Not enough hours in the day? Instead of adding more hours and more to do’s to your lists and calendar, work smarter. Working smarter means being deliberate and focused in how you manage your time.

Here are some efficiency tips:

1. Think OHIO when you can’t find your desk underneath the mountains of paper on top of it.
O = Only H = Handle I = It O = Once Only Handle It Once!!!!! (The “It” is the piece of paper.)

2. Take regular breaks. Taking breaks sounds counterintuitive but taking regularly scheduled breaks actually helps improve concentration and helps maintain a constant level of performance.

3. Follow the 2 Minute Rule – The 2 Minute Rule comes from entrepreneur Steve Olenski. If you see a task that you think will take only 2 minutes or less to complete, do it immediately. Completing the task right away takes less time than having to come back to it later.

4. Either say no to meetings or have them while standing up. According to Atlassian, the average working person spends +31 hours/month in meetings. Figure out how to accomplish the same goals via emails, phone calls, web-based meetings or while standing. Standing meetings tend to improve group performance, increase group interest and tend to waste less time. (Steve Jobs had Standing Meetings.)

5. Stop multi-tasking. It’s a complete waste of time. Make a habit of committing yourself to one task at a time until that task is completed.

6. Give up the illusion of perfection. Perfection doesn’t exist. Do whatever needs doing now. You can always come back to it for adjustment or improvement but know that whatever it is you’re doing will never be perfect.

7. Exercise. According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, getting your blood pumping is exactly what’s needed to become clear headed and focused.

8. Be proactive, not reactive. Have a plan of attack at the start of every day and do your best to stick to that plan…your plan, not someone else’s. Turn off email and messaging notifications and instead, schedule a specific time of day for a specific amount of time to deal with those notification messages. Also, do your best to minimize interruptions by closing your door, if you have a door, and again, schedule a specific time of day for a specific amount of time to deal with necessary interruptions, people and projects.

9. Work in 90-minute intervals. Researchers at Florida State University found that elite performers (athletes, musicians, entrepreneurs) who work in 90-minute intervals are more productive than those who work more than +90 minutes in one sitting.

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