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5 Ways to Be More Productive at Work

Thirty-five percent — that's how much productive work the average woman does in an eight-hour day! Women's Health broke down the typical work day in its December issue and found out what we are doing with the remaining 65 percent of our time: Email, 20.83 percent; looking for stuff, 18.75 percent; interruptions, 12.5 percent; Internet searches, 12.92 percent.

Most of you said that you never sign out of your personal email during the work day, and those who do sign out log back in a few times throughout the day. So, we're pretty much all guilty of that one, but what about the other time-sucks that detract from our productivity? Women's Health came up with 20 ways to avoid these traps, and I've selected their best ideas to share with you. Check them out when you


  1. Turn off alerts. The ding of an arriving message throws off your work pace and it can take up to 64 seconds to recover.
  2. Decide whether you need to be there. Decline a meeting invitation if your presence isn't essential.
  3. Observe the 80-20 rule. Anticipate the time-wasters by completing the most important tasks during the first 20 percent of your day.
  4. Reserve the toughest stuff for your prime time. Perform your most mentally demanding tasks between 8 a.m. and noon, and if you're a night-owl, adjust everything to three or four hours later.
  5. Set aside time to organize. Set a time every week or two to do things like clearing out your inbox and filing.


cpianolover cpianolover 8 years
I'm the same way, Advah. I'm productive at around 10:30 till 7.
Advah Advah 8 years
I'm actually pretty unproductive in the morning - I'm not a morning person, so it takes me time to wake up, and then I have to deal with all the co-workers stopping by to chat. It's really nice but doesn't help me get the work started. I realised I'm usually more productive in the afternoon (like, SUPER productive); so what I try to do is work until I drop when I have these efficient moments. I don't stop at the end of one paper, I just start doing other little things, file, tidy my desk, clean my inbox, etc, until it's time to go home.
smileylo smileylo 8 years
i feel not productive at all at work. i rarely have anything to do and get bored easily. I do get occasional projects( yesterday was good) but most days i find myself just waiting for the phone to ring. So i go online a lot and keep myself occupird. but in my's not my fault it's the job itself. and also not at all fulfilling... i feel like most of my days are a complete waste of time :(
Frenched Frenched 8 years
I'm no slacker but I find that co-worker chats, meetings, etc. really do take away from my productivity. I always find myself trying to catch up.
lawchick lawchick 8 years
I'm pretty unproductive. If I didn't have a job that involved me sitting at a computer most of the time (I'm in court or in meetings only about 5% of the time), I wouldn't be nearly as tempted to slack. The internet/email is so tempting!
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I know I'm not as productive as I should be, but I'm like lilkimbo... my projects come in spells. So sometimes I'm swamped and sometimes I'm twiddling my thumbs. Although I try to stay busy all the time, every now and then my productivity gerbils need a break.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
It's difficult for me because the nature of my job is such that sometimes I have a ton to do and other times I have nothing to do and no projects that I can even begin.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Wow, seriously? Probably about 80% of my time at work is productive. I don't check my email unless I have a little downtime and I always try to keep my supplies well-stocked so I don't have to take time out to go finding things. I think I'm probably one of the more productive people in the lab, probably because I'm well-organized and efficient. I do a lot of multi-tasking and "dove-tailing" of tasks so I get way more done in less time. I think if I spent 35% of my day on the computer, I'd be stuck at work 10 hours a day or more.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I do the important-stuff-first-thing-in-the-morning thing, and also the once-a-week filing and organizing. It does help, and let's face it, the more efficiently I can work, the more time I have for Sugar ;)
krae85 krae85 8 years
this is really helpful!
millarci millarci 8 years
I agree with #3. That helps a lot.
socktree socktree 8 years
I'm a lot like you ilanac - except my projects are tedious and involve photo programs that take a while to do an action.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
these are some good tips, but it also depends on your boss. i like to consider myself a VERY productive and efficient person, so i get my stuff done quickly and accurately, yet i am forced to spend a lot of time waiting around for direction since there are things that i'm just not clued in on. i find that the days that i'm the one in charge, that i'm working all day and that i get a lot done. my assistant feels the same way too i think.
syako syako 8 years
Do they mean turn off alerts for personal emails or work email? I do find those alerts for my work email usually throw me off a little. I might try that.
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