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Smart Tips for Setting the Pace at Your New Job You may not be the boss, but you are in charge of just how quickly you assimilate and how much work you take on in the early days of a new job. Find out how to do it right.

By Kanika Tolver

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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The following excerpt is from Kanika Tolver's book Career Rehab. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

When you start a new job, it's important to begin the career relationship the way you want it to be for as long as you plan to have that job. You're in the driver's seat, so don't be afraid to set your work pace in the first 90 days. During this stage, you should be evaluating what you like and dislike about your job as you get to know the people, the culture, and your responsibilities.

The first 90 days is your career relationship trial period, and it may look something like this:

Related: Building Your Street Cred to Get the Salary You Deserve

  • First 30 days. When you start a new role, it's important to really observe the culture of your new organization. Analyze when people come to work and when they leave to go home. This will tell you a lot about how to set your work schedule and whether your team values working from home and flexi­ble work schedules.
  • First 60 days. Clearly understand the expectations of your role. Ask your management team and co-workers what you should expect from your daily tasks and regular meetings. Also, try to shadow your teammates and management team before you're fully thrown into a specific project.
  • First 90 days. At this point, you should be able to identify the subject matter experts on your team. These will be the go-to folks who can help when you're stuck on a deliverable or don't understand an organization policy or office politics. Make sure you're creating a strong circle of trust so you can easily navigate work-related challenges.

To set expectations and boundaries for your new job, address the following four issues with your direct supervisor:

  1. Have your supervisor clearly communicate your work schedule.
  2. Find out the actual percentage of time you'll be spending on specific tasks or projects.
  3. Ask if you'll be able to work from home a few times per week or per month.
  4. Find out how your manager and supervisor will be rating your performance.

Don't make the mistake of not addressing these issues early on, because once you've created bad working habits, you may never be able to change them.

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Work faster with technology

Professionals spend a lot of time tracking conversations and information through email and manually keeping track of their calendars, which is a pain in the ass. Projects suffer because teams aren't effectively collaborating or communicating ongoing changes. Organizations are working in silos, which is frustrating to professionals who are forced to stay late every day. Productivity starts with organization. If you fail to be organized, you won't succeed.

These five tools can help you be more organized and productive:

  1. Calendly. This is a super easy tool that allows you to automati­cally schedule meetings and appointments for your online cal­endar. This tool sends a notification to your email and places the scheduled meeting on your calendar and the requestor's calendar.
  2. Jira. A project management tool that teams use to gather project requirements and assign user stories and tasks to team members. It also tracks progress, assigns due dates, and allows you to attach documents.
  3. Slack. An online tool that teams can use to communicate and collaborate on projects. This tool cuts down on emails because you can use the app to talk to the entire group or to individu­als. No more chasing down emails!
  4. Google Drive. This free product allows you to create docu­ments and save them in the cloud, which can be linked to your email account. Google Drive is a great way to back up your computer files and share them with other contributors.
  5. Zoom. A free online conferencing tool that allows you to conduct video meetings, record webinars, and host team meetings. It also includes a screen-sharing option.

Put yourself first

On average, you'll spend more than 90,000 hours of your life at work, according to a 2018 article in Business Insider. (This number doesn't include overtime.) When do professionals have time for their personal lives?

Growing up, I watched my parents work overtime and weekends during their entire careers, which lasted more than 32 years of my life. They were both considered "essential professionals," who had to report to work even during snowstorms. Now retired, my mother has more time to herself and reflects on everything she missed out on while she was working. Your personal life, family, and health matter now. Don't wait until you retire to focus on the things that matter today.

Related: Preparing for Showtime: The Job Interview

Your organization clearly knows what they expect of you for eight hours a day. What do you expect from yourself while you are at work? To have a healthy relationship with your job you first have to have a healthy relationship with yourself. So, make a conscious decision to put your wants and needs before the job.

Here are ten ways to focus on you:

  1. Pray or meditate daily. It helps ease your mind before your day begins and promotes positivity in your life.
  2. Work a hard eight hours and then go home. Working longer hours may only mean something to you. Once you've done all you can do in those eight hours, leave on time.
  3. Turn your work mobile phone off once you've finished work. There's no need to respond to every call or email that comes through after work hours. You can follow up with them the next business day.
  4. Work out three to five times a week. It will help you feel and look better, as well as help you cope with work-related stress. It's so important to take care of your car­diovascular health.
  5. Eat healthy meals throughout the day to stay energized and keep yourself feeling great.
  6. Take daily walks while at work; a change of scenery can help you feel better. Get outside and get a good dose of Vitamin D.
  7. Make time for routine doctor appointments. So often we work so hard that we neglect our health. When you're not feeling well, follow up with your doctor and get diagnosed early.
  8. Schedule monthly massages for your body. For those who sit at computers daily and those who have labor-intensive jobs, deep tissue massages help ease the pain in your upper and lower back.
  9. Sign up for non-work-related classes or online courses that interest you. This will help you learn new topics and skills outside your job duties.
  10. Embrace your hobbies, talents, and gifts outside work. Too often we focus on our career-related skills and neglect our other abilities. Your hobbies and passions will help keep you sane.
Kanika Tolver

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

CEO and Author of Career Rehab

Kanika Tolver is the CEO and founder of Career Rehab, LLC in Washington, D.C., where she helps clients transform their careers with coaching programs, events, webinars and digital resources to help people reach their career goals. An in-demand coach, consultant, speaker and thought leader, she has been featured on CNN, CNBC, CBS Radio, Yahoo!, Black Enterprise, Glassdoor.com, Entrepreneur.com, The Washington Post and a variety of radio interviews and podcasts. Kanika is the author of the acclaimed title, 'Career Rehab: Rebuild Your Personal Brand and Rethink the Way You Work.' 

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