Do More with Your Day

Want to get more done in your workday? Try out these productivity tips.

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Ask any executive or entrepreneur if they wish they could be more productive in a day, and it’s a sure bet that most will say yes. These are busy people as it is, but there’s always so much more that can be done.

The more we can get done, the more accomplished we can feel and the better it can be for our careers.

Still, there are only so many hours in a day, right? That may be true, but there are things we can all do to accomplish even more, says Lois Kennedy, a Toronto-based productivity expert.

Ultimately, the more we can get done, the more accomplished we can feel and the better it can be for our careers. Here are some tips on how to do more in a day.

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    Clean up and be on time

    One easy way to increase productivity is to clean up your desk, she says. People with messy spaces say they know where everything is, but ask them for a key document and they’ll waste 10 minutes digging for it.

    It also helps to be on time for meetings, which busy people often have a hard time doing. However, showing up when you’re supposed to show up will reduce your own stress and others’ annoyance. “You’re not setting yourself up for a successful, positive meeting if you’re late,” she says.

    Also, keep meetings to under an hour, invite only those who truly need to attend and follow an agenda.

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    No phones and no Internet

    This is a tough one for many people to tackle, but we all know that there’s nothing more distracting – and time-wasting – than surfing the Internet.

    To get work done, Kennedy suggests shutting off phones and e-mail alerts for 20 percent of the workday. She says to try it for 90 minutes every morning – do it before everyone else arrives and the day starts to get busy again.

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    Be selective with your time

    Rana Florida, CEO of Creative Class Group in Toronto and author of Upgrade: Taking Your Work and Life from Ordinary to Extraordinary, thinks productivity stems from valuing time. “People who are successful and creative protect their time fiercely,” she says.

    If a project doesn’t involve having fun, being productive or giving back, she ditches it. That means delegating work and skipping fancy events.

    She also thinks that technology can be a waste of time, so she’s told her team to “be nice to my inbox,” she says. Her staff is told to avoid the Reply All button and be careful about who’s cc’d on an e-mail.

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    Stay the course

    Staying productive also has a lot to do with habits. Shutting off that e-mail once a week won’t do much – it has to be done every day, says Kennedy. “If you do something one day but you don’t do it the next, you won’t change,” she says. “With any productivity tool, it won’t work if you don’t do it.”

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