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Whether you are an entrepreneur running your own small business, or whether you are working as an employee in a conventional job role, no one likes to imagine that they will stagnate in their professional life and be in more or less the same place they are now, five years down the line.
Instead, the ideal is to become exponentially more effective in your professional life as time goes on, and for that increased effectiveness and competence to be rewarded by a greater degree of seniority, responsibility, financial compensation, decision-making power, and more
While the specific things you have to do in order to increase your effectiveness in your career will depend largely on what it is you do for a living, there are nonetheless a few general overall principles that can help you to ensure that you remain on the right track, as time goes by.
So, here are some tips for becoming more effective in your professional life as time goes on, so that the future continues to be brighter and brighter.
Use services to help you understand data and trends better
“Knowledge is power” is a well-established saying that speaks to the importance of lifelong learning both in a personal and professional context.
But it’s one thing to have an assortment of general data points, and it’s quite another thing to be able to manage, track, review, and catalogue data appropriately so that you can make the most meaningful and incisive decisions going forward.
These days, there are a variety of tools and platforms out there designed to help you understand data and trends better, and it’s certainly well worth your while to avail yourself of the services of the best data science agency you can find.
Knowledge is power – but properly leveraged and applied knowledge is perhaps the most powerful of all.
Hone your ability to focus, and systematically eliminate distractions
The writer, professor, and productivity guru, Cal Newport, believes that one of the most pernicious threats to people’s professional success these days is the general diminishing of the skill of focus, and the ability to do what Newport describes as “deep work.”
According to Newport, the near future promises significant advances in AI and machine learning technology, and in sophisticated tools that can handle “shallow” tasks more reliably, across a range of different industries and professions.
The consequence of this is that the greatest amount of job security is to be found in the “deep work” that is most human – the stuff that requires genuine applied focus, and advanced problem solving skills.
The key is that “deep work” can only really be achieved when you put yourself in a situation with as few distractions as possible, and where you then dedicate your entire attention to the task at hand, consistently, for a prolonged period.
In his book “Deep Work,” Newport cites research showing that even just checking your phone for a brief moment can impair your ability to engage in deep focus for as much as the next half an hour.
In order to grow your competence as time goes on, it might be that one of the best things you can do is to nurture your ability to focus intently on one thing at a time, and to do “deep work.”
Commit to the concept of 1% daily improvement
If someone tells you to completely transform and overhaul every element of your business, you will likely be completely a loss for what to do, where to start, or how to carry the process through in any meaningful sense to its conclusion.
The goal is just too big and difficult to grapple with.
What is far more straightforward and easy to grapple with, however, is the concept of improving by micro-increments on a daily basis – as is advocated by the Japanese concept of “kaizen.”
If you set yourself a goal of improving one or another feature of your professional life and performance by 1% on a daily basis, that will be the kind of goal that will actually be – and seem – manageable. And, once you’ve applied this ethos for long enough, the overall growth you’ve experienced may be truly remarkable.
Add as many skills to your “skill stack” as you can
Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comics, argues that he has taken a long and winding path to professional success – and that this is the path to success which is much more reliable.
One thing that Adams argues everyone should do if they want to enhance their ability to succeed in general, is to work on adding as many skills to their “skill stacks” as possible.
In essence, this means that you should aim to become as dynamic and versatile as you possibly can – whether that means learning new languages, studying coding, or any number of other things.
The more you can do, the more effective and insightful you are likely to be in a variety of areas, and the more prospective employers will tend to see you as useful and even indispensable.