10 Productivity Tips to Improve Your Work Life

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Train tracksThere’s something really disheartening about reaching the end of a workday and feeling as if you didn’t accomplish much. What many people fail to realize is that it is the little things you do — or don’t do — each day that impact productivity more than any major crisis situation.

If you would like to get more done on any given day, take a look out these ten productivity tips.

1. Be a Ruthless Taskmaster in Meetings

People think they hate meetings. They don’t. People love meetings that are productive gatherings of relevant individuals communicating with one another and working towards a common goal.

What people hate are meetings that go on too long because nobody is keeping things on track. Be the person who stops conversations  from being sidetracked and who cuts off the meaningless chitchat. Your coworkers will appreciate your efforts, and you’ll shave time-wasting minutes off of every meeting you attend.

2. Stop Checking Your Email

Unless you are expecting something that urgent, you are wasting your time checking your email or other messages more than three times per day. Don’t turn checking your email into a nervous habit. Schedule specific times during the day when you will check your email, send replies, and compose new mail.

3. Work From Home When Tasks Require Significant Concentration

It’s frustrating and a waste of productive time to deal with interruptions and general office noise when you are working your way through expense reports or other tasks that require undivided attention. When you are working on a task that requires little to no human interaction, consider ditching the office in favor of your home or some other, relatively peaceful space.

4. Stop Using Email to Replace Conversation

We’ve all seen it happen. A simple email over a simple issue becomes an exchange that eats up an hour of time. You can resolve things much faster if you simply pick up the phone, knock on someone’s door, or make contact on Skype. You’ll fix small misunderstandings and get your point across much more efficiently.

5. Reduce Errors by Creating Checklists

PaperPeople who perform repetitive tasks often become too familiar with them. The result is that they go into autopilot mode, and they don’t notice errors until several steps later. This is, of course, assuming that they see the error at all.

By creating checklists, you force yourself to verify every step that you take before going on to the next. You’ll reduce the overall number of errors that you make, and you’ll also catch any errors that you do make right away.

6. Take Breaks and Eat Lunch

It may seem like powering through the day without stopping is the best way to get as much done as possible. In reality, this is a formula for becoming distracted, irritable, and tired before mid-afternoon.

If you take a few breaks at regularly scheduled intervals, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to concentrate when you get back to your desk. If you insist on skipping breaks, at least take a lunch.

7. If You Take the Train, Use Your Commute Time to Get Things Done

This is the perfect time to update your daily to-do lists, send important texts or emails, and check in with the people you are collaborating with. You can also spend this time reading relevant articles and checking up on your company’s social media pages.

8. Break Large Tasks Into Small, Manageable Sets of Sub-Tasks

It is very tempting, when faced with a massive task, to procrastinate and avoid it. On the other hand, it can also be tempting to put everything on the back burner until you have tackled the big job — or you have worn yourself out trying. The former means that nothing gets done. The latter means that other important tasks are neglected, and you’ll likely burn out.

If you break big jobs down into smaller jobs and schedule time to work through these little tasks each day, you’ll get the job done in a reasonable amount of time.

9. Prioritize Tasks According to Importance

Try using this proven technique to prioritize the tasks that are on your to-do list. Categorize each task as you get it, and work on the tasks that are truly important before you work on anything else.

10. Shut Down Distracting Notifications

BeachAt the beginning of each day, go to your phone and laptop, and shut down any pop up notifications and ‘dings.’ This includes email and text notifications, chat heads, instant messaging, and any other app that could pop up and disrupt your work.

It really doesn’t take that much to combat the little distractions and interruptions that keep us from being as productive as we could be. All you have to do is follow these simple tips, and you’ll become a super-productive all-star in no time!

By Julie Ellis