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Create a distraction-free zone where you can go to focus when necessary. Block time off on your calendar where you won’t be disturbed, turn off your email and message notifications (or better yet, disconnect from the internet entirely), and focus on a single important task for an hour or two. Create a timeline like you are the only person left in the world.
Sit down, look at your available time for the day, and be realistic about what you can get done. Then make a game plan: schedule specific slots of time for each of your important tasks—and be sure to include breaks. By dedicating time and structuring your day, you can take advantage of the times of day you're more focused and more motivated , make tangible progress on important work, and ensure you actually take the necessary breaks to stay mentally fresh.
One of the biggest reasons we procrastinate is because we simply don’t know where to start. But if you stop working on a task for the day knowing exactly what you need to do next, it's much easier to start again. End every task with a defined “next step” to quickly get back in the zone next time. Don't forget where you've come from.
Waiting in line at the grocery store, for the next bus stop, at the bank, in the elevator, etc. doesn't have to be wasted time. Bring a book you’ve been meaning to read, clear a few emails, or catch up on status updates. Or simply let your mind wander and observe the world around you. You never know when your next great idea will hit you! Use your time efficiently.
We all know how paralyzing it can be to start a big project or tackl e a crazy to-do list. So don’t overwhelm yourself with a massive task list! Give yourself 3 to 5 important items that you need to accomplish in one day, and focus on those. If you get them done early, you can always add a few more things to your list, but keeping it manageable will keep you productive — instead of just keeping you busy.
Highly effective people have systems in.place to help them find the exact information they need, right when they need it. A simple system like David Allen's Getting Things Done method (GTD) can ease the mental burden of storing reminders and ideas, and free up brain space for more meaningful and effective work. Don't blur your work space.
Your motivation and creativity are at a high point in the morning, So instead of starting your day by checking emails (which can quickly derail your plans, as what you intended to accomplish gets pushed off or lost among incoming requests), wait a few hours to check your inbox and work on a more significant project while your mental energy is still high.
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