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How to Contribute More at the Workplace

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Contributing more at the workplace endears you to your co-workers and management and can help you land promotions and receive raises. Plus, at the end of the day, you'll feel more satisfaction knowing you made a difference. Chipping in more at work calls for a determined attitude paired with a little organization. Asking for help doesn't hurt, either.

Set Goals

Without a goal in mind, you might feel as if you're wandering around at work without an idea of how to contribute and little motivation to contribute. Set yourself realistic goals so you have something to aim for each day. Start out with a major goal in mind and then break it down into smaller goals. For example, suppose you work in sales. You could make it your goal to land three new clients each month. From that goal, you could set yourself a goal to cold-call 50 businesses or people per day. Create goals that motivate and push you as an individual and help your company at the same time.

Take Action

Anyone can wait for a co-worker or manager to say something needs done. When a workplace consists of employees who don't take action on their own, that workplace becomes stagnant and less productive. Ask yourself what needs done and then do it. If you don't have the authority to complete a certain task, notify your manager or supervisor or ask for authority to go ahead and complete the task. For instance, suppose you're an assistant manager at a retail store in a mall. You receive a memo that requires your store to print 100 flyers and send them to other businesses in the mall. Take it upon yourself to print those flyers and hand them out. Don't wait for your general manager to ask.

Minimize Distractions

Distractions can kill your productivity at work. Some workplaces are inherently busy and noisy, and while you can't do a whole lot in those circumstances, you can minimize the distractions in your immediate area. A couple of examples include keeping your phone in your pocket instead of on your desk, and tidying up your workspace so there aren't piles of papers and notes distracting you every time you look down. If your co-workers are too noisy, simply ask them to speak more softly. Keep the discussion lighthearted, smile, and don't act confrontational. The MindTools website advises setting specific times to check and answer e-mails so you aren't hung up reading and replying every five minutes.

Ask for Help

Even the most prolific workers need help occasionally. If you're in management, ask your employees what they feel management could do better. Keep their answers anonymous. If you're an employee, make it clear to management that you want to contribute more, but you're unsure of how to do so. Don't think that it's a sign of weakness to asking for assistance. Almost everyone -- from managers to the new employees -- much prefer someone who makes an effort to improve and seeks out advice on how to improve versus someone who sits back and doesn't even attempt to elevate his performance.

Make a List

Once you identify a few ways to contribute more at work, write them down. Create a list of what you need to do and reference it throughout the day. It's more difficult to follow through if you have ideas bouncing around in your head instead of on a piece of paper that you can look at whenever you need to.


Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.

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