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Inc.com recently sat down with Tony Wong - the project management extraordinaire who's impressive list of clients includes Toyota, Honda, and Disney - to highlight a few ways in which you can stay productive. Take some of these tips with you into the new year - you'll never know what sticks until you try it out.
1) Work Backwards: Don't add the most daunting task at the top of your to-do list or else it will never get done. Start small by working on things that will take you only a few hours - the rest will fall into place.
2) No More Multi-Tasking: When you multitask, your IQ drops by an average of 10 points - 15 for men and five for women. Are you surprised that women are smarter than men? Neither are we.
3) Destroy Distractions: Unplug your router, put a sign on your door, or put on noise canceling headphones and tune the world out. Either way, you are eliminating the most common distractions in order ot get work done. Personally, I like to go to my sensory-deprivation chamber to do my SureTech work - how about you?
4) Easy on the E-mail: Put aside a few times a day in which to check your e-mail. Constant inbox-checking kills productivity, but not enough to ditch e-mail all together. I get a kick out of "e-mail free" companies who communicate through instant messenger - swapping one communication form for another doesn't make you innovators.
5) Phone's Not Dead: Are you currently taking part in a 10+ response e-mail thread? Pick up the phone instead. Phone calls are better when there’s a need for discussion and perhaps some urgency, however you don't want to create distractions for others, so self-evaluation is key.
6) It's Your Work Day: Use it how you need it. Don't let a full inbox dictate your day, set your own goals and see where others fit in.
7) Work Smart, Not Hard: After 60-90 minutes of work your brain uses up all of its glucose. Don't fight against yourself - plan mid-day breaks, walks, snacks, or other brain-sharpening activities.
At the end of the day you will find what works best for you. Staying productive while on the internet is an uphill battle, so don't be afraid to set aside a few hours of thinking time by logging out. Removing yourself from your work environment will force you to look at things from a different perspective, and might just give you that "A-Ha!" moment you've been waiting for.