HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014
Work smart, play smart
Samir Parikh, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, November 06, 2012
First Published: 18:26 IST(6/11/2012)
Last Updated: 18:29 IST(6/11/2012)

Don’t you sometimes think that despite clocking in hours on end, your work just never gets done? When it comes to being productive, most of us never really reach our full potential. However, you can try and change this by following these tips.

1 Keep your surroundings organised:
With a cluttered desk, you often spend half your time just looking for the things that you need. The mess is a source of distraction and irritation. Keep everything in an organised fashion.

2 Prioritise: Make a list of your tasks based on both importance and urgency. Identify time-wasters, and eliminate or at least postpone them for when you have free time.

3 Take short but frequent breaks: Our average attention span does not exceed 45 minutes. So, studying or working for three to four hours at a stretch is likely to be counter-productive. Take short but frequent breaks to be able to put in your best effort consistently.
4 Set realistic targets: Do not get overambitious. Think about the work at hand and set realistic, achievable targets. It might help to break down your goals into small, identifiable steps. Always factor in contingencies.

5 Refrain from multitasking: It is an urban myth that multitasking saves time. For most tasks, not only does it not save time but it also leads to increased stress and higher chances of error. Focus on one task at a time.

6 Too critical of yourself? We all make mistakes; it’s important to learn from them and move on. Brooding about errors will only lead to problems in productivity.

7 Take a problem-solving approach: When things go wrong, be positive and take a problem-solving approach. Do not indulge in blame games; instead, evaluate the situation and take action.

8 Do not let work pile up: Procrastinating is only going to stress you more. Finish your work on time; a deadline can sometimes be your friend.

9 Have some fun: Taking time out for things you enjoy doing will refresh and energise you, leading to better output.

10 Celebrate your success: Reward yourself for a job well done. Positive self-strokes will motivate you to keep up the good work.

The author is director, Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare

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