Learning how to anticipate the needs of your workplace can be a great productivity strategy that will carry on to any future career. At work everyone has a handful of tasks that must be accomplished each day, some tasks that reoccur every few days or weeks, and random things that come up unexpectedly but must be taken care of. Entry level positions provide us with an opportunity to practice anticipating what will need to get done and when things will need to get done. When we are aware of what needs to get done we can develop timelines for accomplishing tasks, and begin to see the importance of doing certain tasks in a certain order to be highly productive.
Anticipating the needs of your workplace is the same as planning ahead. Every manager, business owner, and entrepreneur has to plan ahead to make sure that the business runs smoothly and is competitive, but many entry level employees do not make an effort to learn these skills. Planning ahead is not easy. It requires greater focus and application at work, and if one is not aware of future plans or needs for the business they can not plan ahead. Entry level employees can help their managers, supervisors, and bosses by letting them know what is needed, and helping them plan ahead. Developing skills for planning ahead in an entry level position helps to prepare you for a time when you may be a manager or business owner. Learning how to be more conscious of the business, and becoming more comfortable with making predictions makes you a more valuable employee.
When you do become more aware of the business, and can develop timelines for when things need to be completed the next step is learning how to address the important things first. In entry level positions the important things are often the more difficult and time consuming tasks or activities, while the less important tasks are easy, short, and only appear to be productive. Business owners and managers can fall into the same trap. It may feel productive for owners and supervisors to work through their email inbox, but it may not be the most productive activity, and can be quite distracting, especially if they get pulled in by those Amazon suggestion emails. As an entry level employee learning how to attack the important task rather than procrastinating with semi-meaningless tasks will translate forwards to more important positions. Pushing back the important tasks will leave you and your business, regardless if you are the owner, manager, or just another employee, in a bind and a time crunch when the important stuff must be done.
As an entry level employee a great way to begin anticipating the company needs is to think like an owner. Look at what needs to be done, and begin to prioritize by considering how long everything will take, and when things will be needed by. Find the big hitter items rather than the simple tasks, and work on those when you can be the most productive. Direct your best energy towards those first, to ensure that they are done to the best of your ability. Thinking of what the manager or owner will need first, and doing them with great quality will make you more valuable, and help you stand out.