New Year – New Resolutions

How to get more done in 2016.

Well today was the first day back to work after the holidays for much of the American workforce.    I’m sure that many people came in with high hopes of being more productive only to fall back into the same old traps.    Here are the 7 tips I’m using to be more productive in 2016.

1 – Prepare to succeed – Start the day off on the right foot.   Smile in the car,  kiss your loved ones goodbye and walk into the office ready to roll.   Forbes has a list of 14 things you should do to start your day off right.

2 – Turn off your alerts - Stop the Madness!  Cell phones are one of the biggest productivity wreckers out there, see this post for the top 10!  Studies have found that multitasking reduces your productivity by up-to 40%.   If you’re convinced that you are one of those people that can really multitask and that multitasking makes you uber-productive, you’re uber-wrong.   It just means you backtrack a lot, because every time you switch tasks, you have to repeat a bit to find out where you last left off.    Do it now – turn off the alerts – browser, phone and email would be a good start.  If your feeling really bold, try turning off you phone or closing your email client completely.

3 – Plan your day - If you come in and plop down at your workspace without a plan you will never feel good about your day.  You may work hard but you will be firefighting and not concentrating on the important tasks you need to do.  You don’t need more time, you need a better plan and some priorities.    The Harvard Business Review has a 15-minute ritual for getting the most out of your day.

4 – Use your tools – Whether it is Microsoft Outlook or Gmail or your smartphone make sure you take advantage of the tools you have at your disposal.      We have come to take them for granted, but our email clients can be huge productivity boosters if used correctly.  Here’s a quick read on some of the more important benefits in Outlook and another on some add-ins that might help you.

5 – Declutter – All the junk on your desk that you have been staring at for the last 6 months, heave It!    If you have piles of papers on your desk, now might be the time to get rid of them.   This Lifehacker article give some good advice on decluttering your office   and an ITech Insights video on Decluttering your Docs

6 – Learn to say No.   Remember those priorities you set above. If you constantly let people derail your day you will never achieve your goals.     Learn to say no to the non-important, non-critical requests made of you.   If you have a hard time doing that then at least work to schedule these requests at times that are convenient for you.

7  - Spend some time disconnected – Try to spend the last hour of your waking day without any type of electronic screen in front of you.  No TV, smartphone, tablet or kindle.  Take some time to unwind and if the thought of that blows your mind then at least take some time to think about your day ahead without a screen in front of you.  Studies show you will sleep better and have a better tomorrow.

Good luck and all the best in 2016!