Don’t wake up an hour earlier. Turn off that cell phone and make time to do nothing. Stretch at your desk to keep yourself focused and alert.

There are probably thousands of strategies we’ve recommended over the years to be more productive, more effective, and more successful. But we also recognize that there are so many different tricks that you’ll actually become less productive, effective, and successful if you spend your time trying them all out.

So, how are you supposed to know which ones to try and which to skip?

You’re in luck, because I’m giving you a shortcut. Below are six common career goals with one of my all-time favorite suggestions each that’s specifically geared toward what you’re trying to achieve. You’ll get to skip the stuff that has nothing to do with where you’re headed and focus on perfecting methods that actually help.


1. If You Want a Promotion: Try the SLLS Focus Method

When it comes to getting promoted, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings while also staying in the zone. You know, getting all your work done (well)—but also keeping an eye on the bigger picture.

So, how can you do that at the same time? Try a former sniper’s “Stop, Look, Listen, Smell (SLLS)” method. It’ll help you focus intensely, while also allowing you to notice what’s happening around the office.


2. If You Want to Be a Better Networker: Do This Two-Minute Email Trick

The first step in becoming a better networker is to learn the secret to sending emails that’ll get responses. You can’t “pick someone’s brain” if that someone never responds.

How can you do that?

Add an article or relevant internet discovery when you reach out to contacts via email to make them feel special. I personally tested this one out earlier this year and found that it led to an 85% response rate. Not too shabby!


3. If You Want to Conquer the Job Search: Use the “9-Out-of-10” Rule

Spending an entire afternoon filling out job application after job application is not only draining, but it also doesn’t incite a lot of confidence. How will a potential employer get excited about you if your application doesn’t show your enthusiasm?

Before you fill out any more job applications, use the “9-Out-of-10” rule: It’s pretty simple: If you aren’t giving a job listing at least a nine out of 10 in terms of your delight over the job listing and your competency, scrap that application until you finish ones that you’re more excited about.


4. If You Want to Be a Better Manager: Give Themes to the Days of Your Week

There’s a reason Jack Dorsey’s able to be CEO of two major companies at the same time: He has a system that works. Take a page out of his playbook and give themes to your days of the week and then organize your tasks and meetings around them.

He says that it helps keeps momentum up regardless of what you’re doing, so you don’t get bogged down with all of the random tasks that get thrown your way every day. It’s easy to get distracted by everything going on around you (and all the people who need your help urgently)—but this strategy will keep you on track.


5. If You Want to Be More Innovative: Write Down Your Ideas

Fact: Constantly coming up with great ideas is hard. Luckily for you, John Gannon created an awesome 15-minute plan that’s easy to use and also easy to adapt once you get the hang of it.

In addition, it allows you to build relationships, get in a positive zone, and boost your career without even leaving your bed (or waking up a zillion hours earlier).


6. If You Just Want to Be More Efficient: Check Out the Eisenhower Method

Is the good, old-fashioned technique of listing virtually everything you need to do just not cutting it? Use the Eisenhower Method to figure out what to prioritize.

The Eisenhower is a personal favorite of mine because it forces you to think about the difference between tasks that are important and tasks that are urgent and makes you find ones that fit both criteria. For example, planning a co-worker’s birthday party for next month may be important for team morale (and not to mention fun), but it’s probably not as urgent as finishing an investor report that’s due at the end of the week.



What are your favorite strategies for success at work? Let me know on Twitter!


Photo of working woman courtesy of Shutterstock.