In the IT industry it’s easy to be swept up in the frenzy of learning cutting edge technologies, implementing innovative solutions, and revolutionizing at every turn. But, when you’re always looking for a new way to solve a problem, you may be wasting time by overlooking what you already know.
Best practices are a great example of this phenomenon. A lot of techies want to chunk them out the window in favor of developing new methods and new ways of doing things. This innovation will surely slow down the process and, if it’s a process that already works, why spend so much time trying to reinvent the wheel?
Consistency seems counterintuitive in the current, ever changing world of IT but there should be a place for it in your work. When you’re trying to solve a problem, jumping from one new strategy to the next without seeing any of them through to their conclusion is truly less effective than consistently pursuing one or two solutions to see how they play out.
How can you use consistency to improve your workflow or increase your performance? Here are a few situations where applying consistency can boost your career!
1. Job Search: Applying for five jobs the first day of your job search and then returning to the job boards to sporadically apply whenever you remember to after that is not the best strategy for getting the job. Consistency works well here because if you set aside time each day to research new opportunities, you’ll have a more thoughtful job process that will ultimately lead to an offer from a position that you know is right for you, rather than an offer from a position you put very little effort into finding.
2. Finding Solutions: When a bug rears its ugly head or a roadblock appears at work it can be incredibly frustrating! But, even with very little experience under your belt, you should know some basic methods to finding solutions in every aspect of your job. Instead of spending your time trying to find a new solution, try applying the solutions you’ve already used to problems that are similar. If it doesn’t work, tweak your solutions and go from there!
3. Long Projects: Consistency is key when you’re working on a long project. Each step needs to fall into place and be error free at the correct times—which can be an orchestration nightmare if you don’t plan ahead and apply consistency. Set goals and work diligently on small pieces of the project each day, consistently, or you may find yourself with nothing to show when the deadline arrives.
4. Seeking Promotions: Getting a promotion is about more than doing your job well in most companies. It also means going the extra mile, taking on responsibilities that aren’t expected of you and seeing them through or learning leadership skills and applying them every day. Consistency is a great strategy if you’re looking to get a promotion because employers want to promote people they can always rely on, not just people who are occasionally helpful.
5. Developing a Professional Network: Like any relationship, your professional network will only blossom if you put consistent effort into it. Letting your connections go too long without hearing from you will make them think that you don’t value them or their time. If you want a strong professional network you can rely on, you’ll also need to rely on the power of consistency.
To put consistency to good use, you need to draw upon skills you already have. This is where using what you already know comes in and plays a big role. Being future focused is fine but there is something to be said for facing the project in front of you with the skills you currently have. Sure, if you knew that cutting edge technology you may be able to come up with a really cool solution, but using the technology you already know will save you the time you’ll spend on learning. That saved time can be allocated to learning cutting edge technologies down the road, when your schedule is less packed, that will improve your future performance.
Consistency is boring and lacks the “revolutionary” flare that many in the IT world are currently drawn to but it’s also incredibly effective. Organizing your inbox may seem trivial right now but it will save you on time later in the week. Learning that cutting edge technology you’ve been hearing about is great but first you need to tackle the work in front of you with the skills you already have. There is a time and place for future-focused work, especially as a technical professional, but don’t forget to use what you already know. Applying some consistency and putting your existing skill set to use may be the key to improving your career!