10 ways to be instantly better at work

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Whether you're starting a brand-new job or you're just feeling like you haven't been performing to your maximum level at your current job, there are things you can do outside of your daily work assignments that can help you be a better employee. And the best part is, these particular things require absolutely zero talent. (And even when your self-esteem is at its lowest, you know you're doing better than that.)

By making these tips a part of your daily routine, you can impress your boss not only with your ability to get stuff done, but also with your genuine awesomeness as a human being and co-worker. Here's what you need to do.

(Photo Credit: chris riebschlager/Flickr)

Be on Time

It sounds very basic, but being on time for work shows that you're a reliable employee. And just by showing up to work when you're supposed to, you instantly look better than those who trickle in after you. For your own benefit, getting to work on time (or even a little bit before) allows you enough time to settle in and get ready for the day ahead. Use this time to check your emails and make sure there are no fires to put out.

Show Your Work Ethic

Showing that you have a strong work ethic doesn't mean conquering mountains. Demonstrating that you have work ethic can be as easy as volunteering to solve a problem that has been plaguing your team for a while but that nobody has had the time to fix. It could even be as simple as finding a way to automate a report that previously had to be done manually. If you can find small problems to fix, you can show your team that you have a solid work ethic.

Put in Some Effort

Take the time to do things right. If you're working on project deliverables, double- and triple-check your spelling. Spend the extra effort to make sure what you're working on looks perfect and like the product of someone who really cares enough to make it great.

Work on Your Body Language

Body language says more about you than you might think. Lucky for us, body language is something we can constantly work on and practice. For example, if you tend to slouch your shoulders and back, try sitting up the entire day. If you're in a conversation with your boss, make sure that you have good eye contact and aren't crossing your arms like you're bored. Instead, try relaxing your arms and putting your hands together in front of you while you listen.

Have Some Energy

Perhaps that means getting an extra hour of sleep at night, or having an extra cup of espresso in the morning. Either way, being the person that brings energy and life into the office can make you a more desirable person to be around. Positive energy can be contagious, especially in a place that can be super boring, like the workplace. I don't mean that you have to be entering the office doing jumping jacks, but not being completely exhausted when you go into work can help you produce better work and make the office a better place in general.

Have a Positive Attitude

Your attitude at work is so important to your overall success. When you go into work, make sure you put on your best attitude as soon as you enter those doors. Just by staying positive, you're setting the trend for your co-workers to be positive too. Although it's much easier to sit around and complain, this can negatively impact your own work, whether you want it to or not. In general, having a positive attitude just makes work better for everyone. Don't be a negative Nancy.

Show Your Passion

Within your field of work, is there one particular aspect that you are super passionate about? If so, harness that passion into a side project that can make things better for your company or for your team. Going the extra mile for something you're passionate about shows your manager that you're capable of more than just your current focus and could possibly lead to a better career path for you.

Be Coachable

If you aren't coachable, that means you aren't open to learning new things and building on your skills. To your managers and your peers, this translates to appearing as if you're unwilling to better yourself or the company. In order to be the best employee you can be, you should always be learning and be open to new experiences and ways of doing things.

Do Something Extra

This doesn't mean that you need to stay at work after-hours with your head down on a project. Doing something extra could be as easy as creating something fun for your team to participate in together. For example, you could do a monthly Tinypulse poll for your team. Have everyone vote for who they think was the all-star of your team that month and award the winner with a small prize and a little recognition. Even the small things can have a big impact.

Be Prepared

An easy way to be prepared is to know exactly what you're going to be working on in a given day at work. To make this easier on yourself, at the end of each workday, make a task list for the next day. If you have a meeting to go to off-campus, make sure you know exactly what it's about and that you are bringing the right materials and have read the right documentation. Make sure you already know what trains and buses you need to take to get there, and make sure you know what time you need to leave so you can get there on time. It's the little things this that can make your day go significantly smoother and with less stress.

Related: The best places to live if you work in NYC

Best places to live if you work in NYC
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10 ways to be instantly better at work

Jersey City, New Jersey
Median Rent Per Month: $1,850

Hoboken, New Jersey
Median Rent Per Month: $2,500

Easton, Pennsylvania
Median Rent Per Month: $1,250

South Orange, New Jersey
Median Rent Per Month: $2,500

Stamford, Connecticut 
Median Rent Per Month: $2,625

Yonkers, New York 
Median Rent Per Month: $2,900


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