Another Entrepreneurship Project of the  Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University

Get Focused at Work… and Get More Done!

Everyone works differently—some of us make lists on sticky notes. Some of us use calendar management systems to track meetings and personal appointments. Others use task management tools and apps to stay focused. And some people choose not to do anything, instead playing the day-to-day by ear. Even if you’re one of the most organized people that you know, there are always ways to improve and learn new productivity hacks.

Fortune contributor Sandhya Venkatachalam, co-founder and partner of Centerview Capital, has to be productive at work and at home—the success of her business depends on it. She shares four easy-to-adopt philosophies that can help you to “optimize life productivity and maximize creative output”:

  • Prepare your mind and body: A healthy mind and body is the first step to maximizing your productivity. Try not to skip out on much needed sleep and incorporate some form of exercise into your day—this does not mean you have to run five miles a day to be productive. Exercise can include yoga and meditation, so if cardio isn’t your thing, don’t worry! Also, try to take 15 minutes break every 90 or so minutes. This will help you to re-focus. Avoid eating heavy lunches and try to snack healthy! These things together will help increase your efficiency and clarity of mind!
  • Create the right environment: While multitasking is a great way to conquer many things at once, it can be detrimental to productivity. Having 10 internet tabs open, 15 email responses crafted but not sent and multiple programs at once sound familiar to you? We’ve all been there. Trying to do too many things at once hinders the chance to get anything done at all. Instead, try closing your email during big projects—set a time to open and respond to emails, rather than getting distracted at the pop-up notifications coming your way every ten seconds. If you have people popping in and out of your office regularly, try setting some ground rules—for example, if your door is open people know to stop in… if it’s closed, they know that you’re busy and to come back later.
  • List, plan, and do: Even if you’re not a “list” person, writing down/tracking actionable items and tasks is an important step to maximizing efficiency. Become friends with your calendar management system—schedule in tasks and meetings so you can hold yourself accountable for your own time. Be sure not to schedule an hour for a meeting that will only take 15 minutes—effective scheduling can lead to greater output on the project end of things. Prioritize these tasks—be flexible with your time and be willing to reschedule tasks that aren’t time sensitive.
  • Leverage others’ productivity: Know someone at work that never seems to fall behind in projects? Ask them how they stay organized! Perhaps they learned about a new time management app that helps them to refocus and prioritize. Find something you excel at and help a coworker master that skill—and vice versa!

Venkatachalam notes that even small changes can affect your day-to-day in a positive manner. She encourages people to “try to be just 1% more efficient in each of the areas above and you will soon see a huge difference in your life’s productivity.”

Have you successfully incorporated these principles into your work or home life? Has your productivity increased? Share your secrets of success and how you stay focused for maximum output!

To read more in depth about these management techniques, visit: http://fortune.com/2015/07/05/sandhya-venkatachalam-productivity/.

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