Everyone juggles busy schedules, but some people make it look like a piece of cake. They’re onto the next project, while you feel like you’re just going in circles.

Being more productive at work isn’t rocket science, but it does require forming good habits and putting focus on being reactive instead of proactive.

Follow our tips below to learn the secrets of your highly productive colleagues.

  1. Time Yourself
    You may think you’re pretty decent at knowing how much time you’re spending on various tasks. However, research suggests few people are actually able to accurately estimate the passage of time. Tracking the time you’re spending on activities will help you create a game plan for setting limits for those tasks, and understanding where all the time in your day is going.
  2. Take a Break
    Taking scheduled breaks can actually help improve concentration. Taking short breaks during long tasks can help to maintain a consistent level of performance. Working in no more than 90 minute intervals has proven to provide maximum productivity.
  3. Setting Deadlines
    While stress is usually viewed as a bad thing, a manageable level of self-imposed stress can actually give us focus to meet our goals. For open-ended projects, try giving yourself a deadline.
  4. Two Minute Rule
    If you see a task or action that can be done in two minutes or less, do it immediately. Completing the task right away actually takes less time than circling back around to it later.
  5. Scheduling Meetings
    Meetings are a huge time suck. Before scheduling your next meeting, ask yourself whether you can accomplish the same goals or tasks via email or phone.
  6. Stop Multitasking
    Multitasking is generally seen as an important skill for increasing efficiency, but the opposite may be true. Attempting to do everything at once can lead to lost time and productivity. Instead, commit to a single task before moving on.
  7. Being Reactive
    Don’t phone calls and emails to dictate your day, focus on making progress toward your goals instead of putting out fires. Have a plan for the day, turn off notifications, schedule set times to respond to emails, and do your best to stick to it.
  8. Your Environment
    Give your office a little love. Bring in some plants and jazz up the space with some decor. An increase in your happiness at work can lead to an increase in productivity as well. Not happy at work? There has never been a better time to explore your career options.
  9. Peak Time
    Find your personal peak time when you are at your best, most creative self. Then, schedule your most demanding tasks for the day during that time.
  10. To-Do List
    To-do lists are invaluable aids to your productivity. They will keep you organized and focused on the day, not to mention it feels awesome when you can cross things off the list that you’ve accomplished. It’s worth noting that after reviewing your to-do list, it’s important to review it to understand what tasks are priority, and how many are realistic to complete.

There are only so many hours in the day, so making the most of your time is critical. These simple but effective strategies will help make the best use of your time by avoiding the productivity pitfalls that usually cause you to feel stressed, distracted, overwhelmed, and inadequate.