Companies are putting more pressure on employees than ever before and pushing them to do more with fewer resources in the same amount of time. Furthermore, there’s an expectation that you’re always answering work emails, regardless of day of the week or if you’re on vacation.
A new study by CareerBuilder found that the biggest distractions that workers have are their cell phones (50 percent), gossip (42 percent) and the Internet (39 percent). It is to your benefit to turn your cell phone ring tone off, keep your thoughts about co-workers to yourself and keep yourself from aimlessly searching the Web for personal reasons. Technology can really hurt your productivity and cause you to lose track of time and miss deadlines. Gossip in the workplace can get you in major trouble, because the strength of your relationships with co-workers has a direct impact on your career trajectory. Here are some tips for being more productive at work:
Start with a list of tasks that can be completed quickly
This way, you can get the smaller stuff out of the way and give more of your attention and effort to the bigger projects. By doing this, you won’t have to worry about those smaller tasks that could end up getting in the way of the ones that really matter. Let’s say you have a list of 20 tasks that you have to get to in a given day. If you can eliminate five quickly, it won’t seem as bad, and it’s very motivating to accomplish several items in a short period of time. It’s intimidating having so many tasks sometimes and it puts a lot of stress on you if you do have that many, so eliminate the easy ones first.
Try not to multitask if you can help it
I fall into this trap all of the time, and most Millennials do too. We try and do multiple projects at once and end up not getting anything done. Research shows that multitasking decreases productivity. If you give each individual task the attention it deserves, you’ll be more effective.
Use a calendar to keep track of everything
I use my iPhone calendar to run my life. If there’s someone I know I should call in two months, I’ll mark it down to send them an email then. If I have a speaking engagement or a potential client I have to follow up with, I’ll mark it down. This makes life much easier, and you end up not forgetting anything so you’re more effective. Another trick I do is to set two reminders for every event. One occurs a day before and the other happens 15 minutes before. This way, I never miss anything.
Dan Schawbel is a workplace expert, keynote speaker, and author of the New York Times best-selling book, "Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success."