Everyone develops bad work habits over time. They quietly creep into your everyday routine, stealing minutes of your productive energy and time until suddenly you’re working longer hours, but getting fewer things done.
The beginning of the new year is an excellent time to reassess your daily routine and to hit the delete button on all those bad habits you have developed over time. The following are a few helpful hints that will get you started toward being a more productive you.
You have probably heard the saying, “You have to spend money to earn money.” Well, you also need to spend time on organizing in order to earn time back into your daily routine. In other words, take the time to declutter your desk area and file things appropriately at the beginning of the year so that you aren’t constantly wasting time looking for these things on a daily basis.
While you’re decluttering, don’t forget to throw out old folders, paperwork and anything else you no longer need. Do you really need those disks for computer programs once used at your job when you no longer even use desktop applications? Of course not. These kinds of things just take up valuable space.
You should also take the time to organize your weekly schedule. It doesn’t matter whether you use a computerized calendar, a good old-fashioned date book or a cloud-based calendar to track your meetings and deadlines, just make sure to keep all your information in one location that you can easily access and update.
Sure, it’s easy to put off boring chores or daunting projects, but it is best to tackle them head-on, instead of brushing them aside. To make it easier for you to deal with big projects, remember to break them down into smaller chunks. Psychologically, it is easier to begin work on a project if you know you have a chance to finish it within a reasonable time frame.
Refuse to Be Distracted
If you have a project to complete, try to avoid clicking on your emails or going on the Internet as a distraction. Try also to limit the amount of time other people can interrupt your work. For instance, if you are in a job where people are constantly walking up and requesting you to perform tasks for them, ask them if they can email them to you instead and you will get to their requests as soon as possible. When you allow yourself to be distracted from a task to start another, you lose precious time later when you have to remember where you had left off on your previous project. Stay focused and finish what you start before moving on to other tasks.
Many people are working on autopilot. They do the same thing day in and day out, often performing tasks, not because they’re necessary, but because it’s what they always did in their company.
For at least one week, take the energy and time to self-observe everything you do during the day and then figure out ways to fix or eliminate those things that are wasting your time and serve no purpose.
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Jessica Bosari writes about work productivity and business solutions for the printing and brochure design company Snap.