You have been successful in your interview and have been offered the role. You are starting your new job soon and you are a bag full of nerves. This is perfectly normal and healthy, so long as you learn to manage these nerves and make them work to your advantage. The first few days and weeks at a new job will be both exciting and challenging and you are likely to be exhausted from having to meet both professional and personal expectations – you want to do your job well, but you also want to build good relationships with your co-workers. Although it is important to be yourself at your job you also want to be respected as a professional who is good at their job, so we recommend that you maintain a certain level of professionalism, especially at the beginning when you still haven’t had the chance to gage what the dynamics in the office are. You’ll have plenty of time to show your colleagues how great you are as a person but for now be a good contemplator and act friendly and authentically but with a pinch of humility until you have built trust with those around you and can let the guard down a bit.
In this module you will get some insights and tools for being productive in your new job as well as good practices to leave a good impression.
During the first days and weeks of a new job you are likely to meet lots of new people and customs whilst being expected to meet duties on time that you are still not familiar with.
You may be wondering if you are making a good impression and if you are doing things right but also trying to figure out if you fit well with the company culture. Here we will present you with some good practices and tools for the first few weeks in your new job and beyond.
- You will be meeting a lot of new people in the first few days. Create and practice an elevator pitch on who you are, what you do and why you are passionate about what you do.
- Know the names of your colleagues. It goes a long way when you remember someone’s name and what they do. During the first few weeks you will meet a lot of people and it may be difficult to remember all of them so get familiar with the organizational chart. This will also help you identify who will be the best people to partner with in projects and other activities.
- Try to understand what motivates your manager and how they prefer to work. Everyone has their own way of working, their internal mantra on what motivates them. This will likely increase your chances of building a stronger relationship with them.
- Being new to the team you may be shy to participate in events or make an intervention in meetings but use your “newness” as leverage and ask a lot of questions and be active in events. Most people appreciate the curiosity and the injection of excitement in the team as it shows willingness to learn and be part of the team.
As you start a new job you will have a number of tasks that you will have to complete within certain deadlines. Get to know how you work and identify the traps that you can get into.
For the multitaskers and project managers
- Stop Multitasking, You may think that you are a master multitasker but trying to do several things at once usually results in very little being accomplished. Your brain is not meant to do multiple tasks simultaneously and efficiently.
- Remove temptations
- Work in intervals
- Mapping out tasks and activities with concrete deadlines
Trello: Trello visualizes a project so that you know exactly what needs to be done at any moment
OneTab: OneTab is an add-on for Chrome and Firefox that converts all open tabs into a more manageable URL list that you can restore as a group or individually anytime you want. By doing this, OneTab reduces tab clutter, saves up to 95% of your memory, and somewhat mitigates the utter madness of having dozens of open web pages on your screen.
Asana: Asana is a comprehensive project management platform designed for teams of all sizes.
Zapier: Zapier connects apps so they can exchange data and this allows you to do things like automatically upload Gmail attachments to Google Drive or post a new message in Slack every time a Google Sheets document is edited.
For the procrastinators
- Set small goals
- Do your hardest tasks when you are most alert
- Find an accountability buddy
- Have daily to do lists and task trackers
Stayfocused: is a free Chrome extension that restricts the amount of time you are allowed to spend on “time-wasting websites” like Facebook. The tool is ultra-customizable – choose which websites (or specific pages) to block, how long to block them for, etc
Forest: Forest encourages you to stop using your phone, which has got to be one of the worst possible distractions from working at home.
Todoist: Todoist gives you complete control over your tasks and makes it easy to track your progress without getting bogged down in a mess of separate lists. You can also delegate tasks, prioritise tasks, create and manage subtasks and track your performance with analytics reports. A similar tool is Microsoft To Do.
For the marathon workers, and relay teams
Whether you’re going about it solo or as part of a team, working continuously and for long hours does not mean that you are getting more done. Sometimes the best way to get things done is to not work on the task for a while, then go back to it with a fresh perspective.
Also, when working with a team it can sometimes be difficult to keep the communication consistent. This can result in misunderstandings and potential conflict
- Take breaks and move your body often
- Pay attention to posture
- Keep track of the time you spend on one thing to avoid fatigue
- Have short team meetups to check in
- Give feedback
Serene: Aside from blocking websites and apps, Serene encourages you to work in highly-productive power sessions of 20-90 minutes with regular, short breaks. This prevents you from spending too much time on a single task and developing cognitive fatigue.
Google Drive, Microsoft team, Dropbox (or other cloud platforms)_ Good for storing and sharing documents across a group
Slack: Organised instant messaging for teams that need to work collectively and includes voice and video calling features, file exchanging and integration with 2,000+ other productivity apps.
Toggl: Toggl makes it simple and easy to track the hours a team or a single user clocks to get things done. The service integrates with many project
management and collaboration tools such as Trello, Google Drive, and Asana.
Cold Turkey: Cold Turkey is a website and app blocking tool which has a feature called Frozen Turkey, which completely locks you out of your computer for scheduled time periods. Yes, it is a bit extreme but sometimes especially working from home it may be important as there is life outside of your job.
Other tips and strategies to improve your productivity
- Plan your day – Create a to do list of the major tasks to be done
- Power hour - Avoid your email inbox, and get right to work. This sets the tone for the day and gives you a great sense of accomplishment that can follow you through to home time
- Recess – take a break about 90 mins into your day, get some coffee, stretch and move around a bit
- Time chunks – block off your day by tasks allowing yourself to not get stuck in the monotony of some tedious work.
- Respond to emails – take some time to respond to emails so they do not pile up.
- Listen to music – this may work for some people, not everyone but this can help dampen external distractions but also bring some energy to your day.
- Drink up – stay hydrated
- Leave your desk at lunch
- Keep it professional – no personal emails, social media during office hours
Keep an organized workspace and one that works for you. Some people need to ne near fresh air, have natural light etc.
Productivity myth 1
Myth: People who are good multitaskers get more done.
Fact: Multitasking is an illusion. Research shows that people get more done if they concentrate on one task at a time. Switching frequently between tasks – or believing that you are actually doing more than one thing at once – will actually slow you down.
Productivity myth 2
Myth: The more hours you work, the more you get done.
Fact: It is important to take breaks throughout the workday. Even a five-minute walk around the office can boost your mood with no impact on your ability to focus. Getting enough rest and sleep can serve you better than working longer hours. Walking away from your work for a longer period – overnight, over the weekend or on vacation – gives your ideas a chance to marinate in your subconscious mind, allowing for new bursts of productivity when you return.