Do you feel overworked? If you answered, “Yes,” you’re not alone.
A recent survey found that 87 percent of workers feel they’re assigned more work than they can handle. So, here’s a little expert advice to help you increase your productivity:
#1: Turn off the “you’ve got mail” chimes and pop-ups – and check your email on a schedule. In one study, workers spent a THIRD of their day replying to emails, and sifting through spam. And other research shows that it can take up to 8 minutes for our brains to refocus after an interruption. So, checking email repeatedly decreases productivity by at least 25 percent. You’re better off checking your email at 10, noon, 3 and 5 – and powering through them all at once.
Another way to boost your productivity: Toss out your to-do list. Margaret Moore wrote Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life. And she says it’s hard to concentrate on one task when you know you’ve got 10 more waiting in the wings. The fix? Schedule half-hour blocks of time where you plan to give one item your full attention. That’s because we’re really only good at focus on tasks for half an hour – before our mind wanders.
And the final productivity tip may be the most important: Take more breaks! Mayo Clinic endocrinologist Dr. James Levine says that taking a brief walk – even to the coffee machine - every 15 minutes will improve your focus and reasoning skills. That’s because walking increases blood flow and sends more oxygen to our brain. Plus, our brains handle movement and reasoning in different areas. So, taking a walk gives the problem-solving centers of our brains a chance to rest, refresh and refocus.