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6 Tips to Avoid Getting Complacent at Work

Whether you work in an advertising agency like I do or in another field that is constantly changing, it is imperative that you take the steps necessary to avoid getting complacent on the job. Complacency leads to mediocrity and professional boredom – two traits that will get you replaced – either by your client or your employer. At The BLU Group – Advertising & Marketing we are constantly pushing one another to be better and do better for our clients, for the agency, and for ourselves. Below you will find 6 tips that have helped me avoid getting complacent both at work and in my personal life. 1. Set Goals One of the best ways to avoid being complacent is to set goals for yourself. I personally find this to be the most important tip, because if I just come to work and do the same things over and over again, I’ll lose my mind. I need something to look forward to; a challenge to accomplish. Even with the frustration and stress that can sometimes coincide with a goal, I love it. It keeps me going. By setting goals, I create new challenges that fuel my desire to be better, learn more, and keep myself engaged. 2. Increase Your Value If you’re not improving your skill set or knowledge base, challenging yourself to do and be better, or asking great questions, you start to lose value. I personally take pride in being a valuable asset to my team, but if that isn’t important to you, think of it this way: If you continue to lose value, why would your employer want you? There is always someone out there who is willing and able to take over your position. If that doesn’t keep you on your toes, I’m not sure what will. 3. Fill Your Bucket With Knowledge I usually start my day by catching up on the latest news and business articles, and I make a point to read an article on a topic that I don’t know much about. Not only does this keep me on my toes about what’s going on around me, but it also keeps me interested and expands my knowledge base. It ties back to tip #2 about increasing your value, but for me, it serves as a great reminder that things are constantly changing. You can’t keep doing things the same way and using outdated tools and theories. When you make yourself aware of the changes around you, it helps to shake away some of the complacency that make creep up on you. 4. Take A Break From The Monotony It’s easy to become disengaged at work when you have to deal with tedious (and seemingly relentless) tasks day in and day out. If you find yourself becoming machine-like in your tasks (i.e. creating an action with little-to-no thinking) it’s time to take a step back. Try working on something else, take a walk, or (my personal favorite) delegate some of the work to a co-worker or intern (if you can). When you get pulled into small tasks that suck away your time, you’re not doing yourself (or your company) any favors. It will wear you down and your performance will be reflected accordingly. 5. Embrace Challenges / New Experiences When I first heard that I would be leading a market research project, I was (to put it lightly) un-enthused. I disliked market research while earning my Bachelor degree, and I disliked it even more when I was required to conduct it during my MBA thesis. Instead of griping about how much I didn’t like it, or throwing my hands in the air because it was outside of my expertise (and comfort level), I just embraced it. The result? I learned more from that project than I’ve learned from any project in my three years at The BLU Group. That knowledge is mine, and I wouldn’t have it if I had just passed the torch to someone else. 6. Get A Life! It’s great when an employee wants to succeed and dedicates their time outside of the 8-5 to get things done. Let’s be honest; if you want to succeed at anything, you need to put in the extra time. But if you’re not setting aside time for a little R&R, quality time with friends / family, or doing things you love, you will burn out. When you can build a little work / life balance, you’ll work faster, smarter, and more enthusiastically. You’ll love it, and your employer will reap the benefits as well. What other tips to you have to help avoid getting complacent at work? I would love to hear about them and give them a try.