7 Ways to Be Better at Your Job in 2014

How to ramp up your job performance in the new year and meet your career goals.

Happy young business man working at his computer
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Branch out. Out of fear or laziness, you may have passed on assignments outside the purview of your job description, and as a result, lowered your chance of earning a promotion. According to a 2013 CareerBuilder study of 2,076 hiring managers and human resource professionals, 71 percent of employers reported passing on promotions due to employees saying, "that's not my job." However, if you've ably performed in your position, "ask for more work or identify opportunities where you can connect your skills to different problems," Schawbel says. Taking a more proactive approach shows your boss that you're serious about earning a promotion and pay raise, he notes.

Make yourself indispensable. While you may be a decent employee, you've failed to demonstrate that the company would be worse off without you around. "There's a lot of things you can do to help a company and showcase just by your very presence that they're better for having you onboard and on their staff than they are when you're not there," Marx says. Some of those actions include showing up early and staying late as needed, double- and triple-checking your work, submitting work on time or ahead of schedule and using your extra time to help others around you.

[Read: 7 Tips to Stop Procrastination.]

Be productive outside your office. Your job shouldn't begin and end at your desk. During your downtime at home, track down authorities in your field on social media and follow them. They may provide pithy tweets or Facebook posts that inspire you to change work habits that are holding you back. To keep up with your industry and where it's heading, regularly read related blogs, Schawbel advises. Also, if you're struggling with a particular aspect of your job, Schawbel suggests visiting online educational sites such as the Khan Academy and Skillshare. Khan Academy offers thousands of free lessons on a host of subjects, including computer programming, economics, finance and math, while also allowing you to track your learning progress. With instruction from professionals, Skillshare offers numerous cost-friendly lessons on everything from social media strategy to the basics of Adobe Photoshop. Let the sites serve as a substitute mentor if your boss or colleagues are too preoccupied to share their expertise. Joining professional associations can also help you gain "more knowledge of your industry and relevant content that you can bring back into the workplace," Schawbel says.