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Foolproof Ways to be More Independent (and Satisfied) at Work


When employees feel free to make their own choices at work, they’re happier and more productive — according to experts on human autonomy.

It makes sense that people are more motivated when a personal reward is at stake. However, doing so in the workplace has gone by the wayside because we’re constantly rushing around to the tune of other people’s demands and desires. When we get accustomed to pleasing others day in and day out, we tend to forget what it feels like to be proud of a goal we’ve set for ourselves.

To find true satisfaction in our work, we have to achieve the type of self-sufficiency that satisfies both our own needs, and the needs of the company we serve. If you’re ready for a more enriching, rewarding, and productive work life, these foolproof tips are just what the doctor ordered.

Teach Yourself Something New

If you feel you’re constantly waiting on other people to help you accomplish simple tasks, it’s probably time to learn a new skill. We’re not talking about quitting your job — we’re talking about learning new skills that can enhance and invigorate your work. For example, let’s say you’re an expert content marketer. Instead of sending that eBook copy to an outsourced freelance designer to get finished — just learn to design it yourself!

coworking spacePhoto by Haldane Martin

Okay — so you’re on board for the whole self-improvement thing. But what new skills should you be learning?

Well, it all depends on what best compliments your current and future goals. For example, if you’re an Adobe pro, maybe you can try your hand at HTML and CSS to open up possibilities to what you can create. Likewise, if you’re a digital marketer, you can learn to become a design pro and start creating those Pay Per Click ads yourself.

Acquiring new skills is also beneficial for your brain — and it’ll give you that extra burst of energy to stay sharp and fresh for your daily tasks.

And, luckily for those of us prepared to put on our thinking cap in a whole new way, signing up for online and in-person classes is easier and more affordable than ever.

Sites like Skillshare and Lynda offer comprehensive online courses in everything from hand-lettering to UX design basics. Sites such as General Assembly also offer classes in physical locations, if you’re more of a hands-on learner.

For more ideas on where to take classes, check out this comprehensive list: The 37 Best Websites to Learn Something New.

 

Stay Ahead of Industry Trends

Staying updated on current events is something most of us do without really trying. It’s how you know who’s running in the presidential primaries, how you join in on the discussion of the Super Bowl half time show, and why you’re suddenly pondering life on Mars.

riding a bike

If you like staying informed of local and world news, why not try to gain a sharper edge when it comes to your industry? This is a helpful way for marketers and designers to get ahead in the workplace, because professional creatives are expected to simultaneously fit into industry trends and create innovative work that stands out.

Keeping your finger on the pulse of your industry can help elevate your daily work — and it only takes a few extra minutes out of your day.

For designers, there are a handful of helpful aggregate sites that collect the best design articles from around the web. We especially like Panda, Web Designer News, Designer News, and Sidebar.

Marketers and content strategists can head to sites like Inbound.org, Reddit, Marketing Land and Adweek to see whats going on in their industry.

These sites offer inspiring tips and advice from industry thought leaders. They also loop you in on critical industry conversations, and inform you of new breakthroughs or feature releases on the products that you use daily.

 

Keep Your Work Organized

solo chair at desk

Does the following conversation look familiar?

You: Hey Emily, do you have the most recent sales sheet?

Jill: I have one in my email and one in Google Drive. Which one is the most recent?

You: Uhh, I’m not actually sure.

Jill: Ask Greg to get it for you — he probably knows!

And so the cycle continues — you go on to ask three different people for the sales sheet until you find it — only to realize it hasn’t even been updated. Disorganization in the workplace is the number one killer of independent productivity — it wastes time, puts you behind, and makes you and your co-workers frustrated.  

Even Dilbert understands these frustrations, which run rampant in almost every office environment.

Dilbert Independent Work

To avoid this mess, simply keep all of your own files and documents organized in a single spot. This way, you can stop relying on others to complete petty tasks, like finding a logo or emailing a sales sheet.

Better yet, why not encourage the whole team to get organized? Today’s extremely connected world offers dozens of tools for sharing files amongst teams. Cloud storage solutions like Google Drive and Box can be good for personal storage — but they can also be difficult to navigate once you involve hundreds of files and many confused team members.

Brandfolder is a tool that helps teams upload and share all of their brand assets from a single location, no matter where they’re located. This cloud-based collaboration helps to give employees more freedom and flexibility, all while giving you back more precious time in your day.

Independence in the workplace is a two-way street: when you empower the rest of your team to be more organized, they’ll work more efficiently (and stop bothering you with tedious tasks). Only then will you be completely free to learn a new skill, get ahead of the game, and start doing work that you (and your boss) are truly proud of.

Interested in learning how Brandfolder can help boost your team’s independence and productivity? Click the banner below to get in touch.

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Michelle Polizzi is a freelance writer and former content coordinator for Brandfolder. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her bicycling around Denver, catching a live concert or cooking up a fresh vegetarian dish.

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