, so need to sell at least 4 on Tuesday). The continual awareness and recalibration will serve you well, both in the workplace and beyond.
I’ve had many conversations where friends have become comfortable in their job and stopped putting in effort. It’s true that some employers do not reward exceptional performance, but I believe that the practice itself is a rewarding tool–a tool that bolster your resume and help your long-term job performance and prospects.
Society is quick to pick on the “lazy and entitled millennials” and, though I think that’s inaccurate on top of politically incorrect, an increased performance in the workplace will set you worlds apart from the stereotype and, hopefully, offer you the opportunity to advance quickly in areas that you find interesting, challenging, and engaging.