This guest post is by Shannon Suetos, who writes about purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs at Resource Nation.

We have all had those days in which we would rather be doing just about anything other than what we’re supposed to. There are plenty of tools to help you get back on track and stay that way. Here are a few basic tips:

  • Fully use your online calendar. Most e-mail platforms also have all have great calendar features. Take advantage of this if you’re not already. If there are certain tasks you need to do every day, block out a certain time each day for these tasks. Set your availability to away, and keep on the task at hand. These reminders will hopefully keep you on task and remind you it is time to start them if you are in the zone doing another task.
  • Rescue Time. One of my favorite features of this program is that it can actually block certain websites for however long you chose. Rescue Time claims it can save users an average of 3 hours and 54 minutes of work time per week — not too shabby.
  • Avoid your e-mail. Stop checking your e-mails constantly. The more time you spend checking e-mails and responding, the less time you’re spending on other tasks. Set aside 30 min to an hour each day or every other day to check your messages. If you get thousands of e-mails a day you should start filtering high priority emails into folders you can check easily and get the information you need when you need it. Gmail users can use Priority Inbox to do this.
  • Make your to-do list the day before. Each day, at the end of your work day, make a list of tasks that need to be done for the next day. Because the information is fresh in your head, you can quickly sort out what needs to get done, and in what priority. This way when you get to work, and you need that extra cup of coffee, you won’t have to spend much time on planning the day.

Image credit, via iStockPhoto

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7 Responses to “How to boost your productivity”

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  2. Scott Asai says:

    Nice tips. I try to check my e-mail in the morning and respond to the ones I need to, but keep the rest to clear at night. At night I look through everything, then erase what I need to. I don't use an online calendar, but I use my Blackberry calendar like crazy! I post everything I do in there so I don't have to think about what to do next. I don't want to depend on my memory since I might forget something.

  3. Kirk Baumann says:

    Shannon,

    #3 and #4 are my (and most people's) biggest challenges! Like a typical Millennial, I'm constantly checking my email so I can respond quickly to anyone's request. That's a good thing most times, but I'm learning quickly that it sometimes cheats me out of valuable time that could be used completing a project, etc. Thanks for posting these tips. Keep up the great work!

    Kirk Baumann
    Campus to Career <a href="http://www.campus-to-career.com” target=”_blank”>www.campus-to-career.com

  4. JHM says:

    Nice tips – thanks. I'm a little "old school" so I still use a planning calendar that I write in and my to-do lists are in written form also. I do have folders set up on e-mail so that I can priorotize what I read. I browse through the low priority e-mails at my leisure. Planning my next days work and to-do list for me is a MUST DO. I also use that few minutes to reveiew all that I completed that day, thus I get a sense of accomplishment that jump starts my following day.

  5. David Mount says:

    Thanks for the quick tips, well done. I still think that Outlook is the most well rounded productivity tool. That is if you can schedule time in your inbox instead of living there. I change my default view to start in my calendar and then arrange the view to show my tasks. I love this method. I am able to view where I need to be next to what I need to do.

    Thanks again,
    David Mount @ http://www.c–ts.com

  6. Chase says:

    The advice I've found the most helpful is doing a to-do list the day before. It's true, you're already thinking about your work so why use that momentum to think through what you need to accomplish tomorrow? It brings some continuity to your work.

    I also put a star next to the one task that upon completion would make the whole day worthwhile. That's a helpful motivator for me.

  7. [...] How to boost your productivity By Shannon Suetos Excerpt – This guest post is by Shannon Suetos, who writes about purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs at Resource Nation. [...]