How To: Stay on Task and Prioritize

With the year’s end quickly approaching and holiday vacations keeping people out of the office it can be a hard time to remain focused on work. However, it is one of the most important times to do so. Everyone wants to end the year feeling accomplished and ready for what 2013 has in store, so take a look at these tips to help ensure a strong end to 2012.

Get Inspired: The best way to succeed at a task is to find significance in it. You may not always have work that falls within your interests, but pinpointing something exciting about each and every project you take on will make your job more enjoyable. Better yet, it will most likely result in a better final product.

Establish a Schedule: Organization is a key component to success in any working environment, and a great way to stay on top of your assignments is to create a schedule. Monthly, weekly, and daily calendars or to-do lists will keep you on track and minimize the chance of forgetting a deadline. A great online resource for organization and to-do lists is

Use Deadlines to Prioritize: After arranging all of your assignments in a calendar take a look at deadlines and level of importance in order to prioritize. Certain projects are more pressing than others, and it is vital to work in accordance with deadlines as opposed to personal preference.

Set personal deadlines: Although a certain item on your to-do list may not be due until the following week it can be helpful to establish an earlier deadline goal. This will provide you with ample time to check over your work, receive feedback, and make necessary changes before submitting the final product. Employers notice those who get work in ahead of schedule.

Use email filters: Having an organized inbox will go a long way when it comes to managing a hectic workload. Taking advantage of email filters and folders will help display your correspondences with structure, allowing you to stay on task. Avoid checking personal email during the work day because it is all too easy to get caught up and distracted.

Use Computer Shortcuts: Creating shortcuts for easy access to frequently used drives and documents can save you time and stress. If there are programs you use every day it can be very beneficial to open them directly from your desktop. It is also helpful to close out of programs that are not in use. This will minimize distractions.

Take Breaks: Allowing yourself periodic breaks throughout the day will actually increase your productivity. Set aside time for coffee, snacks, lunch, and even social interaction to avoid the overwhelmed and overworked feeling. You will not become bored as easily if you give your brain some time off, and this will help you to accomplish more overall.

“Do Not Disturb” Time is Important: When you are in the work zone be sure to keep your focus. Do not talk with colleagues, surf the web, text, or gchat! Those things are counterproductive and only serve to delay your progress. Designating blocks of time when you cannot be disturbed will encourage you to put your all into the task at hand.

Choose the Right Music: Selecting a genre of music that promotes productivity is essential. Try to avoid music you will sing along to. While it is lovely to have a jam session at the office, this will lower your attention to detail and increase your likelihood of making mistakes in your work. If you work best in silence you can put in your headphones without music to block out the background noise.

Keep Hydrated: Having a bottle of water at your desk is a great way to avoid tiredness, dehydration, and headaches, which will ultimately help you to get more work done.

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