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8 Things Productive People Do During the Workday

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No matter where you work or what you do, you're always looking for ways to be more productive. Oversized coffee mugs and 3 page to-do lists may not be the answer. It's time to put an end to ridiculously long emails and pick up a few new habits, or perhaps revisit old ones.

Nothing beats having a super productive day at work. But simply checking tasks off of your to-do list doesn't mean you're working efficiently. Don't mistake doing more things for doing things that actually increase productivity. In fact, doing fewer things each day can actually increase your productivity.

Here are eight ways you can eliminate unnecessary tasks and focus on what is really important:

  1. Create a smaller to do list. Your goal shouldn't be to cram as many tasks as possible into eight hours. There really isn't anything productive about putting together a checklist with a slew of tasks. Take a less-is-more approach to your to-do list by only focusing on accomplishing things that really matter.
  2. Take breaks. That ache that fills your brain after powering through several hours worth of work isn't a good feeling - it's your brain using up glucose. Do yourself a favor and remove yourself from your work perodically. Take a walk, have a snack, or meditate. Your brain will thank you, and you'll return to work with higher energy and focus levels.
  3. Follow the 80/20 rule. Did you know that 80 percent of your results come from only 20 percent of what you do each day? Eliminate the things that have a minimal effect on your overall productivity, and you're left with the tasks that achieve 80 percent of your desired results.
  4. Start your day by focusing on yourself. Waking up and checking your emails allows others to dictate how you start your day. Instead, take time to focus on yourself. Have a nice breakfast, excercise, or catch up on the news. You'll find yourself better prepared to respond to people and get work done.
  5. Take on harder tasks earlier in the day. Save the busy work for later in the day when the afternoon slump hits. Take advantage of your brain while it's fresh and knock-out your most challenging work.
  6. Pick up the phone. Email has created poor communication habits. Sure, there are times when email is the most convienent method of communication. But if an email chain goes beyond two replies, it's time to pick up the phone. You'll save time and get more done.
  7. Create a system. When you find things that are damaging your daily productivity, create a system for managing them. Instead of getting distracted from your important tasks by checking your email throughout the day, plan time slots for managing your emails. Don't let the little things distract you from what's important.
  8. Don't confuse productivity with laziness. A number of time-saving methods - like meetings and emails - are actually just ways to avoid doing actual work. Sheer laziness is the number one contributor to lost productivity. Place your focus on the things that matter most, and do them as efficiently as possible.

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