Think Ahead, Get Ahead

Gather some brainstorming strategies for moving on up professionally

Tips on how to get ahead at work by thinking ahead
Invest in a crystal ball. Make friends with a fortune teller. Buy a time machine. Ok, so the idea of predicting the future suggests mystical magic, superstition and the inconceivable. However, if you could see into the future, imagine what prosperity you could attain. Imagine all the information that could benefit your professional agendas, improve the company’s rankings, prevent oncoming challenges and prepare for changes.

As farfetched as this idea of seeing into the future sounds, it is not impossible. You do have access to the future; it simply requires some imaginative as well as logical thinking. Ways of foretelling the future or essentially thinking ahead, include tactics of preparation, prevention, investment, maintenance and the study of trends in research and culture, but more so, trends in your own daily life.

How to Get Ahead by Thinking Ahead

Tips on how to get ahead at work by thinking ahead

Part 1: Self-Study

  • Take note of challenges in your day that lessen your efficiency, frustrate you or exhaust you. This little list of annoyances will become a resource for thinking ahead.
  • Self-analyze your own productivity. When are you most productive? What assists your productivity? Differentiate between your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Analyze your strengths. What exactly is it that produces the effective outcome? Analyze your weaknesses. Why might a particular skill of yours be less refined? What could potentially help you improve performance in this area?
  • Here’s where the thinking comes in. With all these details and brainstorms that you most likely would normally not make the time to observe, propose a plan that focuses on your performance efficiency.

Part 2: Workplace Study

  • Apply this strategy to your own company, place of work etc.
  • For example, both at home and in social realms, multi-tasking is expected and encouraged, however, in professional settings, multi-tasking can appear as disinterest, disorder or rudeness. I need to work very hard to not multi-task at work. This concern ends up sucking a lot of energy from my potential. I must self-monitor and self-remind to put the planner away, check my emails later, reapply lipstick in the restroom, drink my soda during lunch etc. I have to budget my actions instead of just taking care of business the way I naturally would. Noting this nuisance is a wonderful starting point for thinking ahead.


  • Based on trends that I have witnessed and read about, this social and popular acceptance of multi-tasking is bound to make its way into the professional culture (in the same way, emailing replaced memos, pantyhose is not required, smart phones are expected).
  • Hypothetically, I can get ahead by thinking ahead about this cultural trend.
  • Proposing some instances where multi-tasking could improve efficiency and moods amongst the workforce will be perceived as preparation for the future, prevention of falling behind and convey an overall concern with the health and benefit of the professional setting/performance
  • Some examples of strategies that include multi-tasking and could potentially impress your employer and enhance performance:
  1. Instead of printing out handouts for meetings, encourage use of smart phones to access the info visually. Send a PDF with the meeting handout attached to an email memo/announcement that may have a policy change or a deadline (a note they would have to check normally on their own timeframe). This way the colleagues are both using in-meeting time to check a work email while they are participating in a meeting. Also, project the computer screen with your PDF if projector is available.
  2. Another idea is to suggest employees to listen to work-related, research filled, strategy-oriented or performance-enhancing podcasts (with headphones) while doing desk work. In this way, they are both self-improving and producing. They are more likely to remain up-to-date and innovative if current study into their field is enabled.

These examples are simply examples that might arise from the discussed brainstorming strategies, not instructions. To get ahead, you must use your mind, your circumstance, your position, your resources, your personality and you must THINK ahead.

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