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How to Challenge Yourself at Work

How to Challenge Yourself at Work

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Challenge yourself to build your skills, improve your performance and find yourself excited to come into work.

A job becomes more than just a paycheck when it is enjoyable, stimulating and exciting. However, most employees experience days or even long stretches where they become bored at work and fall into a rut. If your job isn’t as satisfying as it used to be, don’t sit back and wait on your company to do something about it. There are certain changes that you can make to improve your own career satisfaction.

Introducing your own challenges at work will not only improve your career performance but also provide the perfect opportunity to enhance your skills and future career prospects. By adopting this approach in your current role, you will gain invaluable skills and experience that will seamlessly transfer into your next position when you’re ready to move on. Plus, you'll have stories that show initiative and self-motivation which are highly regarded by hiring managers.

Push yourself out of your comfort zone

Every job has certain tasks that involve a bit more thought and time investment, which employees tend to shy away from during their day-to-day work life. In order to challenge yourself, you have to take these tasks head-on; embrace the challenge and learn something new from it.

A good way of getting these difficult or daunting tasks done is to get them out of the way, first thing in the morning. You'll find that in the morning you've still got all of your energy. When you finish a big task in the morning, the feeling of accomplishment puts you in a good mood and sets the momentum for the rest of the day.

If you feel like you’ve exhausted your own role and the responsibilities within it, try to take on new projects and opportunities that are not normally expected of you. Specifically, consider projects that push you out of your comfort zone, challenge your strengths and address your weaknesses. Ask your manager if there are projects or tasks you could take on. Or, if you have some ideas in mind, consider pitching them. The least that could happen is that your manager will keep you in mind for future projects which means you'll have something to look forward to.

Be competitive

A little competition can go a long way at work. Don’t necessarily try to beat other employees as this can generate conflict and make you unpopular in the office. Simply try to be the best that you can be; consider your past achievements and use them as a basis to define new goals to work toward. Always try to push yourself that little bit further. You'll be surprised with how much your performance will improve over time - and it won't go unnoticed.

Stay connected and embrace teamwork

Learning from others plays a vital part in your overall career success. Make sure you stay connected not only with your own team members but also with the wider corporate network.

In The 4 Disciplines of Execution, the authors mention that people perform better when they are motivated to not let their team down. Think about the ways your work helps the rest of your team.

Challenge yourself by going out of your comfort zone and talking to people that you don't usually talk to. By communicating with other departments and colleagues in different positions in the company, you will gain a different perspective, which you can then apply to your own processes and make your job more interesting and challenging.

Don’t procrastinate and jump over the hurdle of getting started

Everyone is guilty of procrastination at work from time to time. We put off tasks that we don’t want to do in favour of more mundane tasks, which quickly makes us feel bored at work. In order to combat procrastination, a shift in attitude and the way you approach work is necessary. Don’t wait for the perfect time to do something. Seize the moment and try hard to do things as they occur rather than putting them off and waiting for the right time.

The first hurdle is just getting started. Once you've begun a task, you'll get into the groove and in no time you'll find yourself checking things off your to-do list. Again, try to do the most difficult or daunting tasks first thing in the morning.

Sometimes, it helps to be independent and achieve things on your own

We all need assistance from colleagues from time to time; but, try to fulfil your job responsibilities with minimum help. Completing a task on your own from start to finish, will not only make you feel more challenged but provide a greater sense of achievement on accomplishment. 

Remember that your success and devotion not only benefits the company but also advances your own skillset and increases your employability. In this instance, it’s important that you don’t always wait for your boss to delegate tasks to you. Take initiative and look for new tasks that you can take on. Be open to change and always give 100% at work to make the most of every opportunity.

Evaluate & re-evaluate your skills & flaws

Don’t wait for a work review to evaluate your performance; instead, constantly evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses in relation to your position. By fully understanding your competencies, you are better able to overcome the negative aspects of your performance and utilise the positive ones.

Take a moment once a week to reflect on what has happened and how your actions could improve areas that need attention. Pay particular attention to your flaws and try to take on different roles that can help you to improve upon them. Always be open to learning new skills and building upon your existing skillset in order to enhance your current position as well as future career prospects.

On the other hand, balance your reflection by thinking about your achievements and things you've done well. Reflection isn't about beating yourself up over failure. It's not good for your confidence to only think about mistakes. Reminding yourself or your wins and that you are capable will boost your confidence to do more and achieve more than you have in the past.

Have a positive attitude

Having a positive attitude is one of the most attractive characteristics of an employee. Always approach tasks – even the difficult ones - with a positive attitude and a belief that you can do it. Don’t underestimate yourself or your abilities, and carry out your position with dedication and enthusiasm.

By making these simple changes to your position, you will feel not only feel more challenged at work through the tasks that you take on, but you will also improve your own skillset and future career prospects.

If you're looking for more tips to advance your career, check out our blog here.