Most people struggle to stay organized, managing tasks, and deadlines. Many times we find that our sense of well-being and accomplishment is related to how many things we get done in a day rather than the quality of what we achieve. We get into checklist mode and bask in the flow of endorphins when we cross out another item on our to-do list.
“More is better” is how we keep score, but by living that way we get caught up in tasks that are urgent, but not critical. These are the tasks that catch our attention and distract us from whatever we need to be working on.
We would get more done at work if we focused on tasks that are important, but not as urgent.
Still, it feels like there is never enough time in a day to complete these tasks, especially not with constant reminders of the urgent but unimportant things that beg for our attention. If you want to improve productivity at work, the secret lies in re-evaluating one major bad habit: checking your email inbox.
How Can I Get More Done in a Day?
The way to get more done at work isn’t to wonder how to get more done in less time. Instead, the key is to spend the time you have on the tasks you need to be doing. More often than not, responding to emails is not one of those tasks. According to Forbes, employees check their email 36 times per hour on average. This one task ultimately occupies 23% of the workday.
Instead of staying focused on doing the essential tasks that require a more extended period of sustained focus, we let email derail our to-do lists. Sure, we get things done, but they are only transactional accomplishments. Responding to an unimportant email gives us the feeling of accomplishment without actually accomplishing anything at all.
If you want to get, more done at work, close down your email and check it only at specific times during the day. Manage your team’s expectations about this rule, so no one expects an instant reply. You should encourage your employees to try this technique, too. You’ll find that it’s easier for everyone to get more done at work when they have permission to focus.
It will be hard to disconnect at first. No one wants to feel out of the loop, but I promise that if there is a real emergency, your colleagues will find you. You might be surprised to find out how many “urgent” emails were never very urgent, to begin with. And you’ll be happy to discover how much time you have in your workday.
If you want to get more done at work, I can help. Sign up for my newsletter to get notified whenever I post a new blog post. Together we can transform your leadership strategy so you’ll see results.