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How productive are you at work? If you’re like most workers, continual distractions, feelings of discontent, and a lack of motivation can destroy your productivity. Ultimately, your To Do list keeps growing longer and your stress level keeps going up. Fortunately, there are ways to break the cycle by making small changes to increase your productivity on a daily basis. All you need to do is make small changes in your lifestyle.



Break big tasks down

If you feel overwhelmed by large projects, which causes you to procrastinate and ignore them, the trick to finally getting them done is to break them down into smaller tasks. Write down a list of steps to accomplish the larger task that’s causing you to be unproductive. Each of those small steps should go on your To Do list and the big task should be erased. When you finish all of those smaller, less intimidating steps, the big task that was causing your stress level to skyrocket will be done.

Check your email at specific times only

Email, social media, phone calls, meetings, and coworker drop-ins at your desk, office, or cubicle are often distractions that destroy your productivity. You can’t avoid any of these things at work, but you can make an effort to schedule them into your day, so they’re more useful than distracting. For example, set specific times each day when you check your email such as once when you get to work, once before lunch, once in the mid-afternoon, and once before you leave work for the day. Depending on the volume of email you get and the typical urgency of those messages, you might need to adjust this schedule.

Set your own deadlines

Ambiguity breeds procrastination. That means if a task doesn’t have a due date, it’s easy to put it off until it becomes an emergency, but that means the task stays on your To Do list indefinitely. Every time you see it on your list, it adds to your stress. Rather than ignoring tasks that don’t have specific deadlines, create your own. This helps you avoid letting things sit on your To Do list for days or months.

Take short breaks throughout your the day

Researchers have found that taking short breaks throughout the workday actually makes employees more productive and improve brain health. To that end, re-energize yourself by getting up and walking around several times during the day. If you can, go outside and get some fresh air. If you can’t get outside or leave your desk, stretch at your desk or try deep-breathing exercises.

Schedule time to tackle the little things

It’s likely that your To Do list includes a bunch of ‘quick hit’ tasks that each take 10 minutes or less. When you have each one of these small tasks listed on your To Do list, your list looks long and overwhelming. To quickly pare down your list and ease your stress level, schedule a time to tackle all of the small tasks. Within one or two hours, you could reduce your To Do list significantly!

By Damilola Faustino

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