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Stay productive through the new year

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productive business womanWith the holidays and the rush to finish 2016 on a high note, this time of year can be stressful. Follow these tips to manage the end-of-the-year craziness, stay ultra-productive, and carve out some time to be merry:

Stop viewing “busyness” as a positive. When your work and personal schedule is maxed out, and your to-do list is a mile long, don’t see it as a sign of your importance or popularity, but rather a hindrance to your productivity and well-being. Stop saying “Yes” to every engagement or request, and commit to only those things you want to do.

Be careful how much you help. It’s the season of giving, but if you help everyone with every single task you won’t have time for yourself or your work. Plus, you’ll be stretched so thin that you won’t do anything well. Help when you have the time to give the task your full attention. Be brave enough to say “No” when you don’t.

Take ownership of your time. Don’t spend all your time responding to other people’s requests and reacting to situations. Take control of your day, prioritize and make time to focus on what’s important.

Work smarter, not harder. Working longer hours and trying to do more and more will quickly lead to burnout. You can’t maintain high performance without taking a break. Sleep, exercise, and make time to enjoy your life and relax a little. When you are at work, cycle between 90 minutes of focused work and short breaks.

Stop when your mind and body are telling you to. If your body is aching, you’re hungry or thirsty, you experience a mental block, or you keep making mistakes, take a break. A little distance will clear your head, and when you resume you will be able to power through to the end.

—Adapted from “9 Productivity Tips from People Who Write About Productivity,” Ron Friedman, Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org.

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