Sunday, December 7, 2008

Plan ahead, finish the job on time

Do you find yourself scrambling to get everything done right before the clock strikes six? You need not panic when hours seem to fly by at work if you plan your workday--and stick to the plan.

Productivity is not measured by hours spent at work, but by how much you can make from those hours. Finishing on time also has a positive outcome for everything else: if you get to leave the office early, you have time to go to the gym, catch up with friends, and hang out with your family. Marie Claire Philippines' Tisha Alvarez reveals that a bit of planning is the key to being productive at work, minus the need to file for overtime. Know how to accomplish more at work with these tips.

1. Pinpoint the culprit and bust it. You may not be lazy, but there may be other reasons for your procrastination. Be it your cluttered desk, commitment overload, or alerts from your instant messenger, there’s always a sure-fire way to deal with distraction. Clear your desk of clutter. Trim your commitments for the day and make room only for those that need to be addressed today. Check your personal mail after completing that to-do list. Turn off your instant messenger if you have too many friends online; you can always catch up when you finish work early.

2. Be an early bird. Studies show that successful people--usually bosses--rise earlier than most. "The most effective executives and aspiring executives and managers get in early and stay focused all day," says consultant Stuart R. Levine in his book Cut to the Chase. Not only would you stop feeling ashamed of getting to work later than your boss, you may even acquire the secret to his productivity.

3. Take note of things you need to do. A checklist can help you keep track of commitments for the day. Learn to prioritize tasks and estimate how much time you need to complete them. After all, there’s nothing more satisfying than ticking off items on your to-do list.

4. Practice effective communication. Meetings are not a complete waste of time when done right. To make sure you don't get distracted by irrelevant topics, state the purpose of the meeting at the very start.

5. Don't aim for perfection all the time. You merely lose time trying to perfect things, when you could be attending to other matters that also need attention. "There's nothing wrong with striving to do your best. But striving for perfection when 'good enough is good enough' is a waste of time," says Levine.

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