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Writing out exactly what you have to achieve during the workday will be an invaluable service to yourself. Keep a list of your expected tasks, and each time you complete one, cross it off the list. Having a visual representation of your accomplishments is a good way of promoting your sense of accomplishment.
Time for the Team
If the nature of your job calls for several colleagues to converse with you, then set aside specific times when you can meet with them so they will not deter you from your immediate work at hand. Instead of people popping up every several minutes, let it be known that you have specifically set aside time for them each day.
If you spend loads of time at the computer, then chances are you receive a good deal of emails throughout the day. Setting up filters in your email can help you distinguish between what is important now, what is important later, and what is not very important at all. You can categorize your folders by project, urgency, and context.
No Personal Emails
Though personal emails are tempting, they will deter you from your work. Leave the personal emails for their proper time and place. Leave personal things for after the workday.
No Instant Messaging
If you have personal messaging, set yourself up as being busy or away as far as the non-business matters go. Friends and colleagues will definitely understand that you would rather not mix business with pleasure.
Listening to music at work can be enjoyable and helpful for several reasons, but it can also be a deterrent. Music with many lyrics can interrupt your critical thinking (especially while typing), so choose music that is more instrumental in nature. If you are one that takes advantage of music because it helps drown out some of the other office sounds, then try using headphones while keeping the music off.
Continuously drink water throughout the day. Without getting into the tremendous health benefits, think about the amount of time you can save by going to the cooler if you keep a bottle filled at your desk. It will avoid you stopping and starting work, and being sucked into conversation by colleagues.
Tackling the Boring Tasks
Come on, not everything at work is going to be fun (that was a joke). For laborious tasks, try setting a particular time to perform them so they are out of your hair. Do not spend time on these tasks when you are at a highly productive time of your day. Leave these tasks for when you can 'switch' to autopilot mode.
Punching Out For Lunch
Disclaimer- for those of who desperately need your lunch hour, please continue to the next insight, but all others take heed. It is possible to bring a lunch and eat it at your desk. Some people really lose the momentum from the morning by leaving for lunch and coming back. If you eat lunch at your desk, then you can save money, do some light work activity while eating, and maintain your momentum from the morning.
Forestall on Personal Phone Calls
We can all agree that it is good practice to separate the working life from the personal life. Sure there are exceptions for everything (like your child being sick or other exigent matters), but most likely, all personal calls can be put on hold for later. If you cannot eliminate the presence of personal calls, then do all you can to limit the amount of them and time spent on them.
Keep Your Desk Clean
Some people cannot find themselves amongst the chaos that is present on their desk (don't be that guy). I know some of you have a 'method to the madness' and that is fine, but the rest of us should not get caught in the clutter. Taking a couple minutes to organize yourself will save you plenty of time later when looking for that piece of paper that 'you knew you saw just a minute ago.'
If the nature of your job warrants you to sit for long periods, then find a good chair for yourself. A good chair will promote good posture and minimize aches and pains that may cause interruptions.
If you perform particular tasks on the computer several times, then find ways that will save you time in doing this. Utilize options the computer offers in promoting optimal navigation of particular folders and sites. This will save you manual minutes and will keep you better organized.
Close Programs Not Being Used
If there is a program that you have utilized, but you do not need it any longer, then close it. Leaving multiple programs open at once allows for the chance for more confusion to occur. The seconds you save on staying organized add up-not only in work generated, but also in stress eliminated.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
In a perfect world, none of us would have to 'work,' and we would all be happy all of the time. Unfortunately, the world is not exactly structured in that way, but moments of Zen do and should exist for all. Realize that there are aspects of work that are not going to be fun (that is the nature of the beast), but this should not take away from your mental wellbeing. Realize that "it is what it is" and that you are not alone! Be thankful for the things that you have, and think about the less fortunate who would not mind being in your position.
Have one or several places in your psyche that you can visit that put things in perspective for you and try to appreciate things for what they are. Sure work is not fun (all of the time), but think about your spouse, children, friends, hobbies, etc., that do give you pleasure. Know the money generated from your job affords you to be in the position that you are in (whatever that may be). If you are completely dissatisfied, then take the time to take a step back and reevaluate. Take the strides needed to put you in the place you want to be. Nothing good comes easy, but that fact makes whatever it is that much more enjoyable once you attain it.
Kenneth C. Wisnefski is the president of VendorSeek.com, an online business to business marketplace that connects business consumers with pre-approved vendors in over 150 different categories. VendorSeek.com has over 5,000 vendors in their Approved Vendor Network and processes close to 10,000 requests per month from businesses of all sizes.
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