The saying "nothing worth having comes easy" has a lot of merit to it. Although there will always be instances in life where chance and sheer luck lead to exciting opportunities, the majority of worthwhile ventures are due to a mixture of hard work, focus, and ambition. Being productive is not just about getting things done; it’s a chance to show colleagues and prospective bosses that you’re reliable and worth investing in. An incredibly successful and busy employer, for instance, isn’t going to hire someone who can’t make their business run as efficiently as possible. In this guide, we'll look at how to keep productivity at a constant level and how to take your own initiative for the benefit of both career and personal satisfaction. Let’s live to work, not work to live. 1) Be proactive, not just reactive You have a choice. You can go into work every day and do the bare minimum, complete the tasks you’ve been given by your boss, reply to emails, answer the phone, have lunch, play games on your phone in the toilet, get through and go home. And that’s fine. Sort of. You will have just about done your job, but will that kind of routine get you promoted? Will it get you noticed as a rising star? Or have you earmarked as ’one to watch’? It’s doubtful. Anyone who has become truly successful, well paid and respected, no matter what industry they work in, has always done more than they were asked. They have used their initiative and found ways to make their boss’ life easier. 2) Do sweat the small stuff In every job, there are simple yet essential daily tasks that can build up and get out of control if left unattended to tackle the bigger, possibly more interesting tasks. Get the basics done quickly, thoroughly and efficiently to create time in your schedule for more ambitious projects and to be more pro-active. 3) Get to know what makes your boss tick The best, most useful employees learn to form a great working relationship with their boss, to the point where they can sense when he or she is in a great mood and is therefore open to being approached (or being asked for a raise!). By the same token, a good employee will be sensitive to those days when the boss is suffering from inevitable work stresses or facing personal challenges. At these times, you should know how to work in a way that eases the pressure off of them a bit. Your boss shouldn’t have to ask. It’s up to you to hone your people skills, to be empathetic and to gauge when things can be heaped on and when things are simply best left. 4) Learn to take a break when needed Being hardworking is the most obvious way to be productive at work but if you’re exhausted and burnt out from weeks of late nights and early starts, you’re not going to be useful to anyone. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water, eating healthily and enjoying some downtime every day. Exercise is a great way to de-stress and refresh your mind, so take walks on your lunch breaks or head to the gym. Get away from your desk every now and again to rest your eyes and stretch your legs. 5) Regularly recharge your batteries The best way of bouncing back from something negative is to immediately do something you enjoy. So, in the immediate aftermath of rejection, socialise with friends or do something you love. Fill yourself with positive energy that you can then use to renew your job search. 6. Aim to work somewhere you enjoy, for someone you respect This is a tricky one because what you think is your dream job could turn out to be a nightmare and you have no control over how your boss acts. However, if you make it your aim to find an interesting role you enjoy for a boss whose work ethos you respect then you are going to work harder. If you'd like more information on this guide or would like to know more about the roles we have available, contact one of our consultants today.