Do you regularly find yourself sitting at your desk at 5 PM, wondering how you could possibly still have so much left to do? A few extra minutes checking social media and one trip too many to the common area for a cup of coffee, and the day’s pretty much over without much to show for it. It happens to the best of us from time to time.
But these distractions aren’t the only productivity drains you need to look out for. Here are four things you need to stop doing immediately if you want to be at peak performance:
1. Saying Yes to Everything
Whether in your personal life or at work, overextending yourself will eventually wear you down. If you’re constantly rearranging your calendar to accommodate others, you may not only lose sight of what you need to prioritize for yourself, but you may also end up wasting time and energy better spent on other tasks. There will be times when you need and want to be flexible, but you have a lot to do and you want to be sure you get it done!
Saying no could be as simple as stating, “I’d love to help, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to give it my full attention and will end up delivering something less that desirable. Once I’m done with this project, I’ll have more time to be flexible. I’d love to see how I can help at that time.”
2. Trusting It All to Memory
Your memory may be exceptional, but why take chances? You’re juggling multiple projects and a personal calendar to boot. At some point, something will fall through the cracks. Don’t wait until you show up unprepared for a meeting or miss an important deadline. Write out a daily agenda of what you need to accomplish and cross off as you go. The good, old fashioned to-do list has stood the test of time for a reason, but if you’d rather take the digital route, check out a few apps to keep you on track.
3. Always Being Available
It’s a hard habit to break, but if you can free yourself of the need to respond immediately to texts or emails, you’ll be able to give projects your undivided attention. That will allow you to focus more closely on the task at hand. When you’re focused, you finish tasks more quickly – and you usually do a better job on them, too!
Blocking off time to dedicate yourself to a task without interruptions is a foolproof way to get more done in less time – barring an emergency call from your nanny, the fire department, or your CEO, that is.
4. Trying to Do It All
Research has found that multitasking leads to wasted time and inefficiency, so why do we still believe that we need to multitask to succeed? Complete your tasks one at a time to ensure you’re performing to the best of your ability
A version of this article originally appeared on Atrium Staffing’s blog.
Michele Mavi is Atrium Staffing‘s resident career expert.