No one likes to hear that they’re being placed on a performance improvement plan. This usually means that something has gone wrong, or that you’re in trouble for some reason.
These plans don’t have to be negative, though. If you want to improve your own productivity or work performance, why not create your own personal performance improvement plan? Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started.
What Are Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs)?
First, what is a performance improvement plan? In essence, it’s a kind of behavioral probation designed to address any performance issues you’re experiencing at work, as well as steps you can take to improve the problems and goals you need to reach. Not reaching the goals might result in termination, but that isn’t always the case if you can show that you’re making improvements.
These plans don’t always have to be the result of performance issues, though. If you’re having problems with your productivity or work performance and want to avoid ending up on an official PIP, set up your own improvement plan.
Identify the Problem
When it comes down to it, we all have our own inner demons to contend with. These shadows follow us no matter where we go and affect our ability to complete our work efficiently.
The first step is to identify the problem and to work on these shadow-selves. Don’t ignore your shadow — that will make it grow. Instead, figure out where each particular shadow originates from and address it directly.
One familiar shadow most of us have experienced is anger. It’s tempting to let it stew while you focus on other things, but that will only succeed in compromising your productivity. Take steps to discover the source of your anger and figure out how to let it go or turn it into something productive.
Set Your Goals
Many PIPs will designate goal setting at your first step, but you can’t set goals until you’ve identified the problems. Now that you’ve done that, you can figure out what goals you need to set to improve your work performance.
First, figure out what your end goals are. These are the big pieces you must achieve throughout your plan. Then, break those big end goals into smaller, more manageable pieces.
If you have one big goal, it can seem overwhelming, and it might look like it’s unobtainable. If your goal feels out of reach, you won’t work as hard because you won’t have a hope of ever attaining it. Small pieces act like a puzzle — once you fit all the jagged edges together, its easier to see the big picture.
Manage Your Time
Time management is one of the biggest challenges in today’s world. It’s easy to get distracted when you’ve got social media, smartphones and the sum of all human knowledge at your fingertips.
Time management should be part of your improvement plan, even if you feel like you can manage your time sufficiently. Take a look at your average day — how much time do you spend checking email, scrolling through social media and chatting with friends that could be put toward other tasks?
Blocking access to the internet — or at least to sites that aren’t work-related — can help you improve your time management by removing distractions.
Personal improvement plans don’t have to be negative or a prelude to termination. Designing your own PIP can help you improve your work performance and productivity so an official PIP will not be necessary.
Even if you’re not having performance issues in the office, being a little bit more productive never hurt anyone.
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