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Ever wondered why Bar One’s branding was so successful with their 25 hour day campaign? Well simply because every single human being on this ginormous planet wishes there was a extra hour in every day. An extra hour to sleep, eat, work, drive, play, cuddle or do any other productive or unproductive thing you can think of. However, it comes down to the fact that we only have 24 hours a day to work with and 8 or more of those hours are spent sleeping and the other 16 is pushed towards work and life.

Now a lot of people complain that they aren’t getting things done at work and therefore have to take work home with them and then they end up working even harder everyday than they actually should. These extra hours at home aren’t taken account for and no extra income is earned either. This extra hours of work also put stress on your relationships and your social life. That is why I decided to give you a quick summary of tips to be more productive at work.

1. Check your emails once a day


Now I know a lot of you hog your email boxes, refreshing every 5 minutes to see if there is anyone out there thinking of you as you sit through this daunting day. However, this is a grave mistake you are making, checking your email more than once a day is the main cause of being unproductive. Now you might argue and say that it takes only 10 seconds to open my email application and check my mail, sure that is true, but it takes an entire mind shift to drop what you are doing and check mail.

Let’s say you were working on a new website for “Zumboosa Cleaners” or drumming through a stack of paper work, it would require a total change of focus to check your mail. You will have to drop whatever you are doing and head over to your application of choice and open it, if there is any interesting new emails or replies from your friends on Facebook, you might just jump over to the social network and reply to their comments. You might end up reading some status updates or checking out Charlies latest video he just posted. All in all 30 minutes later you might realize, ermm I was just supposed to check my emails. Now some of you might say that you really only check your emails and then get back to work, but I can guarantee you that there are other forms of distractions that go with checking emails.

You might have to change the song in ITunes, checkout the latest Groupon deal that was posted or read some RSS Feeds that was just posted. My advice for you when it comes to checking emails is that you should check it in the mornings when you arrive at work and then leave it alone for the rest of the day. You can obviously check it in your lunch break too, that wouldn’t hurt, but try discipline yourself in that facet.

2. Leave the Social Networks at home


Unless you work for a marketing agency, are in control of the social side of the company or work for a Magazine; You aren’t going to get much done if you spend a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Flickr, FourSquare etc. Its hard in the world that we live in to cut yourself off throughout the day due to the fact that these little critters are safely tucked away in our pockets. The best advice I can give you in regards to cutting yourself off is to ignore any notifications until you are done with your work. Don’t grab the cellphone and reply immediately, you definitely aren’t helping yourself.

3. Stop the chitter chatter


Working in a office usually suffices to a lot of distractions when it comes to employees roaming around. If you are a very curious person that might come off as a extra problem because you always want to know what is going on with everyone, you hate being left out of the loop. The advice I can give you here is isolate yourself from others if you have important work to get done. Bring some headphones and rock out your favorite tunes, ignore what is going on around you and just work, work, work! You will immediately notice a change in your productiveness once you start shutting out the people around you and all the across the office conversations.

4. Do the hardest tasks first


A lot of people start off with the easiest tasks when they get in every morning, the problem this creates though is that the hardest tasks end up being moved on to the next day. The reason for this is that you grow tired and with that don’t want to attach the project head on when there is 2 hours left of the day, you will rather spend your time looking busy. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get the hardest things done first. Not only will it relieve some weight off your shoulders, but the satisfaction gained knowing that the milestone is passed can’t be described. You will enjoy your day so much more knowing that it’s behind you and that you only have small, easy tasks to finish before you can call it a day.

5. Set Goals for the day


This might sound strange, but what do you want to accomplish in the next 2 hours? Say between 9am and 11am? Why not block off that time as working on some prototype samples for next weeks product launch? By setting goals throughout the day you will be time stricken to certain things and you will know what you have to finish in order to finish the day off successfully. I’m sure a lot of people aren’t always capable of setting goals as their days aren’t capable of being planned out. However, just marginally setup tasks for each day and make sure those are completed before you go to sleep tonight. You will be rocking out as a productive agent in no time at all.

Conclusion

These tips that I have mentioned above is brought up out of personal experience. Some things work for others that don’t necessarily work for you. This is why it comes down to every person being unique. You have to find a system that works for you and run with it. Good luck with your productivity.

Main Image Credit: Works in Progress by Justin See

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About the Author:
Jacques is the CEO and Founder of the An1ken Group. Connect with him: Jacquesvh.com - @Jacquesvh - Facebook - Instagram - Pinterest - Google+
  • http://www.marcellpurham.me Marcell Purham

    Very good tips. I think I need to leave social networking alone when I am trying to design or code.

  • Glenn Harmon

    Good list. If I could make a suggestion, I would ammend the check email only once a day. Since some people use that as their only means of communication it might not seem “professional” to always get back to them the next day if they email after we are done checking emails for the day. Instead, I would recommend that checking emails be done in intervals such as start of day, lunch, and end of day or some equivalent breakdown.

  • http://justinryan.org Justin Tordella

    Great article. I agree with everything here, but the first tip re: emails is a bit extreme. Like Glenn said, some people rely on that for communication with clients. I freelance full time, so I rely on email for several areas of my work.

    I think a more realistic approach is to discipline yourself to treat email on a priority basis. If mail.app notify’s me that I have 5 new messages, I wait until I am not in the middle of something and check it. If there is anything of high priority (something I am currently working on that day, etc), I check it and followup if necessary. If it is facebook notifications, newsletters, and things of that nature, I wait until I am done working and sort through it.

  • http://www.theinternetlaboratory.com Pau

    This is a very good list. I find that setting goals for the day is amazingly contributive to my level of productivity.

  • Sean Dooley

    Good advice considering the distractions that go on in the modern workplace.

    I do agree with Glenn Harmon and Justin Tordella, about the email tip, with email being a main point of communication with clients. Would recommend setting aside certain periods of the day to check emails.

    Another distraction of the workplace would have to be phone calls – any (sensible) decisions on dealing with them?

  • http://www.artrift.com Landman

    Check emails once a day? Haha! For me thats impossible. ;) Otherwise dude, the advice on doing the hardest tasks first is a must! Even if my brain is fried by lunch time after doing all the difficult tasks, atleast all the easier tasks simple fall into place quite easily afterwards. Nice article mate! Good stuff!