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How to become more productive

 

Most of us have been guilty of being unproductive at some point during school or work. Whether we struggled to get back in the zone after a long vacation or did not sleep well the night before. There are plenty of reasons why we're sometimes less than efficient. 


To maximize your productivity in the new year, here are a few tips.


1. Limit distractions. Start by removing any distractions from your workspace. Block social media sites. Store your smartphone away from your desk. Or, limit the times people can come into your office on particularly busy days. 


Do you want to create a more productive daily schedule? It's key to make an effort to remove things that could keep you from reaching this goal. 


2. Time management. One productivity challenge is the ability to know how much time we spend on certain tasks or activities. For example, you may think that checking email for 10 minutes an hour isn't much time. But when you add up all that time throughout an eight-hour workday, you've lost almost an hour and a half. 


Use a time management software tool or a stopwatch to track exactly how much time you spend on activites. You can track any of your daily tasks from meetings to social media. Additionally, follow the two-minute rule. If you can complete a task in under two minutes, do it right away. This will keep you busy and won't impede your productivity. 


3. Establish deadlines. Being productive at work is not impossible. It does need a lot of determination and a willingness to make deliberate changes in your daily life. 


A practical step you can take during your workday is to set deadlines. For example, establish that you'll finish a certain number of tasks by a specific time. After you meet this deadline, reward yourself. Take a short break or enjoy a few stretches. This will re-energize you and keep you sharp so you can continue with the rest of your tasks throughout the day. Make sure not to go overboard with your incentives.


4. Avoid perfectionism. The pursuit of perfection is one of the biggest productivity killers. Instead of struggling to make everything go according to plan, take a step back. Later, you can return to what you were working on. This way you'll have a fresh perspective and won't waste your time. 


5. Focus on being proactive. Another productivity problem is being reactive rather than proactive. If you let emails, phone calls, and meetings dictate how you spend your day, you will never get anything done. Turn off your notifications. Set aside specific times to check email. Focus on being proactive about your work and not just playing catch up. 


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