From the mailroom clerk to the C-level executive, everyone, and I mean everyone, has the capacity to improve what they are doing in the workplace. Certain indicators that could be signs that improvement is not only beneficial but warranted could be: 1) your project timelines are not being met, 2) you are busy all day long but you hardly get any meaningful work accomplished, or 3) you are not at work but you find yourself engaged in the thought of work even when you should be really focusing on what you are doing at that time.

What needs improvement? I recommend selecting only three areas to work on at a time as the effort you may invest may be significant. If you are not certain what you should be focusing on, I recommend using the following criteria to help you determine what should be a priority: 1) Urgency, 2) Importance, and 3) Busy Work. Keep in mind that while urgent work may need to addressed immediately, it may not be necessarily important, and vice versa. Clearly, busy work is just that - busy work.

Can you improve on your own? In certain cases, the progress can be made entirely without any assistance from anyone else. If not, be sure to engage the appropriate person - mentor, for example - so as to coordinate resources in the appropriate manner; you may have a department structure that is formal and simply asking someone to help by giving advice without their respective manager's permission could be a political no-no. You definitely do not have to tell the manager everything - a simple, "I just want their opinion on something" will do.

Review the progress you have made. With any change in habit or working style, immediate feedback is important. Take the results from your most recent change and compare it to your past performance. Ensure that you have a plan to improve or change your technique with every comparison, otherwise, it will be all a waste of time. Checking with your supervisor would also be beneficial as he or she could provide valuable insight on your attempted progress that you may have never took into consideration in the first place.

In conclusion, improving your work performance is a lifetime skill within itself. You will always find ways to better yourself at work and you may find that your improvement could be contagious or could cause discord between you and a specific type of coworker. In either case, do not worry about what other people are saying about you so as long as what you are doing is right and causes no one any harm. I suppose the next real question we should all ask ourselves is "do I really want to improve myself?"