Whether we like it or not, we spend a lot of our time at work. In fact, according to at least one estimate from Gettysburg College, the average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime – which is about a third of your life.
So it’s understandable to want to make sure that time is well spent. When you’re not making the most of your work time — and not seeing much in the way of positive changes as a result — that can be really disheartening to continue participating in over many weeks, months, and years of your career.
So what are some things you can do to make sure the work you’re doing is meaningful, and to make sure you’re making an impact in the work that you do for such a significant percentage of your life?
First of all, it’s important to be well connected at work. Not just because making connections is important for networking and having the right team to complete tasks, but also because that will help you feel more connected to the company’s goals and visions. If you care more about the success of the people around you who you work with every day, it’s likely you will in turn care more about the company itself doing well, and that can only be a good thing.
David Cunningham, M. Ed., a communication and leadership expert who has led seminars and courses to more than 100,000 people as a Senior Program Leader for Landmark Forum, says that “being connected to a purpose leaves people more satisfied with their work,” and it can lead to them being more productive. And that can certainly help you make an impact at work.
Experts say you should also also work on not being a “naysayer” in the workplace. Give constructive criticism, of course, but be open to solutions and work on your flexibility with helping your team identify and rectify problems as much as you can. Landmark Forum’s David Cunningham also recently appeared on ABC’s Good Morning Washington and talked about how complaining, or “whining,” can affect the impact you make at work. In general, it’s a good idea to work on being a positive, proactive force in the workplace, not a constant critic.
Inspiring confidence with a professional attitude, appearance, and outlook can also change the impact you have and make at work. Not only will these qualities help to inspire the rest of the staff who you work with, but taking positive actions within yourself is never a bad thing – they can help you to be your own inspiration, so to speak. And you never know when someone higher up — like a supervisor on a team determining promotions within the company — will take notice and remember the impression you make in each interaction.
The truth is, there are a lot of ways to make a positive, constructive impact at work, and these are just a few very simple suggestions when it comes to making changes. But even with small steps, you’re still moving forward towards being the best person you can be in the workplace, and for your team.