How to Be Awesome At Work

You are going to be working a lot of the time, so you might as well learn how to be awesome at work.

Try to be good at what you do, and be a positive influence on the office, your colleagues and the organisation. Here’s some tips.

And Bobblehead Yoda. You can never go wrong with Bobblehead Yoda.

BE NICE I cannot stress enough how important it is to treat your colleagues with respect and kindness. You’re all in it together, you’re on the same boat: Might as well get along, help each other out and be friendly.

Being nice is not the same as not being honest and not giving important feedback. Constructive criticism is important, but it should be delivered in a helpful manner.

DON’T BE THE NEGATIVE NANCY/STRESSY SUSAN OF THE OFFICE We all experience stress, we all have horrible days, we all feel like we need to just find a straw and take a bath in Pinot Grigio to deal with our job. (Not all the time, I hope)

What we should NEVER do, is take it out on our colleagues and be the bad influence on everyone’s mood.

Being the sourpuss that’s complaining all the time while nervously biting her nails and fighting heart burn is not good for you, NOR the environment you and others work in.

Find constructive ways to deal with stress, both inside and outside of the office. Vent to a colleague that’s close to you, not to everyone who is currently at the water cooler. Go outside for a short walk and clear your head, don’t explode when the secretary accidentally calls you by the wrong name.

In other words, be emotionally stable. It’s functional, and calming to others.

KEEP YOUR PRIORITIES IN LINE One of the hardest things to do in your job is to keep focusing on your key priorities, instead of running around and just reacting to whatever flies at you.

It is very helpful to review your key objectives at the beginning of each week, write to do lists in which you prioritise and block hours in your schedule that are specifically for those tasks, no matter what.

USE YOUR TIME EFFECTIVELY One word: Pomodoro. You (and your boss, and your colleagues) will thank me for it later.

It may not sound like much, but it really adds up. If you do 8-10 Pomodoro daily time intervals of uninterrupted, focused work? I’m pretty sure you do more than the average person does in 3 working days.

DO SOMETHING EXTRA There are things that aren’t technically part of my job description, but because they further help my basic understanding and knowledge of the institution I work for I still do them. I take minutes at a monthly meeting of the program committee, I go to lunch lectures about research, I help out when I can.

Additionally, cleaning the pantry and making other people coffee is definitely not part of my tasks, but when I have a couple of minutes to spare I always do it. I don’t mind doing it if it contributes to a clean and pleasant lunch area and friendly atmosphere.

Not everything has to be immediately reflected in a pay check or a result. At work it’s good to also do things that don’t have pay-off other than adding to your general knowledge, or the general well-being of everyone.

THINK/WORK LONG TERM You have to keep the end results and bigger picture in mind to be able to keep working effectively from a day-to-day basis. This includes the long term effects for you as an employee, but also for the bigger picture of your company. In terms of results, reputation, profits, whatever.

It’s good to keep the bigger picture in mind.

How to do that? Click.

DEVELOP YOURSELF Don’t be afraid to ask for extra coaching, enroll in relevant Coursera courses, sign up for personal leadership or time management classes: Anything that helps you develop your skill set and knowledge further is a win for you and everyone else at work.

THINK FOR OTHERS Whenever I’m working on something, I always do a little run in my head of all the people who are involved in that particular area, who might become involved and who I might have to include/help out or inform. If other people are involved, I try to think of what I need to do in other to make their job easier and try to include this.

There is no guarantee you’ll always be able to, but it is a good exercise in being proactive, planning ahead and being of a helpful colleague.

THINK FOR YOURSELF Every company needs to have free thinkers that come up with ideas and suggestions that might be interesting. Whenever you do a project, think of what you would want to include in it, think of what it is missing in your eyes. Your perspective is unique, and that can be really valuable.

GO TO WORK EVENTS I used to be the worst with this. I get awkward when I am a little insecure or uncertain about myself in a social situation. At work, where people can judge you on your performance, I worry people actually think I’m horrible at my job and that makes me a little awkward around colleagues that I find intimidating.

But if you don’t interact with the people that intimidate you, they will STAY intimidating FOREVER!

So I actively try to be more social, going to lunch, to drinks and to company outings. Took me a while, but it helps in the Scary Great Colleagues Department. It makes them a lot more approachable if you get to know them a little bit more.

I highly recommend it, because the more you know people at work, the more fun work becomes. Colleagues are a big part of your day-to-day routine, and it’s nice to get to know them. Plus, if you know what people do, you also know who to go to.

So there you have it, 10 tips on how to be Awesome at Work. And remember, when in doubt, work hard, be nice and bring coffee.

Later dudes.


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