Have breakfast before work
Don’t wait until you get to the office to reach for your morning yoghurt. Sitting in front of the computer with food and coffee make you more likely to surf blogs and social media instead of jumping to important tasks, says Laura Stack, productivity speaker and author of Doing the Right Things Right: How the Effective Executive Spends Time. “You can’t really work when you’ve got a spoon in hand and are constantly reaching for something,” she says. “You get this laidback feeling, and it’s not as productive as having both hands on the keyboard.”
Make the right to-do list
Most people write to-do lists with easy tasks on top so they can feel good about crossing those items off, says Charles Duhigg, author of Smarter Better Faster: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business. But this system helps self-esteem, not productivity. Instead, organise your list with long-term goals on top to remind you of what’s most important, and daily goals at the bottom to plan how you’ll reach them. Daily tasks should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and have a timetable – what Duhigg calls SMART goals. Being realistic about the time you have and how long a task will take can help ensure you accomplish what you plan.
Set a timer
Force yourself to stay in the zone by setting strict chunks of uninterrupted work, says Kevin Kruse, author of 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management. Setting a 50-minute timer will give a long enough period to get into the zone and put a dent in your work before taking a 10-minute break. “If you get that itch to get up or look something up on the internet, the timer says you can hold off for 20 more minutes,” Kruse says. Most phones have built-in stopwatches, but Kruse recommends a separate kitchen timer or hourglass for a visual reminder that keeps your hands away from the distraction of your phone notifications.
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