Do you find yourself surfing the net, making a snack, or just tidying up instead of starting the tasks that you really need to get done?

You’re not alone - procrastination is by no means rare. One Medibank study found that the average Australian has 13 items on their life to-do list at any time, and it’s no secret that most people would love to find a way to improve their productivity at work.

Decrease your daily stress and boost your own productivity with these tips:

1. Get the hardest thing out of the way first

This ‘rip the Band-Aid off’ approach is perfect for when you avoid doing that one daunting task that you know will be tough. When you procrastinate these kinds of jobs, they hang over you and make it impossible to have a clear head when approaching other tasks. Getting it out of the way – be it with several cups of coffee or a special treat once it’s finished – will help you increase productivity for the rest of your day.

2. If it takes less than 5 minutes, do it now

To-do lists are often comprised of a range of tasks, and not all of them are difficult or overly time consuming. You’ll find you can cut down that list and reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed by allocating 30 minutes to smaller tasks, such as replying to certain emails, booking tickets, and following up on projects.

3. Plan breaks

Unfortunately, brains don’t work like machines, and they do require breaks. Moving from one task to another may feel productive at first, but there’s only so long you can go before mental strain and tiredness start to negatively impact your work. To keep ahead of the game, plan breaks to give your mind a chance to rest, such as a short walk, a coffee break, or even just 20 minutes of reading at your desk.

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4. Find the right fuel

Grabbing an apple as you run out the door in the morning is certainly better than nothing, but the energy you’ll receive from it won’t last that long. A healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks, will give you long-lasting energy and keep you from being distracted by hunger. Plan your breakfast and look for options high in fibre and low in sugar to fuel your productivity.

5. Set times to deal with emails

Emails can end up taking up huge portions of the day, especially if you read and respond to each one as it comes in. This can distract you from whatever task you’re working on and make it harder to get back into the groove once you’ve dealt with the email. Instead, finish the task, tick a few things off your list, then tackle those emails in one go.

6. Replace meetings with emails

In many cases, office meetings can be replaced with an email. These sort of meetings might be to update everyone on a certain project, to convey new information about a system, or to share new industry insights. Meetings can be hugely disruptive to a workday, so replacing unnecessary meetings with emails can help multiple people be more productive.

Can’t get enough of our productivity tips? Find more ideas for how to be more productive with our Productivity and Performance section

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