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May 9, 2016

Your Habits Can Make or Break Productivity

Are your work habits productive or do they diminish your productivity? Take this quick quiz to find out.

Do you agree or disagree with the statement?shutterstock_115513723

  1. It’s important to take time each day for routine tasks like filing.
  2. E-mail should be checked as soon as it arrives in the in-box.
  3. Leave e-mails in the in-box if you are waiting for information to finish them.
  4. Assignments from your manager are your number one priority.
  5. If you are stuck on a task, it’s best to keep working on it until you make progress.

Best Answers:

  1. Agree. Taking time each day to stay on top of routine tasks keeps work flowing and avoids backlogs. It’s better to spend fifteen minutes a day cleaning up your desktop than having to devote an entire day to organize a mess.
  2. Disagree. Unless one of your top job duties is answering e-mail when it arrives, don’t do it. E-mail is an interruption, and it can take up to 20 minutes to regain your focus. Set aside time each day to open and respond to e-mail. (Need help with e-mail? See my program Writing and Managing E-mail.)
  3. Disagree. If you can’t complete an e-mail, don’t leave it in your in-box since it becomes clutter. Instead, set up a follow-up folder and put pending e-mails in this folder.
  4. Disagree. You’re probably wondering why I disagree with this statement. Not everything your manager gives you is a high priority. Always ask when he or she wants it done and evaluate that with your other priorities. If you believe something is more important, speak up and explain why you would like more time. Most often, your manager will agree with a later deadline.
  5. Disagree. You lose focus after 60 – 90 minutes, and if you push past this, your productivity drops. However, if you stop and take a break, you will come back refreshed and will have regained your focus. It will be easier to break through what’s stopping you than if you had kept working on it without the break.

Do your habits support productivity? If not, take steps to change them to more productive ones. See my blog post Five Work Habits to Make You Positively Productive for more information.

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