Position yourself to be accountable, improve your skill set, and continually learn by setting personal benchmarks and reviewing them regularly. Learning leads to a better quality of life, boosts confidence and personal development, and influences your life in a positive way. In this article, we provide some suggestions for best practices in your life outside of business that can help your performance in the office.


Create a daily schedule and follow it. Identify the top three or four critical projects that need to be completed. Ensure your task list is manageable, adds value, and aligns with your goals. Whether personal or professional, it’s important to establish the habit of tackling the most important obstacles daily.  It is critical to see procrastination about this key task as a real barrier to your forward progress.

Take time to research. Don’t waste other’s time; do your homework before taking on a new task. You’ll be better prepared to present strategies to reach each objective. Additionally, try to find something each week to simplify or automate: a difficult system or process, a messy closet, daily tasks, or email. You can increase your efficiency by keeping things simple.

Read at least one personal development or industry related article each day. Start a journal to record your notes, identify what you learned, and determine how you can apply your findings personally or in the workplace. Share your information with others to establish expertise.


Did you know that focus is a fundamental quality of productive people? Our brains are wired to work best when we focus on a single task. Practice staying focused and strive to complete one task before diving into another.

Keep a stack of post it notes or index cards nearby—or use your computer’s note-taking program. Take down each person’s name who may interrupt you during the day, and each person’s name you need to speak with. Jot down the subjects you want to cover with each person. That way, the next time you talk with them, you’ve got a list of things to discuss. Imagine the time you would save if everyone interrupted you once a day to discuss the three or four things they thought of, rather than three or four times a day for each item.

Follow through

Think about how many times you’ve started something new: a project, a New Year’s resolution, or a letter and ended up adding it back on your to-do list. Keep a journal of completed projects and reflect on it to demonstrate your contributions and accomplishments.

Break large projects into blocks of mini-tasks and set individual success metrics to keep your morale and energy levels high. Record your progress, reward yourself, and share your progress.


Listening is vital to effective communication. Spend time thinking about how you listen. Do you interrupt others? Mature listening skills lead to increased productivity with fewer mistakes, and innovative growth.

Clarity provides confidence. Ask questions if you are not completely sure of your responsibilities. Schedule time quarterly to re-evaluate firm goals, how your responsibilities fulfill those goals, and how you can better partner with team members to reach each goal.


Vacation time is critical to professional development. Without it, stress and burn out levels increase and productivity declines. Schedule time away from the office to expand your horizons, re-energize, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Sleeping well helps prevent disease, slows aging and boosts thinking and creativity, so make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep too.


Where do you see yourself in 1 year, 3 years, or even 5 years? What will be the same? What will be different? Write a letter or two to yourself and work hard to become that person.

Passion is one of the most important drivers of success. If you don’t love what you do, it’s difficult to put your best effort forward and perform to the best of your ability. Ensure your values are reflected and respected in your personal and professional life so that you see true meaning in all that you do.