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Summary:

I am not the same worker I was last year. Too many things have happened in both my personal and professional lives that the strategies I had in the past are no longer working for me. But how do you know when things need to change?

I am not the same worker I was last year. Too many things have happened in both my personal and professional lives that the strategies I had in the past are no longer working for me.

As we change over time, our work strategies have to be flexible enough to accommodate these changes. Your work strategy is your plan of attack, the arsenal that helps you get through each workday with as much efficiency and motivation as possible. Your work strategy may include tools, productivity techniques, work processes and other important elements that are vital to your job.

But how do you know when things need to change? Here are some symptoms you might want to check for:

  • A change in your job description, regular tasks, or responsibilities. Were you promoted? Did you suddenly realize the importance of social media, leading you to spend more time on it? If you track your time once in a while it might be easier to spot these changes.
  • Lowered productivity. What is your output like compared to last year’s? Don’t worry if your output has lessened (you spend more time on tasks than usual) if it’s been offset by an improvement in quality. However, be concerned if there’s no change in quality or if you find your overall performance declining.
  • Your good ol’ motivators have a lesser effect. Whatever you use as motivation, whether it’s a snack after a difficult task or the thought of a job well done, gauge if it’s still as effective now as it was last year.
  • New concerns. Long before you establish long term goals, they are born at the back of your mind as “concerns” — little things that you ponder often but haven’t recognized as something that requires more action. This could be a new niche you want to get into, or a new skill you want to learn. Or you could be thinking about family and friends more often, not yet recognizing the need to socialize more with them. If you find a recurring thought at the back of your mind, it’s time to pay attention.
  • Thirst for experimentation. From trying out a standing work station to hiring a virtual assistant, it doesn’t hurt to explore and experiment with new ways of working — even if you think you’re already doing well. As long as it’s not too disruptive to your current routine, of course.

Unsurprisingly, I find that I’m experiencing many of these things as I evaluate my performance from the first half of the year. This means it’s probably time for me to go back to the drawing board, experiment — as well as carry over the things from my routine that are still working for me today. It may take effort, but we all have to change and adapt.

How often do you evaluate your performance during the year? Do you find yourself changing your work strategy regularly?

Photo by stock.xchng user bury-osiol

  1. Just when I made an overhaul of my career that I came across your post. Nice pointers you wrote here. I guess, one marker for me is when things become boring and I’ve become complacent. It’s like eating your favorite pizza. At first, you’re excited. But if you get to eat the same serving each day, that’s a different story then. I think being a freelancer is tough since you don’t get performance reviews from a third party like when you are employed. You know you’re good but no one’s there to tell you that you need to be better. It’s tough.

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