Friday, May 15, 2009

10 Ways to Be More Successful in 10 Minutes or Less

Endless emails. Countless voicemails. An inbox that’s piled 8” high. With all the daily demands of your job, who has time to focus on career development?

You do. If you can find just 10 extra minutes in your busy workday, you can accomplish one of the tasks below. Each of these simple ideas will put you one step closer to getting the recognition, raise or promotion you want.

1. Ask someone in another department to explain his job to you.

Find out how other positions relate to your own – and the organization as a whole. Develop a “big picture” perspective now, and you’ll more readily identify opportunities to make a positive impact in the future.

2.Propose a new idea.

Spend 10 minutes brainstorming: a solution to an existing problem; ways your company could generate additional revenue; ideas for saving money around the office. Present your best ideas to your boss. Positive, constructive suggestions for making your company more successful will always enhance your image.

3. Ask your boss out to lunch.

During your meal, find out more about what makes him tick (and ticked-off). Ask him what his priorities are and incorporate them into your own. Show him that you understand the issues he faces and you’re sure to make your mark.

4. Clean your desk.

Go through those stacks of paperwork and over-stuffed file drawers. Eliminate as much of the clutter and trash as you can. A clean desk will help you think more clearly, improve your efficiency, and show others that you take pride in your space – as well as your work.

5. Talk yourself up.

When it comes to your career development, “who knows you” is often as important as “who you know.” Here are a few quick ideas get onto key executives’ radar screens, without coming across as a braggart:

• Accept credit graciously when your hard work has paid off.
• Email your boss a brief weekly status report, outlining your major
accomplishments and upcoming projects.
• Present your group’s milestones at the next business planning meeting.

6.Organize your email.

Have an inbox with 500 outdated messages? Go through it and purge. Then, if you regularly send emails to the same groups of people, spend a few minutes creating key contact groups. This process will make sending emails to multiple recipients much more efficient and ensure nobody is left outof-the-loop.

7. Write a To Do list.

Prioritize your existing projects and job responsibilities. Next, enter them into a simple “To Do” program (e.g., Microsoft Outlook) that will provide pop-up reminders for your meetings, tasks, deadlines, etc. You’ll be able to take your mind off lesspressing items – and focus more productively on what you’re doing now.

8. Tie up loose ends.

Need to turn in expenses? Move last quarter’s files into storage? Make a few follow-up phone calls? Take 10 minutes and cross a few of these small items off your list. You’ll be amazed how much better you feel when you’ve tied up those loose ends – and your To Do list will have room for fresh challenges.

9. Start a portfolio.

Keep track of your professional accomplishments and contributions by assembling a simple portfolio that showcases your skills and experience. Start by highlighting your most recent projects, and then work backward as time permits (10 focused minutes a week will yield results quickly). When it comes time to make your case for a raise or promotion, your portfolio will prove an invaluable tool.

10.Write a thank you note.

Too often in business, we fail to take the time to show co-workers our appreciation. So if you’ve recently received a helping hand from a colleague – on a project, or with your professional development – send that person a hand-written thank you note. The respect, kindness and personal touch of a handwritten thank you will create a lasting positive impression of you in the recipient’s mind.