2 habits that show you are trustworthy and mature

I know a developer who lusts after all the sexy projects. He asks for them and he wants to talk about them. You might think this kind of enthusiasm makes you a star in your boss’s eyes. And it can, up to a point. But what if my developer wants to talk about the sexy projects with a handful of unfinished ones still on his plate?

That’s a dangerous habit for your career because it can give your boss the impression that you’re a lightweight – someone who will try to take on everything that comes your way leaving unfinished and half-ass work in your wake.

Those who really succeed, do so by handling a few important projects really well. Below are two critical ingredients to making that happen.

the importance of knowing your bosses priorities1. Know your boss’s priorities and live by them. He’s the one who decides what’s important and what’s not. If you are not getting clear guidance, you’ll need to ask questions until you really know how to rank what you’re working on. Help your boss understand the trade-offs.

If you want to talk about something that’s not  currently near the top of your list of important projects, make sure you first give an update on the top projects presently underway before bringing up a new subject.

2. Say ‘no’ when low priority items will degrade your performance on important projects. Just as it’s tempting for you to take on every project your boss mentions, it’s also tempting for your boss to give you too many projects. We all have eyes that are too big for our stomachs. When you say ‘no,’ you are simply introducing some reality into the discussion and that’s a mark of maturity.

You’d be wise to say ‘no’ gently, however. You might say something like “Eric, can you help me prioritize that in relation to my other projects?” and follow up with “Based on those priorities, I’ll probably be hitting that project next quarter, does that work for you?”

When you focus religiously on your boss’s priorities, you’ll earn a reputation for strong execution, for accepting guidance well and good teamwork. Your boss will know that you understand the meaning of ‘less is more’.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to remove.”

–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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  • My first job was in the restaurant business. I started as a hostess but wished to be promoted to a server. I thought I was doing everything right by attempting to run the entire store every time I walked through the doors. While it caught the manager’s attention, it didn’t catch it in the best way. I was perceived as trying to bite off more than I could chew and not doing my best on every task. This was true. It wasn’t until I realized that I should complete the more important, high priority tasks, first with gusto and precision before handling the more menial tasks that I was finally promoted.

  • This reading hits the nail right in the head.  People need to understand that it is very important to learn how to say no, not only in the workplace, but on their everyday life.  Failure to learn how to say no may bring you into situations you are not really comfortable with such as buying a product you do not need simply because you are too shy to tell the salesperson you are not interested.  In the workplace saying no can even safe your reputation by showing your boss and work members that you know what your limits are and just how much you can take into your own hands and still deliver a quality job.

  • In my experience being too shy to say no put me in uncomfortable situations one being when I was activating my first credit card and the representative kept offering me services such as payment protections plans and things of that nature.  By not saying no I ended up signing up for all these kind of services that I did not really want and was paying money for them, later on I gathered the courage to call back and cancel all of those services and realized it is okay to say no.

  • In my line of work I have to be able to say no on behave of the owner. I am a bartender, and there is no way to advance, however there is always someone who wants a free drink or a cheaper price. I have to be the face of the establishment and in a nice and gently tone tell the customer No in a Firm manner in which the customer understands it is a no. I am no way to offend the customer but I am not allowsed to ask the manager to deal with ever situations of a customer asking for a free drink. 

  • I have been working for a theater company for the past 5 years as the Production Manager. In this position my boss, the director, is constantly asking me to organize things and make sure everything is ready when it is either time for rehearsal or the performances. Though every aspect of the production process in theater is important, the director has major and minor priorities. I know that as soon as I arrive to rehearsal I personally organize the most important set pieces, I settle the cast, and I ensure that everything is in its place for the night to begin. This is done solely by me in order for the director to know rehearsal can start on time. Yet, when cast members ask me questions about props or costumes, or smaller pieces need to be placed on the set, I assign these actions to my crew. This requires me to say “no” to the individual in particular and hand the task off to someone else so that I know the most important aspects of the set are in place. 
    This procedure has lead my boss to know that she can rely on me to have everything she needs ready on time. Yet, I also must rely on other individuals to help me achieve this level of perfection. In the end, the hustle of these nights help to create a beautiful production that my boss can be proud of. 

  • I am working at my second job during high school.  I am very respectful, use my manners, and smile.  At this point I am doing what I am asked to do, and learning things to straighten, sweep and organize that I am not asked to do.  

  •  I learned this the hard way.  Having a hard time turning down a project, event or appointment only led to disaster.  I was so busy filling in the slots in my planner that my schedule was running me tired.  So tired that tardiness was sneaking into my habits and lost motive to do, do and do.  Thankfully, when the opportunity came knocking again, I knew exactly how to handle it and learned how to prioritize school, work and extra-curricular activities.  At the end of the day earning an A and receiving a paycheck for a job well done is quite alright in my book.

  • I have had numerous bosses and each one thought that every new project needed to be done ASAP, but by learning to set priorities with my bosses approval was a good first step to making the most of the job.

  • Before enrollment at my current university, i worked as an administrative secretary at a clinic. I had to report to nurses, but most importantly the doctors on call. Knowing the number one priority of the doctors, which was tending to patients with sufficient time to meet their needs, equipped me to be fast paced in finding files and greeting patients. At my time there I kept the team motivated, and at my low points, I motivated myself by keeping the right mindset about my role at that job and future jobs.

  • Organizing priorities is the most important aspect of any successful person. At my job as a secretary, I have to stay as organized as possible at all times in order to stay on top of everything that needs to get done. I also have to prioritize the paperwork into what has to be completed first, and take into consideration what will take the most time to complete. Doing this has earned my supervisor’s respect. 

  • One habit to show that one is trustworthy and mature is to be punctual. One particular company for which I worked promoted me over an employee with more experience because I was always early to work and ready to begin working on time.

    Another habit to show that one is trustworthy and mature is to keep your boss’ business confidential. One should not waste company time handling personal matters or talking with others about conversations with one’s boss. Sometimes your boss might give you a tasty morsel of gossip just to test you to see if you will break his or her confidence.

  • A wise man once told me that successful people always know how to prioritize. I never knew what this meant because I tried to always do everything for everyone at my job. No matter what job I held, I would eventually burn myself out because I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say no to anyone. Now that I have some experience under my belt, I realize that bosses respect you more when you learn how to say no and prioritize your work. This is a good lesson to learn and some of us have to learn it the hard way. I now know that bosses and colleagues alike have more respect for you and take you more seriously when you learn to say no. It takes a lot of maturity to learn to put things into priority and I wish I had known this lesson early on in my career path.

    • I agree Khadija, organizing and prioritizing wether its a new or existing organization enables one to incorporate strategic planning into it business and ensure longevity. The prioritizing his or her future goals, plans, and work load ensure that they first do not over burren themselves, as well as ensuring positive result on those project already on his or her plate.

  • This article really hits home for me. Throughout my undergraduate career, I very much had to balance and prioritize the tasks I needed to accomplish. There were numerous occasions where I told people there needed to be more hours in a day, or that a time machine would be a priceless gift.

    I have always had a weak spot when it comes to helping someone else. While this is not a flaw, by any means, I would also sacrifice time that I needed for myself (be it sleeping, homework, exercising, etc.) in order to help others. I knew it was inconvenient, but I didn’t think I could stomach the guilt of not helping everyone who asked.

    This all changed for my the fall semester of my junior year. I had just switched from art to chemistry as my major, and I was trying to catch up. I was taking organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry at the same time. In addition, I was taking a “for fun” art internship class where we were tasked with building a video game. Oh, and I was voted the Art Lead, given my leadership abilities. To top it all off, I was also participating in a research lab, and I spent a majority of my non-class time in there.

    I was able to keep up with all of my work, but I was tired and I was slacking on working out. The lack of sleep and exercise had me feeling really run down, and I was talking with a friend about all of it. During this time, several new clubs that I was interested in (along with the extra curriculars I was already in) popped up and ate up more of my time. My friend mentioned that I needed to genuinely stop offering to help everyone and hoarde some time for myself. I thought on it, and a few days later I was able to put myself to the test. The same friend I had talked to asked me to wake her up at 7:30 so she could get ready for breakfast. Not only would that mean I had to wake myself up earlier, but she was also in a dorm that was a good distance from my own. I told her I’d send her a text, but I wasn’t showing up in person.

    After that, I really started thinking about how run down I felt, and I started backing off on how much I extended myself beyond my time limits. In my case, I was greatly deficient in two important areas of my life, sleeping and exercising, and I was juggling far too many tasks at once. Since then, I have gotten much better about balancing what I “need” to get done.

  • I have always thought to do everything that was presented to me. Multitasking had been ingrained in me because of labor cutbacks an turning a profit. Being able to priotitize projects and then work on a single project until it is finished with precision while being able to communicate the importance of your projects and timelines for their beginnings and finishings can reduce stress and anxiety( as well as sloppy work) at work.

  • Billie Jean King stated that “pressure is a privilege” and this stands true in work environments as in many others. In a work environment a boss giving an employee is a sign of trust and belief that the employee is not a moron, knows how to prioritize, and will get the job done. The opposite side to that statement is that everyone has limits, and you have to know and acknowledge your own.

  • Knowing how to proiritize in a working enviroment is very important; when I worked in England, i worked for a college and found that proiritization is very important,especially when coordinating a projects for the boss.
    I have found that bosses repects workers that can prioritize, be organized, works efficiently with co-workers and are productive in thier task. When we able to prioritize our work task, it improves the quality and productivity of your work.

  • It is important to learn to manage yourself and know what your personal limitations are. Learning to say “no” is the hardest lesson to learn and master. As a nurse, it is vitally important that you learn how to manage your self and your time. To create the best outcomes for your patients, you need to be able to balance your load and create good outcomes from your interactions with patients and other staff. Learning to say “no” is hard, but it is important because as a nurse, you cannot be everywhere at once. By not doing everything, you can do the things you are doing more successfully and know that the product you put out is something that you are satisfied with.

  • I think it’s important to say “no”. Some people find it hard to do because they are so concerned with whether or not their bosses will like them or not. Sure having your boss in good opinion is important and useful but in my experience it is better to be honest about how much you can actually handle. My mom used to say “Jack of all trades, master of none” and being a college student I am tempted to join many organizations and then to wear many hats within those organizations but in the past two years I have learned that doing a few things really well is better than doing many things badly. I am confident in my abilities and I know that the few projects/ assignments that I am responsible for speak for themselves.

  • I have always prioritized whether it was at work or at home. I believe the most important projects comes first unless a deadline is at hand for something that is non chalant. However, one thing I’ve learned through the years on a job what your boss say and want you to do may be more important than what you may think should be prioritized. I live by a firm rule “never bite the hand that feed you”. I say before you learn how to prioritize you need to know how to multi-task especially if you have a “BOSS’.

  • Learning to prioritize is a great lesson. I know from experience when taking on too much will cause you major headaches and lead to being unorganized. Everyone wants to be able to handle what the boss gives but there is a limit. Understanding whats expected each other and gaining the respect from your boss will lead to better teamwork in the long run.

  • At one of my first jobs, we had the task of washing down doors with a magic eraser and window cleaner. My boss remarked that we wanted to leave it like we could be proud of it. We could have just rushed through it and left some nasty marks on the door but we did not and afterwards when I walked through the building the doors looked nice and clean. It helped me to realize not to shortchange, but to focus on one thing at a time and do the best job you can with each.

  • This lesson makes important points. My “jobs” right now are
    to be a full-time student; a stay-at-home mother to an infant, toddler, and
    preschooler; and a housewife to an American soldier. There are days when I don’t
    prioritize and flit from one task to another, completing nothing to anyone’s
    satisfaction. On those days my home is a mess, my children are upset, my husband
    feels ignored, and my schoolwork feels unfinished. When I make a conscious
    decision, however, to prioritize my tasks at the beginning of the day my home
    runs smoothly and my classwork is accomplished to my satisfaction. It won’t be
    long before I enter the workforce in earnest, and I will remember that doing
    the most important things well is more conducive to professional success than
    doing many unimportant things and not doing anything well.

  • In strategic planning, prioritizing the task according to
    our boss’ needs is foundational for the accomplishment of the administrative
    and productive goals. This kind of coordination ensures that all combined
    efforts of both the administrators and the workers will result in productivity.
    And this requires realistic discipline, as Shannon suggested in his second
    advice. Assuming more responsibilities than what can handled without
    diminishing performance is prejudicial for the worker, and consequently to the
    company as a whole.

    I learned these lessons the hard way working in Andrews University. At the beginning, I decided to take as many tasks as possible, thinking that this would help me to gain my supervisor’s respect. Soon enough I got frustrated with my own performance since it was taking me very long to complete even a simple task. Fortunately, my supervisor approached the situation very responsibly and skillfully and I got to recover and to increase my production considerably.

  • I’m starting my sophomore year in college and this article was really helpful because of my position as an RA. Academically I am already swamped, but adding on clubs, a job, and RA responsibilities I am overwhelmed. I’m trying to succeed with all I do but I may be spreading myself too thin and I think my supervisor’s expectations for me may be a little too high.

    I am definitely taking this article to heart. Thanks!

  • I strongly agree with this article in that “lusting” after
    “sexy” projects is unnecessary to be a “star” in your boss’ eyes. When first becoming acquainted with my
    workplace, I virtually never ask for “sexy” jobs. I want to be sure I can handle the basic, yet
    equally imperative everyday tasks well before vying for greater
    responsibility. My first job was as a
    veterinary assistant at a small animal clinic.
    I frequently found myself engaging in the “non-sexy” tasks that the
    remainder of the staff seemed set on avoiding, such as answering the phones,
    cleaning the animal cages, and ordering supplies to stock the clinic. Yes, I would much rather have spent my time
    placing catheters and preparing animals for surgery, but I knew I needed to
    gain the respect of my boss before attempting to partake in these
    activities. I knew I needed to familiarize
    myself with the clinic operations.
    Within a few months, I had demonstrated my reliability and competency in
    completing some of the more mundane clinic duties and my boss took notice. She began seeking me out to help her with
    some of the more challenging clinic work, including administering fluids and
    restraining animals. My success in these
    areas soon led to even larger responsibilities, as I was promoted to surgery
    veterinary technician. The staff was amazed
    at how quickly I had climbed through the clinic ranks.

    As a zoo intern, I found that my willingness to complete any
    task to the best of my abilities provided me similar results. It is not that I avoided challenging
    work. Instead, I demonstrated my
    eagerness to learn and be a valuable team member through my positive attitude and
    enthusiasm to do absolutely anything my boss deemed important. I never acted as though any activity my boss
    asked me to complete was below me. Such
    an approach resulted in my being the first intern to receive a key to the
    animal exhibits so that I could finish certain tasks without supervision.

    believe that taking on the responsibilities no one else wants displays
    maturity, character, and leadership. The
    less “sexy” tasks are not always the least important ones, and they may
    actually be a higher priority for your boss.
    Furthermore, you have to be humble enough to realize you might not
    deserve to be trusted with large tasks before proving you are capable of
    completing smaller ones. You need the
    foundation before you can build the house.
    At the same time, you cannot shy away from the more challenging
    tasks. An eagerness and a confidence to
    complete the “unsexy” tasks easily translates into the motivation and the
    ability to successfully complete the “sexy” tasks.

  • I experienced this situation when I received a promotion at work which required me to undergo a fourteen week intensive training out of town. I knew that attending school full time while participating in the training would be an information overload for me and I subsequently took a leave of absence from school until after I finished my training and got situated back in my home office. I felt that there was a strong possibility that doing both would cause me to not be able to put forth my best effort at either and I would rather do one thing and do it well than do several things and not perform either one of them to the best of my ability.

  • I think these lessons can prove very helpful. I must admit I have not had a great deal of success with my jobs in the past. I always started out ‘gung-ho’ but by the end of the job I would feel hatred for the job, my bosses, my coworkers, and the customers! Now, form reading several of these articcles I can see where I went wrong. I never thought about what my bosses prioroties were or that I needed to consider them. I figured he or she was the boss, so that was their problem. Now, I recognize that if my boss does not do well then neither do I and vice versa. I also, have a hard time saying no at first, but then I later regret it because I have bitten off more than I can chew. By then it is too late to say no without seeming flaky or unreliable, so I end up stressing myself out trying to finish more than I can handle. I wish I had this site when I was in the workforce in the past but I am glad it exists now.

  • Being able to say no not only shows maturity but also shows a backbone. Being a YES-MAN/WOMAN will leave you overwhelmed with things and will hinder your performance. As I posted on the other page, relationships are key in the workforce and they will get you extremely far in life if you use healthy techniques and habits.

  • Failing to balance multiple projects is definitely something with which I’ve struggled! I thought it looked more impressive to have all those projects. I was actually afraid to say no when offered projects. I thought that it made me look weak.

    After having a nervous break down, I realized that it’s not how many projects I am balancing but rather my performance on each specific project. I realized that never saying no reflected my lack of confidence more than anything.

    My work is better after adapting the ‘less is more’ mentality like this article talks about. It mirrors my hard work.The work shows that, while completed in a timely fashion, it was not rushed. Knowing how to prioritize well is a valuable skill that I am glad to be honing!

  • Work, hard and get it done right. At my job I am not the top of the food
    chain or the main strand of rope but no matter how much impact one has
    at their job their effort, helps reduce strain on others. This leads to a
    cohesive effective unit. This doesn’t main you need to get along with
    every person who comes running in the door, but it doesn’t mean you
    cannot work together. When, it comes to a boss realize they are
    in-charge in and only as far as your job, you have full control over
    your life, and if you feel like the workload is to much you have every
    right to tell them, but don’t try and impress the boss by rushing
    through his projects or your setting the hurdle to high and setting
    yourself up for a very very hard landing. A job is a job it for me
    provides the core of my ability to pay for utilize, educational bills
    and personal enjoyments. It is how I can balance being a full time
    student and full time employee. I love what I do because I am through
    and appreciated by a reasonable amount of those in my public life.

    Get the job done right and get on to the next one, don’t view life like a race
    track but like a paint brush, taking your time focusing on whats
    in-front of you and periodically assessing whats ahead but crafting the
    best you can out of the present!

  • Just recently i have decided to get a job while in school because it is expensive. I have not wanted to work while in school because I have always liked to focus on just academics but right now it is tough to get the things that I need without a job and being from a single parent family my Mom does what she can. So now i realize that I have to do what I have to do in order to make it while I am on this educational journey in finding a great career, even if it means venturing out into the world of school and work.

  • This is a great post. I particularly liked the part regarding taking on to many projects or being given to many projects. Not without some trials and tribulations, I recently realized the significance of making each second count. I started a new job just over three years ago. I work in a small law office. I previously worked in banking, in large banks, where our expectations were pretty much written in stone.

    My new position had an interesting twist,my employer is blind. She is also an attorney. Her memory is along the lines of what I consider absolutely astonishing. She can remember everything. However, after working with her for a while I started to realize, that she cannot grasp time during the empty silent spaces that most of us fill up with body language. As a matter of fact for some reason all of her abilities are strong but unknowingly to her and to me for quite some time her sight disability causes her to not be able to relate time with work.

    In addition to the time issue, my new employer does not like to be upfront about her disability and will
    not say when there is something she cannot do. This created a very interesting work environment. At first, I would receive projects and thesewould be major projects. Shortly after assigning the project (about 5 minutes later) she would say did you finish thatfile. I was a little beside myself in the beginning but then I learned to narrate my actions. I would first, repeat to her what she asked me to do, to confirm my understanding.
    Second, I would just sort of talk as I worked such as, “I am getting the file, I am finding the petition so that I can use it to draft the answer, I am proofing the document, I need to retype a paragraph.”

    I know this may sound insane but it became what our relationship was built on. I eventually was able to tell her that I feel she may be misinterpreting time in some situations. The same thing would happen during Court hearings and with clients so it was not just me. As time went on my willingness to communicate with her in a way most adults most likely would not communicate (i.e.disclosing every single move they are making) created a trusting relationship that has benefited our small firm.

    The silence in the court room would throw her off and she would speak out of turn or repeat herself several times causing the Judge to be frustrated. The silence with the clients would cause many uncomfortable situations where everybody was left staring at each other or similar to my situation, while they filled out
    paperwork she would ask them over and over again if they were done while they were concentrating on trying to fill out paperwork or read a document.

    She worked eight years prior to my being hired. My being overloaded and learning to say, “No,” in a polite fashion worked wonders in our situation, and helped develop a better practice. We have now created ways to address the Court silence and handle the client’s. The best part of it all is that now I will ask her, “is she done yet?” It was a difficult situation, I did not want to dis credit her ability; however, I knew she was at times asking for the impossible. I agree that maturity goes a long way. If I was not level and mature and trustworthy this situation could have gone in a whole other direction.

  • this is extremely true. If you underestimate yourself your boss probably will too. if you know that what your boss has assigned you shows your strengths then do it happily and show your boss that you have what it takes.

  • There are two main ways to show that you are trustworthy and mature; honesty and respect.

    As a young child my parents instilled the cliche value of “honesty is the best policy”. Although at the time of learning it I did not fully comprehend the impact it would have on my life. Now everyone knows that an honest person is a trustworthy person, but honest builds integrity. Through integrity you are able to show people who you truly are as a person without having to actually be in front of them. My mom always said “It’s who you are behind closed doors with the spot light off that really shows who you are”. I took that to heart.

    Now with honesty, comes integrity, and with integrity comes the highly coveted respect. Respect is so coveted and so highly sought after that songs have even been made about it. Being able to show respect for someone shows maturity. In every job there is a “pecking order” if you will. Showing respect at the bottom will earn you respect at the top. Being able to show respect for your coworkers or peers is a sign of maturity. Showing and receiving respect graciously will in turn show people that you are a trustworthy and mature person.

  • I agree with many of the comments that have been previously stated. It is very important to be proficient, knowledgeable, and punctual. If you are not sure how to do something do all you can to learn how to do it and well.

  • In my current job, I have learned a few things about earning my boss’s respect. In order for my boss to think I was mature and trustworthy, I had to be comfortable asking questions about tasks I did not understand and I had to be able to solve a problem the best I could on my own.

    By asking question about tasks I was unsure of, I showed my boss that I wanted to get a job done correctly. Even if I had to take a little more time to figure how to the task, the task was done correctly the first time. More time would have been spent doing the task again. The more tasks that I completed correctly, the more my boss trusted me. I was able to take on bigger and more complex tasks. They were ensured that I would do a sufficient job.

    Being a good problem solver is an excellent skill to have. Some people are born with it and others take some time to learn it. In my job, I was able to learn it by watching other people. When I experienced a problem, I applied what I had learned from training as well as what I had observed from my coworkers. If I am able to solve a problem without having to get my boss involved it saves them time. It also shows them that I am mature enough to handle myself. Being a good problem solver also means that you are flexible, quick on your feet, and always listening and learning. A boss admires these qualities in a worker.

  • I feel as though this was a life lesson they really applied to me. This is because it takes wisdom and maturity to know and understand your strengths and weaknesses.
    With this sort of knowledge on hand you know which areas to apply yourself to in order to be as successful as you can possibly be.
    One of the worst things a person can do is misrepresent themselves by making questionable judgments, this means from then on even your solid judgments will be questioned, and that will damage your integrity.

  • On my list of of things to do, “set priorities” is my top priority. Being raised by my grandmother, myself and the house was always ran under control with rules and tiers of things to do. You can’t move on from one project until you complete the first. As a child, I hated this, though looking back, I can’t say I didn’t end up enjoying the lesson. She would always look at me and say, “I’m not going to force you, because if you don’t put your heart into the work your doing, then you won’t do the job completely.” When I was younger I would think her comment was just a way to guilt me into doing a better job, but now I understand what she was saying. Its important to set your priorities, and when you do, you need to not only complete them, but conduct the work with your full attention and your 150%. Like my grandma taught me, I put my heart into my work, and when I complete it and move onto the next task, I’ll have proudly turned in my best work.

  • Learning to say “no” can be difficult at first. I too had to learn this lesson. When you’re trying to “prioritize”, you can justify many reasons as to why something is priority. I have been taught to work hard and always put forth my best effort, and it can sometimes feel like your not doing your best if you turn down tasks.

    You eventually realize you’re really not providing the highest quality of work if you spread yourself too thin. It is better in the long run to learn your limits and what you can and can not handle in a certain time frame. Then you can begin to prioritize your work with less tasks but higher quality.

  • Very insightful article, definitely
    a lesson that resonates with me. I know from personal experience that the more
    I tried to tackle a variety of problems for a project, all at the same time,
    the more burned out I would get with the
    amount of workload that needed to accomplished. I learned that by just
    prioritizing the most fundamental tasks first, like what needs to be organized
    or what financial investments are needed;
    and working down from there, immensely helps out my workflow in whatever
    responsibly I may be tasked with.

    Thinking you can do multiple tasks at once is
    a good mindset to have for a job and something I might admire if I were a boss
    or manager, but it is always good to keep a level head and not overburden yourself
    with more than you can handle. Starting out with manageable, high priority
    tasks that can be completed, and doing a proper job is more beneficial in the
    long term.

  • It was a very important step for me when I realized that it
    was possible for me to overload myself by taking of too much at one time. I
    have found that it is much better to do one thing whole heartedly than two
    things half cocked. As an old manager of mine used to say, “If you can’t do it right,
    don’t do it at all,” and these are words that I have really internalized. I
    have found that it is often the case that those that don’t complete a responsibility
    correctly are often found out, when someone is forced to clean up after them.
    Being a Yes-man can seem like a quick way to praise and promotion, but your
    quality of work will not reflect the dedication and integrity that result in
    stable success. Sometimes we have no choice but to extend ourselves beyond our
    comfort zone. At this time it is communication with your boss that is key, so
    that you have a full understanding of where each of your tasks fits into the
    master plan.

  • I once had a similar experience when I worked in a law firm as an intern. My boss wanted to give me a lot of projects because I was great at doing the work assigned to me in a timely and efficient manner. However, one time they tried to give me work than I could handle. For example, one time I had to do a research project for marketing that took me hours to do but then I was assigned another task where I had to organize a lot of files in our Records Department. In addition to that, I had to do some research for an attorney on a case that she was currently working on. I asked how important it was and she said kind of important and I asked if I could do it the next day and she was fine it. Luckily, I had experience in the Records Department and since I knew if I didn’t do it that day then the work would just build up and I would have to do it the next day but that would annoy all the other people in the office. So I set aside a bit of time to do the filing and then I went back to my research project for marketing. Then the next day I helped the attorney with her case the next day after I had done a good amount of my other work. So this follows how I can prioritize the work assigned to me and complete the work as needed by others.

  • The first company for which I worked was a small, liberal arts university; this meant that everyone in every position wore a number of different hats. My main role upon entering the organization was to take three pre-existing musical ensembles to higher levels of quality in the areas of performance and professionalism. Along with this task I was also assigned the responsibility of administrating sound engineering at all campus events and activities.

    As a recent college graduate I naively believed that all tasks associated with both of these responsibilities required the same amount of attention and creativity. I worked tirelessly to raise not only the quality of the ensembles but also the quality of sound reinforcement. It didn’t take me long to discover that “when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.” A few years later I ran across Habit #3 “Put First Things First” in Stephen Covey’s ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’—it completely changed the way I worked.

    Fortunately, I had a great boss; and after a meeting or two to discuss my priorities I discovered that the university had no intentions of raising the level of quality of sound reinforcement at their events—they simply wanted the job done. No longer did I have to waste creative energy on brainstorming equipment upgrades and improved training programs for student sound technicians, I simply had to follow the procedures already in place.

    And, eventually, my main priorities began to flourish.

  • This lesson applies to so much more than just an occupation. I know that in my everyday college life, I am always getting pulled in different directions by opportunities that arise. Coming out of high school with many halfhearted extracurriculars on my resume, I thought it would be best during the first week of school to find the top five clubs that interested me and join them. As time passed, I came to the realization that I was doing no good to the clubs or myself by spreading myself too thinly across all of them to make any difference.

    While some argue that being well-rounded and having many passions to pursue is best, taking that idea to its extremes results in unfinished projects and passionless pursuits.

    I can also sympathize with this lesson from my experience in the work force. During my first summer in college, I had the opportunity to work as a data entry clerk. Every time my supervisor checked in on my progress, she was pleased with my eagerness to take on another stack of pertinent documents to enter. I often even agreed to make coffee runs, collect packages, and make copies for the department to show that I was a good sport. That ultimately only made my supervisor happy in the short-run, because by the end of the week I would still have a stack of unentered papers on my desk. They were set aside due to my “yes-man” syndrome, which set back my promotion in the long run.

    Moving forward in all areas of my life, I decided to create a mantra: Do what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to be doing it. If I want to take on a new endeavor, I need to finish what I’ve started, or in other words… if I want dessert, I should focus on eating the veggies first.

  • This article made me laugh, specifically number 2. I work at a chain pizza place as a delivery driver, and for a while I would dread working with one particular manager. My manager, really likes to have a clean store, which is totally understandable and I agree that the store needs to be spotless, it’s a restaurant after all. But he would ask me to do random cleaning jobs, like scrubbing the back of the fryer or the bottom of the dishwasher. I’d do the cleaning jobs, but these jobs were time consuming. By the end of my shift if I completed the extra task my manager asked, but didn’t complete my daily work, he’d be mad. It baffled me.

    I eventually learned to say “Of course I can clean ______, but first I need to do _____.” Turns out, he’s okay with that approach. The tasks that need to be prioritized get done, and the extra job at least gets started and can be finished next shift. Instead of purely saying “no”, and saying “Let me finish ___ first and I’ll get right on it”, my manager sees that I’m not only willing to work, but that I share the same values.

    • Communication is key. The most successful place I have ever worked was filled with people who could communicate well with each other. Together we were able to discuss new ideas and prioritize projects.

      I am also a big fan of lists. Having everything laid out in order can make the day flow smoothly and facilitate successful completion of important items first.

      I need change and love to get new projects. I remember a time when I was offered an interesting new task but simply did not have the time to complete it while also working on higher priority assignments, so I brought in a few other people from the group to help me with the new ‘sexy’ project. There is always a way to get what you want and complete what you have to do. Checklists help.

  • I believe that these to habits are not only an asset in the work place, but in any situation in which you are working under someone. I have seen this even in my college studies. All professors believe that their work is the most important; however, to get everything done, and done well some assignments must take priority. This is also true with extracurricular activities. Not only must course work be a priority over clubs and organizations that you may be part of, but sometimes you have to refuse to take on another project or assignment in one of your clubs so that the quality of your work doesn’t suffer. I have also found that professors much prefer quality over quantity. If a good balance is maintained of doing course work and not letting down the other members of the organizations you are involved in, the quality of your work can become something that you are known and admired for.

  • Communication is key. The most successful place I have ever worked was filled with people who could communicate well with each other. Together we were able to discuss new ideas and prioritize projects.

    I am also a big fan of lists. Having everything laid out in order can make the day flow smoothly and facilitate successful completion of important items first.

    I need change and love to get new projects. I remember a time when I was offered an interesting new task but simply did not have the time to complete it while also working on higher priority assignments, so I brought in a few other people from the group to help me with the new ‘sexy’ project. There is always a way to get what you want and complete what you have to do. Checklists help.

  • This is an especially helpful article for those in a similar situation as my own. I work in a “floater” type position in a restaurant. While my primary duties include cleaning and restocking, I am often called upon to do many other things. This often leads to an overabundance of tasks that I must complete.

    I’ve used point number one in this article extensively. For example, I’ve noticed that one of my managers wants our chef’s tables to be clean and ready for customers the moment he walks into the restaurant. When I notice that I am scheduled to work with him, I make cleaning and setting the chef’s table my first priority at the start of my shift. This makes him so happy that he does not assign as many tasks for me to do as usual.

    Point number two helps me not overload on tasks. When I find myself unable to complete a requested task in a timely fashion, I make sure to politely inform the manager who assigned it. Politeness, or “gentleness” as the article states, is important to make it clear that I am not trying to be lazy or disrespectful.

  • I’ve been working as a science summer camp counselor for two years now, teaching students aged 6-9 about robotics, video-game design, and electricity. As a current high school student, sometimes it has been difficult to understand what exactly my boss is looking for because of my age and lack of experience in working. I have also never had experience with the second topic, since my work is taking care of kids and teaching them the camp curriculum rather than project based. I have, however, learned over time what it takes to do my job well and understand what my boss wants.

    What she wants is to uphold company standards and what we promise our campers and their parents: a fun time over the summer where hopefully our students can learn something interesting. Sometimes, it may be a trade-off; do we focus on letting the kids have fun and be happy, or do we emphasize getting through the course materials so that they can have as intellectually stimulating an environment as possible? At first, I thought it was the latter. Then, I realized that the campers, who are after all only young children on summer break, are not looking for a classroom environment. They want to have fun, and if they can learn while doing that, all the best for them. Kids who have fun also tend to return for more camp sessions, which is good for the company. Therefore, I’ve learned to lay off on the children and focus on their happiness and safety. Which isn’t hard, because the camp curriculum is pretty fun and easy to begin with.

    In the future, I’m probably going to need to learn to understand more importantly what my boss is looking for. Thanks JustJobs for these articles. They’re pretty useful and interesting!

  • My preceptor once told me to “work smarter, not harder.” As a new nurse, I’ve always found myself focusing on the little things that leads me to forget to look at the bigger picture. I am always finding myself needing more time of the day to finish my work load. I have been a perfectionist that it was hard for me to let go of the small details. This advice from my preceptor has resonated with me since then and I found myself finishing my task earlier, being more comfortable delegating tasks to my nursing aids, and managing my day better. I found the sense of accomplishment knowing that working harder does not always mean better.

  • In today’s day and age, multi-tasking is erroneously put up on a pedestal. To be good at multi-tasking is to be good at being mediocre. It is much better to place ALL your focus on one task at a a time. By doing so, you’ll have the confidence to ignore the distractions and your judgment will be keen.

    In my younger years, I prided myself on being a multi-tasking machine. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned the more commitments I made, the less effective my results. Since then, I’ve learned to prioritize based on chronological importance. “Just in time” is much more important that “just in case”. Today, in my thirties, I am a husband, father of two, full-time business owner and taking 18 credit hours at the University of Miami. Needless to say, I have had no choice but to trim the fat off my daily schedule.

    One of my favorite techniques is to take a “Brain Dump” once a week, where I jot down everything I have on my mind and want to accomplish. Once I have listed all my items, I prioritize them from 1 through 3. The 1’s will get all my attention, while 2’s will be maintained. 3’s are either erased from my list or delegated to a capable teammate.

    When it comes to working for a team (or supervisor) it is imperative you learn your leader’s priorities so that you can be measured by his/her standard. Nothing is worse than working your butt off only to find your Priority-1 item is really Priority-3 on your bosses list. By knowing your target you can take better aim. When you know what you need to accomplish it helps to know what to ignore, and therefore, it will improve your performance along with your team’s.

    Of course, all these decisions are made based on where you fit into your organization. At the end of the day all that matters is team results. Much better to say “no” and let someone else handle it gracefully then for you to say “yes” and lower the team’s performance. Saying “no” tactfully followed by strong reasoning will be appreciated by every good boss in the world. Not to mention, you’ll be perceived as someone that can be trusted and relied upon.

  • I can very easily relate to this just based on my college courses. Having to juggle work and school is difficult. I prefer to focus on the projects that will improve me and really make my talents shine before I move on to another task. Although it might be easy to knock out the small projects first, I like to put my best work into something that is meaningful.

  • I have found throuh working that it is important to finish one task before moving onto the next project, no matter how small the project. This eventually sees, that everything that is required of you gets done in an orderly fashion. Accomplishing all of the projects that you are tasked with completing no matter how big or small can show your boss that you are compitent, reliable, and trustworthy. Another point that is made is the point of prioritizing tasks. Prioritizing can mean setting aside your own free time outside of work in order to accomplish a task to the best of your ability.

  • In my first job as a sales associate in retail, I was quick to learn what was most important to my bosses. When it comes to retail, it’s all about time management. Stocking and restocking, working at the register, and assisting customers are only a few of the many things we’re expected to take care of. That means prioritizing, both to my superiors and to my customers. Knowing their needs and wants before they do, and managing to keep up with the ones they come up with out of the blue. By being able to distinguish what is more important in the moment, I know my bosses won’t have to question my dependability. They know I’m mature enough to know when and where I’m needed at all times, making me a trustworthy employee.

  • I believe that when your boss seeks your assistance for projects in the workplace it is a reflection of your trusted capabilities, reliability, credibility, and obvious leadership attributes. I strongly believe that an engaged employee will always go above and beyond their job descriptions. It is statistically proven that companies who have employees that are happy in their workplace have a significantly lower turnover rates. As trusted individuals, we often are the ones to take on these extra curricular projects for our company. Often times, it gives us a great feeling of accomplishment by being an influential team member. Never the less, we may also feel a great deal of stress by taking on too much simply because it is part of our nature. We have all been there! Being a leader, often takes the ability and the knowledge on how to balance these responsibilities and duties. It is for the greater good of the company and employees to maintain this productive balance. It is important to learn to delegate to our coworkers and encourage their participation. Most often then not they just need someone to guide them to become engaged employees themselves. This will eventually increase productivity and employee satisfaction.

  • As a new employee or intern, many times you can be left with free time or not enough responsibility as your boss learns what responsibilities to give you. While the priority projects of your boss should be top of your list, use every bit of extra work time to help the business run smoothly instead of checking the latest facebook updates. Make the priorities of your boss become a reality by putting in the extra time to make the “behind-the-scenes” work more efficiently.

    Add value to your company and save your boss some headache by taking care of small problems/ organizing loose ends that may be at the lower ends of his/her priorities. Once your commitments of the day are taken care of, take notice of things that aren’t getting done or could be done better and make it your personal objective to fix small problems.

    Not every little fix you make will be immediately praised but over time your job and the job of your piers will be made easier. As organization improves, everyone can work with more focus.

    Keep a positive attitude even when you don’t like the job you are doing or feel it may be beneath your level. You are contributing more than you think. Your piers will most likely notice your work ethic before your boss. Seeing one person work hard with consistency can positively influence the whole office to work harder or more efficiently.

  • When I was about to graduate with my undergrad degree, I asked my professors for their career advice. The piece of advice that stuck with me was this: be the first one to arrive in the morning, and the last to leave, and always be the first to volunteer for the projects your boss proposes.
    I got a job after graduation, and this advice worked for a couple years – I was promoted quickly to management and my boss kept giving me program after program to oversee. For a recent grad with little work experience this was a dream…until I realized my boss wouldn’t stop giving me projects and programs and staff to manage, and I worried my quality of work could start to suffer.
    I think most bosses that have their bottom-line in mind will try to add to the workload of the people they have until that person can’t take any more – and I agree with this article that it has to be the employee to throw up that white flag and say ENOUGH (not so bluntly of course).
    When my boss recently assigned me to chair the committee of a big company-wide event, we had a very similar priorities conversation to the one in this article. I made it clear that I didn’t want my existing work to fall by the wayside, and he respected that. When he could see that me saying “no” was a way of caring for the company, I demonstrated responsibility and kept his respect. Saying no to your boss is tough, but when done well it can actually improve the rapport between you.

  • When I was a little girl, my grandmother would pick me up from school on Fridays and treat me to a delicious, endless pizza buffet. I would grab a plate and pile it high with cheesy slices, warm bread, and scoops of spaghetti. My grandmother would look at my plate, which weighed more than me, and warn me to never eat with your eyes.

    My grandmother’s lesson is exactly what Shannon’s article is trying to get across. No matter how delicious everything looked or how great every project seems, you can only do so much. Taking on more than you can handle, will make you seem more unreliable than impressive because there is just no way you can do it all.

    Completing less projects correctly is far more satisfactory than completing more projects carelessly, and will make you a dependable source in your boss’s eyes. Just like giving up the spaghetti and the extra pieces of bread would have made the pizza more satisfying, giving up the smaller, less important projects to focus on the big ones will make you and your work more appealing.

  • It is so easy to say “I’ve got that” or “no problem, I’ll get it done” because it sounds good however, I’ve recently discovered that it can be much more difficult to actually put your money where your mouth is when you commit yourself to so many things. Like most, I have always aimed to please and prove my worth in any situation by trying to do it all and fix any problem that came along with it. So, instead of prioritizing, I would agree to anything and everything, and for a while I was able to follow through on all of my promises. Nevertheless, as the tasks began to pile up, my completed assignments where few and far in between until I was totally overwhelmed with responsibility. I thought that if I did everything that was asked of me I would be able to prove that I deserved to be apart of the team but as you can see, my good intentions only led me to failure and the disappointment of others. But that lesson was invaluable because like the article points out, you are more efficient and beneficial when you can actually deliver on your obligations and this was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. Now, however, I understand the value of precedence and saying no when needed, which has allowed me to not only mature but flourish in any work environment.

  • Prioritizing is a skill that is essential to advance your career. I had to learn this the hard way. Before I leave the office every day, I make a list of all pending items. When I come in the next day, I go through the list and mark the items to be completed first. I set regular meetings with my boss, at my request, to go over my list. I do this because I want my boss to know what I am working on, and to help me put the important tasks at the top of the list.

    A few weeks ago I asked my boss for a job description. I felt that it was important for me to know what my routine tasks were. When I know this, it will help me to say no when I am overloaded with my day-to-day stuff. I want to make certain that everything in my job description is complete. Also, this will allow me to have leverage when it comes time for my annual review. I will make a note of the items I do beyond my job description, which will show I am capable of moving up within the company.

    Completing tasks in a prompt manner is one of the hardest elements in a working environment. Once you have mastered that skill, it becomes easier to learn to delegate tasks to others. I feel it is at this time you are ready to start considering a higher position.

  • It is quite understandable to live up to the boss’s expectations, but at times one must do things that are best for themselves. The boss may want you to work multiple shifts and tasks that are hard on your health and social being. Like the article says, “less is more”.

    When I was in an internship at a university, the principle investigator was tough and had a powerful presence over the interns. She was a powerful being in the laboratory and everyone had/has respect for her. I was barely starting as an intern in the lab and she had me do a research project. It was difficult, I had to do a presentation on things that I did not know about very well. I had to do my own research and look at other articles. In order to present the presentation, I had to get it approved by the principal investigator. At first, she seemed displeased and changed a few of my points on the presentation. I did not comment on the changes and let her do what she wanted to do. This occurred about three more times until I finally stood my ground and said, “Please. I understand that it may lack what you like, but I have worked hard to get to the level of expectations that you have set upon me.” I expected her to lash out and be upset with my comment, but instead, she smiled and congratulated me for speaking up.

    What I learned from this is that sometimes it is necessary to say what you want to say. It does no one harm or good to keep your thoughts muddled up in your mind. Through standing up for yourself, yet following the boss’s priorities and trying to keep up with their expectations, you will gain more respect and shine as a strong independent person who can handle a good job!

  • I believe that this article can apply to life as well as work. A person must know when to put themselves, their family, religion, and even a job ahead of something. Often times a person gets so caught up in what they are doing right at this moment in life, that they let important things slide by. Often times when a person gets into a new relationship and they become consumed. The person is only focused on their significant other and often let family and friends become their second priority. Family and religion should always be first on the list of priorities. They are the things that will always be there when things do not work out in life. Friendships and religion are two solid rocks that will not falter in life. Once a person has set priorities I believe that it is then they are a mature adult.

  • Saying “no” has been a struggle for me in the past, but that is something I have been really working on over this last year. I used to be the kind of person who would say yes to every single thing I was asked because I want to help others. Now I realize that sometimes, it is the best thing to say no. Now I focus more on my reasons for the answer I give. If I want to say no to a project simply because I am tired, I say yes. If I realize I want to say no because I need to focus my energy on something more important, I say no.

  • This article is really spot on when it comes to working in a realistic way so as not to disappoint or mislead your boss and/or coworkers. Within the work I’ve done at internships, university and in the arts, I tend to try to go 100% in all of those fields. The problem is, there is only so much time in a day. To try to run at full capacity in all of these fields will potentially lead to letting down one’s colleagues, teachers and supervisors. The big lesson to come out of these circumstances for me is the idea of quality over quantity. Most people that I have collaborated with and worked for would rather me take care of the assignment ranked number one on their priority list rather than try to get five assignments done within a short window of time.

    The best example of this lesson that comes to mind is during my junior year of undergrad at the University of Connecticut. During that year I wrote for the college newspaper (The Daily Campus), pursued music and worked diligently in all of my classes. As I was nearing a breaking point of exhaustion trying to balance these tasks, I was able to ultimately reach an equilibrium once I set priorities within each of my pursuits. In other words, I made a plan to follow once obligations and expectations started to stack up. At the newspaper I took less stories and talked to my bosses about which ones they needed covered the most. I was not willing to let my work suffer, especially when my supervisors relied on top writing from a Staff Reporter in a paper that gets published to over 20,000 students and faculty. In school, I made sure to keep on track and prioritize time for the bigger exams/assignments and in music I learned to be upfront with my bandmates about what they could expect from me and followed through with every promise. Many times we forget that most bosses/supervisors, colleagues and collaborators want the best work from you and want to know you can follow through on your promises. The second trust goes out the window, your reputation and camaraderie with the people you work with deteriorates and takes a lot to repair. I learned to be proactive about avoiding a breaking point and to instead plan out what tasks take priority based on importance and due-date proximity.

  • This article showcases integral aspects of how to be a star employee. During my one internship, I did see the people immediately assume leadership roles in everything that the article would qualify as a “sexy project,” but the people referred to as star interns were the ones who finished every task that was correctly done to their boss’ liking. It is also important to add that bosses prefer to get questions and communicate in different ways. In my past internships and jobs, I make sure to ask how they prefer to get updates or questions. I’ve had some bosses who like constant communication, while others would prefer to discuss and get updates in weekly meetings. Whether a boss prefers a hands-on or laissez-faire approach, I completely agree that having a clear relationship and knowing a boss’ objective is an important key to career success.

  • These two lessons are very similar to what I have experienced at school. Especially regarding assignments that teachers grade by preference, such as writing or art, it’s incredibly important to pay attention to what they want to see. They’re the teacher, and they are trying to pass something specific onto you. If you think you know better or try to go your own way, you may end up missing a valid point and hurt your chances of success.

    Additionally, I’m currently juggling many different project right now between school work, my job, and my extra curricular activities. In each of these categories, I’ve had to take on responsibilities and also let some of them go. It’s difficult to excel in everything that you have available to you, so sometimes it’s better to do 80% of your potential work load at 100% quality instead of 100% of your work load at 80% quality.

  • Prioritizing is not just important in the job, but in life as well. You cannot be successful at anything by simply not prioritizing. I also feel that it is very important to reject on doing certain things, as if in this case projects. You would wish to go back and saying “no” to a certain project you were assigned when you realize just how overloaded with work you are. This can not only make you look bad, but it can also make the company that you are working for look bad as well. The boss would not like that. It is just best to play it safe and make sure to look into the future and see if you are going to be able to achieve that certain project without stressing too much. This can save both you, and the boss. It’s also important to know what to prioritize. Always do the things that you feel is most important first.

    I have seen many people trying to take on too many challenges and overload themselves with work. And what I see from them most of the time is half done work or them being too stressed. I have learned from experience and from others that you should prioritize the most important stuff first, and also to not overload yourself with too much work. Our minds want to tackle goals, but we have to take into realization that these goals cannot become a reality because it is simply too much stuff to do. I’m not saying to not strive to be the best, but what I am saying is to take a look at yourself and see if what you are setting yourself out to do is realistic or not.

  • By placing the priorities of the boss first I can see why as an employee you would become all that more valuable. It does show a higher sense of understanding and perception into what your boss need and therefore how you can rise up to meet those said needs. Then it would seem vital that you should take action and carefully study your boss in order to adequately come to understand what he/she defines as a priority.

    Yet I would have never fathomed that saying “no” to your boss is something that would be encouraged so this point definitely piqued my interest. However given the explanation I can fully comprehend why this is so imperative to do, it shows that your not always capable of doing everything,but that you are an actual person.

    Even though we may want to try and do the very best we can and give everything our one hundred percent, the limitations we have within ourselves prevent us from doing so, but that is alright because we would not be human if we did not have some point where it all became too much.Therefore by disagreeing and showing opposition it makes everything more practical as well as realistic, as you are being responsible not only for yourself but for the good of the company too.

    I can relate to a time where I was fortunate enough to have chance to help people by going on a mission trip, where we had to prioritize the tasks that we had to accomplish that day. It was in the unforgiving bolstering month of June the sun beaming down on us (my fellow missionaries and I) Costa Rica is not all to far from the equator and the heat had us all sweating and melting as the time inched by.

    There was work to be done an as the passion within me grew to aid and help others, the project was to build an old deteriorating church in a unkempt impoverished neighborhood. The boys were to carry the massive concrete wall slabs seven feet tall and twelve feet in length, but even when the head coordinator asked if I could help the thought of refusing did not come to mind even though I knew that it was a bigger task than I could handle. Sure enough my lanky arms buckled and that massive slab came blundering down on my toe with tingles of pain shooting throughout my body. I had the misconception that saying no would seem irresponsible of me and would demonstrate a lack of resolve, but I was clearly mistaken and sustained a painful price.

  • Being able to prioritize is the key to success! However, it’s important to regularly communicate with the boss to ensure that my list aligns with his!

  • I can’t overemphasize how important the principle of priority-setting has been in my life. I grew up in an environment where the concept of ‘working hard’ was given more of an emphasis than ‘working smart’. I have realized however, an especially in the work environment, there is so much to do and so little time that, no matter how hard I worked, if i didn’t effectively meet the most pressing needs, I often seemed inefficient.
    Now, I ask a lot more questions, and never assume. I have realized that communication is key in setting priorities, and I have noticed the world of difference between how I work now, and how I used to.

  • The first thing I love about this article is that it promotes pushing yourself above and beyond the normal standards. It really helps you to understand the best way to succeed in your workplace is by connecting your own style and personality to the best way of getting the job done.

    I looked farther into one of the sub articles titled, “2 habits That Show You Are Trustworthy and Mature,” and found that I relate to the type of worker the article says not to be. Last year, I took a job at Burlington. My boss was very impressed by the way I put together and presented my resume. So, I wanted to keep impressing her. I started to never tell her no. Every task she gave me I jumped for it and ended up running back and forth between unfinished projects. She made me a runner that worked in any department where staff was lacking, and I always had to ask questions because I was always doing something new.

    After reading this article, I realized that this was not the best approach to showing my skills. I was very depressed and felt like I did not accomplish anything really. That was truly a learning experience and I am proud to say I now know how to avoid this situation again.

  • I learned this over the last ten months, working at a really tough middle school in the South Bronx. Most people think the students are the hard part, but the real difficulties came with communicating with administrators. At first, I didn’t want to overstep my boundaries. I was new on the team and less experienced and didn’t want to start off on the wrong foot.

    Staying quiet forced me into high stress and high volumes of work. Because I wasn’t involving myself at all in curriculum building and leaving it to others, I spent hours translating worksheets, summarizing long texts and creating 3x as many materials per lesson as a general education teacher (I teach Bilingual Eng/Span). I was meeting deadlines for team leaders and administrators but was never recognized for anything beyond. I didn’t want to volunteer for everything but I wanted to be noticed. My administrators and I had no relationship and I felt there was no way I’d be regarded as a leader.

    A few months in I decided being forward and honest are what have gotten me a voice in other spaces and I began injecting that into my persona during team meetings. Soon, I began to balance when I spoke. I chose the battles I knew I’d win. I also proved that I was reliable and mature by making sure when I brought something to the table it had great value. I volunteered for extra hours, I made suggestions that were feasible with clear steps for execution during meetings and I suddenly found my administrators asking ME for advice. I was able to say no when I was overwhelmed and would outline my schedule for the week in an email to put the list of tasks in perspective for them. They knew I was doing just enough and didn’t want to jeopardize quality for quantity. My workload also lessened because I was being proactive by developing curriculum that accounted for my students; by showing them I could produce the things they needed done, they allowed me to prioritize my own needs whenever I could squeeze those in too.

    While not along the exact same lines as the account above, I was trying to find a way to reconcile being regarded as a trustworthy worker AND making sure my students were advocated for, Overall, I learned that the key is balance. You have to be willing to work hard but you also have to know when you’re overreaching. No one likes a suck up but no one ever notices the shadows. We have to maintain consistency in our work and its quality, in our voice, and it will translate into strong character to those who we want to impress.