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The New Year is here and everyone is either contemplating or commencing their New Year’s resolutions. Amidst personal goals to eat healthier and spend less money, many also have professional vows they made for 2012 – including me. A big one for me is maximizing my work productivity and being more efficient when managing time.
Here are a few tips that can help you make the most of your work day:
1. Check Email Sporadically: One of the biggest drains on one’s work productivity is the constant distraction of email. Schedule 1-3 times per day to check email and stick to it. Or, even better, set your email so it only comes into your inbox every 30 minutes or hour. (Just make sure your coworkers know if you decide to go this route, so they can contact you via phone if anything urgent arises.)
2. Use the O.H.I.O. Method: “OHIO” stands for “Only Handle It Once.” So once you start a task, make sure you finish it. If you don’t have time to complete it, set aside time to do it all later. Postponing half-completed assignments will only lead to more clutter and stress.
3. Work in Flights: Studies have shown that taking small breaks throughout the day actually increases work productivity. Each hour, work steadily for 50 minutes (no phone calls or checking email), and then take a break for the last 10 minutes. Doing so allows your brain to “reset” and helps you stay focused throughout the day.
4. Schedule “Buffer Time”: You can be the best of the best at writing a to-do list, but if you don’t allow for “buffer time” – the time spent handling the unexpected phone call, the traffic jam, the meeting that runs way over, etc. – your schedule will inevitably run behind. Leave a little room each day for the unexpected.
Do you have any time management or productivity tips? Share them below!