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How to be more productive at work

ditch distractions

Imagine being the most productive version of yourself every day. Envision meeting all your deadlines without even feeling tired.  That’s the dream, isn’t it? Yet instead of being productive, we often find ourselves procrastinating.

How do you go from uninspired to extremely productive? These 7 activities will increase your productivity at work.

1) Exercise
Did you know that exercise provides immediate benefits to your brain’s cognitive processing? That’s why it’s important to be physically active in the morning. You can hike, run, hit the gym, ride your bike, or do yoga.  Even better? Fit exercise into the middle of your schedule. Take a quick walk or if you have privacy in your office, take time to stretch. You’ll immediately feel more energized.

2) Prepare To-Do Lists
To-do lists are a well-known method for getting more productive -- they get you more focused and organized. You may prefer writing in a plain old planner, or use an app like Todoist or Toodledo.

When you start the day with such a list, you feel more in control. Even if you delay some of the work, you’ll put it in tomorrow’s list so that you can make it happen. So start making a to-do list before you leave work today. You’ll hit the ground running tomorrow!

3) Prioritize
The to-do list will not get you more productive if it’s overwhelming. If you have too many tasks to complete and no realistic chance of making it by the end of the day, you’ll become discouraged.

There’s an interesting anecdote about prioritizing; it involves Mark Parker and Steve Jobs. When Parker asked Jobs for advice about being overwhelmed, this is what he got: “Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products that you lust after. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.”

Steve Jobs practically told him to prioritize. That’s what you should do, too. Take a look at your to-do list and cut the crap. Focus on the big things, which will lead you to big achievements.

4) Delegate or Outsource
What if you’re too busy working on a priority and an emergency occurs that must be handled?

Have a plan B before such emergencies occur. Determine who can do certain tasks as well as, or even better than you, and then delegate or outsource that work so that you can focus on what is mission-critical. You can do this with social media management, writing business reports, or even team leadership on a particular project.

5) Monotask
Think multitasking works? You’re wrong! Let’s be honest: you can’t talk to your boss on the phone and write an email to your team at the same time. You can’t bounce from one task to another without losing energy in between.
Researchers have found that multitasking is not only unproductive; it takes its toll on your mental health. The brain is simply not designed for it.

What does work is focus. Stop multitasking and start creating a daily schedule in a way that allows you to complete one task before you move on to another one.

distracted by smart phone
6) Resist Distractions
Even with a to-do list, it’s still easy to waste time. It’s that Twitter, isn’t it? Oh, and Reddit. And Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, and whatnot. You keep browsing through websites you don’t need for your work and lose track of time.

Stop it! If you don’t have the willpower to resist distractions, force yourself to stay away from them. Install browser extensions, like Self Control, Freedom (formerly Anti-Social), or StayFocusd, to purposely block distractions. Comparitech lists the top 10 free adblockers to keep pop-up ads from leading you astray.

7) Sleep
Yes, sleeping is an activity, too. Sleep deprivation affects your performance and you know it. Aim to sleep 7-9 hours every single night. If you can’t get enough sleep at night, take a 20-minute power nap midway through the workday. You’ll awake feeling fresh and ready for action.                    

You CAN be more productive at work. Take these 7 steps and start TODAY!                          

Guest blog by Chris Richardson

Chris Richardson is a journalist and editor at EssayGeeks.co.uk. He is fond of traveling, sports, and playing the guitar. Chris finds his inspiration in writing. Meet him on Google+.

Thanks, Chris! -- Kathy


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