13 Sure-Fire Ways to Improve Poor Work Performance

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Work performance refers to how well and effectively someone completes their work. Being skilful is not the same as being productive, so having a specific skill set doesn’t guarantee that you will be able to work efficiently.

It’s understandable that the only time most of us spend a significant amount of time thinking about it is during our annual review. But if you’re one of those people, you may be doing yourself a disservice. After all, you’re creative, talented, and productive. So, why wouldn’t you want to improve yourself?

If you focus on becoming more efficient and improving your poor work performance, you will reap the rewards over time. It may even help you achieve more success in both your life and work.

So, let’s explore the best ways to improve your work performance and make the most of your potential.

1. Do away with distractions where possible

The impact of distractions on work performance cannot be overstated. According to a survey conducted by Udemy in 2018:

  • 50% of workers say they are less productive than they would like.
  • 20% aren’t reaching their full potential and moving forward in their careers.
  • 84% take around half an hour to concentrate fully again after being distracted.

These stats do not bode well for work performance, but they are hardly surprising given our access to the internet and notifications coming at us left, right, and centre. Now, more than ever, it’s easy to become distracted.

These distractions in themselves may not matter, but they may be part of the reason for poor work performance if you repeatedly get side-tracked by these things when you’re under stress.

Therefore, you should do what you can to avoid falling prey to them.

  • Switch your mobile to the do not disturb mode or turn it off when working.
  • Wear headphones to cut down on the noise around you or work in a quiet place if you can.
  • Reward yourself when you reach small milestones, to give yourself the motivation to continue working.
Woman working on a laptop, looking at a report.
Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

2. Break larger tasks into smaller chunks

This is especially useful when you’re working on a big project. By splitting your tasks into achievable milestones, you make it more likely that you’ll stay on track and maintain a high level of performance. Assign dates to each task according to when they need to be finished to ensure that the entire project is completed by the deadline. Make sure you give yourself time to complete each task to a high standard so that the entire finished project is excellent.

3. Focus on one task at a time to conquer poor work performance

It’s not unusual to find people multitasking at work. It may seem that by multitasking you can get more done, but research suggests that it can lead to a 40% decrease in levels of productivity. It may also affect the quality of your work. It may be better and more efficient to concentrate on a single task and do it to the best of your ability before moving on.

  • Prioritise tasks according to importance and work on each separately. You can use the Eisenhower Matrix to help you do this.
  • If you do this, you will stay focused on each task and complete it quickly because you will be working more efficiently and effectively.
  • Say no to work that may direct your focus away from the task at hand and make sure your boss is aware that you can’t multitask and maintain a good quality work performance.

4. Work on your time management skills

It’s crucial to use your time properly if you want to work effectively. You can’t afford to waste time if you want to perform well, and we all have deadlines to meet.

So, if you have a poor work performance record, practice improving your time management skills. Soon, you’ll see a huge improvement in how effectively you can work and an upsurge in your productivity.

  • Block time off that is dedicated to doing specific tasks.
  • Use the Pomodoro Method and apps to make efficient use of your time and build frequent breaks into your routine to give your brain a breather from time to time.
  • Do what you can to avoid distractions while you’re working if you want to make the best use of the time you allocated to a particular task.

5. Prioritise important tasks so you can tackle them first

 In our day jobs, we are all assigned several tasks each week. Often, we find ourselves with more on our plates than we can deal with. Thus, it becomes necessary to prioritise and rank tasks in order of importance.

  • Take note of the deadlines you’re given for each project.
  • If you have work that’s due in a week and work that needs to be completed in a month, it makes sense to focus on the work due in a week.
  • If time does not enter into the equation, consider which task will have the worst consequences if it is not done soon. Then focus on that one.

6. Come up with clear goals

To bring your work performance up a few notches, you’ll want to devise clear achievable goals. When you’re doing this, it’s vital that you don’t bog yourself down and burn out before you reach your goal.

Think about your strengths and limitations and how much work you can get done in a specific timeframe so you set goals you can achieve.

  • Set goals that align with the goals of your company or business.
  • Keep your goals relevant and make sure you change them if they are outdated.
  • Make sure you can meet your goals within a set period of time.

7. Don’t forget the importance of communication

If you want to ensure that your whole team gets good results, you’ll need to be able to communicate well. So, make sure you let your team know what is going well and what could be improved upon to boost poor work performance.

  • Ask for help if you’re struggling with a particular task to avoid wasting time.
  • Find ways to improve your communication skills.
  • Share any concerns with your team sooner rather than later, so that issues can be worked out before becoming a bigger problem.

8. Work as a team to get the best results

Don’t try to do everything on your own if you want to get the best results. You might need different skills and levels of expertise to complete specific tasks.

  • Hand out tasks based on your co-workers’ skills and experience in different fields.
  • If you are assigned a task related to a field you have little knowledge of, ask a colleague who knows something of it for advice.

9. Use the right tools

One of the main reasons for worsening performance is not having the knowledge to use the most valuable resources and tools available to you. To be productive at work, you should become accustomed to using tools designed to help improve your performance.

  • Use tools you like and make the most sense to you so that you can focus on your work rather than spending inordinate amounts of time learning how to use the tools.
  • Be flexible and try out new tools every so often to see if you can use them to improve the quality of your work.

10. Develop healthy habits

It’s impossible to perform well at work and be productive when you’re not in good health, so you must pay attention to it and build good habits. Doing so will boost both your mood and motivation and make you more likely to work effectively. You will likely also find you can focus more easily.

  • Take regular breaks throughout the workday to refresh yourself.
  • Walk to work if possible or try to get a bit of fresh air during your lunch break if that’s more practical.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Eat healthily.
  • Exercise regularly and make sure you get enough sleep.

11. Build a learning habit

The skills and knowledge we need in order to do our jobs are constantly evolving. So, build a learning habit to stay one step ahead of your peers and keep pace with an ever-changing world. You can do this by keeping abreast of developments within your field or industry, reading, listening to podcasts, or even watching videos.

  • Find experts you admire within your field, follow them on social media and check out their blogs.
  • Read books written by industry experts to learn from them.
  • Check out YouTube videos that interest you.
  • Enrol in online courses to advance your skills.
  • Go the extra mile to learn something new and maintain an edge over your colleagues.

12. Finish what you begin

We all leave tasks unfinished from time to time. However, doing so isn’t great if you want to work effectively because it can create problems down the line that can result in poor work performance and damage productivity.

  • If you need to, give yourself more time to complete a task before focusing your attention elsewhere. This will save you from having to pick up where you left off when you come back and finish it.
  • Organise your workload and break tasks down into milestones you know you can manage.
  • Then make sure you give yourself enough time to complete one job before moving on to the next.

13. Reconsider how you work

If you’ve worked the same job for a while, then the chances are that you have a routine you go through each day repeating similar tasks again and again. If you fall into that sort of pattern, it can be tricky to pinpoint what might be affecting your performance. Take some time to reflect on the way you work to start making small changes to improve.

  • Remember it’s usually quicker to communicate over your PC or laptop than using your phone.
  • Keep an eye out for behaviours that are influencing your performance.
  • When you spot something, put effort into doing what you can to lessen the negative impacts of that specific behaviour on your work.

Wrapping up

So, there you have it. You can use any or all of these suggestions to help improve your performance. Even if you implement one or two of these methods, you may see a definite uptick in your productivity.

So, start experimenting today to find the best way for you to improve your poor work performance and work effectively to get more done in less time.

Published by Lizzie

Lizzie here. I'm a freelance copywriter and editor based in the UK. I'm also passionate about volunteering and hold a MA in History from the University of Warwick. I've written for a multitude of fantastic websites and companies, including a legal automation software company, a dog training site and more. Check out my reviews on Fiverr and Upwork for more info!

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