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June 28, 2015

Cultivate Productivity Habits

Habits are wonderful productivity tools because they allow us to act using autopilot. They also can be productivity wasters! The key is to build habits that add time to your day. Here are three habits worth cultivating.shutterstock_250820347

  • Habit 1: Take time to plan for productivity. One minute of planning can save 5 minutes of execution time. If you spend the first 10 minutes of your day planning your priorities for the day, you will gain about 50 minutes of time when you tackle those priorities. Don’t check e-mail or voicemail, don’t meet with your team or manager, and don’t hang around the coffee machine chatting. These are unproductive habits. Instead, immediately go to your desk and plan what you need to accomplish that day.
  • Habit 2: Take mini-breaks. No matter how strong your concentration skills, no one can focus for more than 50 or 60 minutes without a break. If you push yourself to keep going, your focus will suffer, and it will take longer to accomplish the task. Set a timer and at the top of each hour take a five-minute break. Get away from you desk, walk around, visit the coffee machine, and chat with colleagues—just don’t be an interruption for them!
  • Habit 3: Complete an e-mail when you open it. When you open an e-mail, either do it and file it into a folder, trash it if you don’t have to keep it, or move it to a follow-up system. Leaving completed or pending e-mails in your in-box saps your productivity. My new program, Writing and Managing E-mail, can help you get and stay on top of e-mail.  

Adding these three habits to your workday can help you be more positively productive and get more done each day. See my blog post Greater Tools for Greater Productivity for more tips.


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