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7 Productivity Tools That Boost Your Confidence at Work

Working in education, it’s important we’re always learning the best ways to build our professional skills so that we can better serve our children and the communities in which we operate.

According to The Balance Careers, Managers and Supervisors value employees with these top professional skill sets: planning, organizing, leading, coordinating, directing and managing.

If you’re interested in sharpening your skills and would like guidance on how to strengthen your competencies, we have seven specific self-management skills (and resources) that will help you become a more confident, calm and valuable contributor to your team.

Ready to learn more? Let’s go!

1. Big-Picture Thinking

Need help understanding the broader purpose behind your organization’s work? Do you want clarity on how your work contributes and impacts your colleagues’ work? Make sure everything you are doing aligns with your organization’s vision by adopting a big-picture perspective. Here’s how.

Why It’s Important

Big-picture thinking allows you to better understand the scope and impact of your work from an organizational and departmental level.

The Benefits You’ll See

When you take on this mentality, you become a more engaged problem solver. You’ll structure your work in a way that brings distinct value to your organization as it moves towards that big picture. In addition, you’re able to quickly identify patterns and problems that hinder progress.

You’ll be able to determine what parts of your work might need to shift in order to further that big picture. 

Big picture thinking can also spark creativity because it keeps the end goal in mind and allows you to shake up the means by which you achieve it.

Brainstorming solutions becomes easier as you understand the overall objective of your work and focus on the end goal. Keeping the end goal in mind also helps to decrease the feeling of being overwhelmed that comes with being bogged down by the details of the project.

As you begin to understand the importance and benefits of the big-picture, you start to live by the quote, “ If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal.”

Practical Tools

Ready to start seeing the bigger picture? Take this online course: Big Picture Thinking.

WorkMonger Professional Development - Career Advice Blog: Big Picture Thinking Course on

The Objective of This Tool

This online course will increase your “big picture” thinking. It will also give you the ability to dynamically adapt to shifting complex systems and to better understand how your actions impact complex systems.

Specific To-Dos

Complete the training course within 30 days. Then take the next 30 days to implement what you learned.

2. Big-Picture Decision-Making

Once you start to look at the bigger picture at work, this perspective will begin to influence how you approach your decision-making process. Let’s review how.

Why It’s Important

Big-picture decision-making enables you to devise and execute which decisions will have the most positive impact on the organization’s overall goals.

The Benefits You’ll See

Once you adopt a big-picture approach to decision-making, you’ll develop a diversified way of thinking that will help you come to sound conclusions quickly. Rather than hold up progress, you move projects forward with more ease.

Practical Tools

Test your decision-making skills with this Decision-Making Quiz and discover different approaches to decision-making with these Decision-Making Models.

WorkMonger Professional Development - Career Advice Blog: Big Picture Decision Making Quiz

The Objective of These Tools

These online resources will increase your “big-picture” decision-making ability by boosting your understanding of mental models. As you go through the content, you’ll learn how to implement different decision-making strategies and how they affect the “big picture”.



Specific To-Dos

Within 30 days, see how these methodologies have increased your ability to make decisions with the full understanding of their ramifications systemwide. Specifically, take note of how you’re improving in anticipating and projecting the possible consequences of your actions.

3. Standardizing Processes

Reinventing the wheel at every turn can leave you confused and overwhelmed. When you establish a system of standardized processes, you have a go-to foundation to turn to, reducing stress and eliminating guesswork while improving the consistency of results. Here are a few ways that standardizing processes can help.

Why It’s Important

Creating a standard process establishes a blueprint for yourself and your team. It allows you to establish a routine of centralizing and documenting all the steps needed to effectively complete everyday tasks that have a high impact on the organization’s function, goals and success. It also provides for increased speed and consistency of results.

The Benefits You’ll See

Creating a standardized process for everyday tasks enables you to think clearer and reduces the possibility of execution errors. It also helps you create a pattern for yourself and your team to follow moving forward.

Why does this matter? A documented process serves as a reference point so you don’t make mistakes usually caused by guessing, assumptions or moments of urgency. This allows you to catch inefficiencies and add in steps as you see fit to make the process more effective for everyone involved.

In addition, it also makes on-boarding new employees far faster and more effective.

Practical Tools

Put this idea into practice by creating checklists for your processes. Use the Checkli tool to make this step a cinch.

The Objective of This Tool

This resource is designed to better standardize ongoing processes in order to reduce errors. It allows you to develop checklists for key work areas and flows, even including a checklist for managing lists!

Specific To-Dos

Create at least five checklists for ongoing projects, tasks, and assignments within 30 days.


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4. Prioritizing Tasks

Do you begin every workday with no clear idea of which tasks should have your full attention first? Prioritization is a key skill that sets productive employees apart. Here’s how to adopt that practice at your workplace. 

Why It’s Important

Prioritizing tasks will help you evaluate and manage the tasks that are worth your energy. In turn, this helps you approach and reach important deadlines easier and faster.

The Benefits You’ll See

When you prioritize your to-do list, you decrease your angst by developing a deeper understanding of what’s truly important and what’s not. (Just because something is urgent does not mean it is important.)

You’ll also learn how to delegate tasks to other people so you can concentrate on what’s the most important use of your time. From there, you can establish a system for identifying projects that hold more weight rather than deeming everything “a priority.”

An added advantage? You’ll learn how to create a “Stop Doing” List. Sometimes, work hangs around out of habit, and you can simply drop it.

Practical Tools

Organize and categorize your tasks by priority. The Eisenhower Matrix can show you how.

The Objective of This Tool

This matrix helps you ensure that first things are first and in the correct priority order. It empowers you to attend to the prioritization of work on a daily basis and on-demand if necessary.

Specific To-Dos

Identify and categorize the most important items on your list. Then apply them to the matrix. 

Take the time to reflect and see if there is anything you should add to your “Stop Doing” List. 

5. Tracking and Managing Tasks and Deadlines

Disparate files and clunky legacy systems aren’t enough to help you track your deliverables. You need a go-to system that puts your responsibilities into a visual format for quick analysis. Here’s how to achieve that concise approach.

Why It’s Important

Tracking your tasks gives you, your team, and your supervisor a better understanding of what it truly takes to complete a project from start to finish.

The Benefits You’ll See

Tracking your tasks allows you to better communicate what your projects entail. For example, it reveals the materials needed to complete your work, people involved, energy exerted, the standard amount of time it takes to complete and approve each task and much more.

It also enables you to use the “not right now” card more confidently in conversations. If someone wants to add a new task to your to-do list, you can quickly evaluate the possibility by comparing the level of impact it has on the organization and its urgency with the items that are already on your docket. 

If the new task takes up time or energy that you don’t currently have, you’re able to identify if you should do it now (which means something else doesn’t get done), reschedule it, delegate it, or cut it altogether. In turn, knowing how to manage your tasks efficiently can help you meet deadlines on a more consistent basis.

Practical Tools

Learn task-management decision-making methods. The GTD Method is a great place to start.

Then, implement the GTD method with the Nirvana App

Looking for the best ways to implement the GTD Method? Check out this article on the Five Best Practices for Managing Deadlines.

The Objective of These Tools

These tools help you keep track of both short-term and long-term objectives and work in a centralized manner. Create a GTD System and associated lists and then prioritize using the Eisenhower Matrix.

Specific To-Dos

Follow and use a GTD system in combination with an Eisenhower Matrix to keep track of your work in a centralized manner. Try implementing the GTD method in conjunction with the Eisenhower Matrix within 15 days. After you’ve refined your process, see if you can fully utilize the methodology within 30 days.

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6. Managing Time and Focus

It’s no secret that we have more distractions at our fingertips than ever before. How can you stay on task and resist the urge to waste time on off-focus work? Let’s review a few approaches.

Why It’s Important

Distractions and multitasking are the enemies of productivity and stellar job performance. If you don’t get a handle on them, they’ll lead to duplicated work, misunderstandings, and longer hours for yourself and possibly other teammates.

The Benefits You’ll See

By proactively managing your time and focus, you become more mindful of habits that are depleting your valuable time. This increase in concentration leads to more valuable, complete and satisfying work.

You’ll find that you’re more calm, collected and confident when you submit your work. In addition, you become more aware of patterns that may lead to inefficiency. You’re better able to quickly evaluate or eliminate the activities that don’t positively contribute to task completion, impact or offer value.

Practical Tools

Track the time it takes to complete your tasks using the Pomotodo App.

Then, zone out distractions and zone into your projects with soothing sounds. The Brain FM app is a go-to resource for functional music on demand.

While you’re at it, stop using 1000 tabs and focus on one thing. Consolidate your web applications onto a single app with Getstation.

For more information on this topic, gain insight about the myth and downsides of multi-tasking with this Harvard Business Review classic: How and Why to Stop Multitasking.

The Objective of These Tools

These tools can help increase your overall work productivity, focus, and performance. Concentrate on one task at a time to allow yourself to give full attention to each task, ensuring important details are put into place.

Stop multitasking and modify your workflow to follow the Pomodoro Technique in completing tasks and projects.

Specific To-Dos

Increase in the number of Pomodoros, rate of associated tasks completed, and goals over a 30/60/90 day period.

Use their weekly review of the summary work report to track your progress. Prioritize monotasking so that it becomes the dominant working style in everyday work within 30 days as evidenced by increased Pomodoros, task rate completion, and self-reporting. 

7. Improve Your Writing and Calculating Skills

How many hours of your day do you waste correcting writing or calculation errors? When you improve your accuracy in this area, you quicken the pace of your administrative tasks. Here are a few ways to boost your efforts. 

Why It’s Important

Typos, grammatical errors, and miscalculations may seem like tiny mishaps, but they can cause enormous problems. One wrong word or miscalculation can cost your organization a valuable client, money or even worse, your job. People assume that the person who submitted the work doesn’t care about their work, and lacks both professionalism and expertise.

The Benefits You’ll See

Taking refresher courses and being vigilant about catching errors like these can help you maintain your professionalism and decrease confusion or misunderstanding.

Practical Tools

To get started, take an online course, such as Attention to Detail + Five Fundamental Elements.

WorkMonger Professional Development - Career Advice Blog: Hemingway App - Improve Your Writing SkillsThen, make an effort to improve your writing. Online tools such as Hemingway and Grammarly track your communication as you create it, helping you discern errors and areas of improvement.

Finally, improve your overall communication and calculation skills with a resource such as the Elevate App.

The Objective of These Tools

These resources will increase your knowledge about attending to detail and reveal best practices for improving attention to detail. They’ll also help you reduce your total number of errors related to writing.

As you digest the data, you’ll also learn the five fundamental elements of detail-oriented behavior. For instance, did you know that you should read and proof everything at least once out loud and two times internally?

You’ll also discover why it’s critical that all documents be scanned by Hemingway, Grammarly, and Google Spelling and Grammar Check.

Specific To-Dos

Strive for a significant decrease in the number of work products that require reworking and the amount of reworking each work product requires due to a lack of attention to detail.

Within 30 days, both the amount of work requiring reworking and the amount of reworking required should be cut in half. In 60 days, the number requiring additional work should be 25% or less and in 90 days, less than 10% of work should require additional reworking support. 

Put These Self-Management Skills into Practice

Focusing on improving these seven types of self-management skills can increase your individual contribution to your team and help you become a more valuable team member.  It also increases your marketability, both internally for promotions as well as externally prior to your next job search.

Use these tools for yourself or share them with a colleague. If you manage a team, share this with them and let us know how it improves your overall team morale and results!

Looking for a job in education? Seeking to hire a top-tier candidate? Sign up now as a WorkMonger JobSeeker or Employer and let’s take that next step together.

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