stop doing thisBeing productive at work is all about being efficient and effective, right?

Below are six common bad habits to avoid. Do so and see how much better your day goes.

Failing to differentiate projects from tasks – By definition, projects are activities made up of more than one task. When we put projects on our to do lists we end up putting them off until we have a large chunk of time to devote to them. Large chunks of time that never actually become a reality. Break projects down into tasks so your project makes progress one task at a time.

Multitasking– Everyone needs to be able to manage multiple projects, but multi-tasking is decidedly different and a terrific way to lose precious minutes — if not hours — in a day. Begin a task (see above to define “task”) and see it through to completion before moving on.

Always allowing interruptions – Even folks with an open-door policy need to have a structure in place to allow for regular quiet time thinking/writing/planning. Proactively manage interruptions to create small blocks of time when you can focus without intrusions.

Checking e-mail constantly – Many times you check e-mail in the hope that something will come through to distract you from focusing on the higher priority– but perhaps less pleasant –things you know you should be doing. Check e-mail on a schedule. Not constantly.

Networking indiscriminately – There are enough planned events to network morning, noon and night every day of the week. But without a clear objective in mind and a strategy to follow up with people you meet at the event, it’s just a social engagement disguising itself as work.

Winging it – Whether it’s your day, a presentation, or a meeting, working without a plan is like trying to hit a target you can’t see – and it’s a costly mistake. Of course, you may have to divert from even the most well thought out plan, but when you do, you can get back on course quickly because you know what outcome you’re working to achieve.