2012 employee productivity tipsIf 2011 has left you falling behind in your workload and feeling defeated, maybe it’s time to kick your productivity up a notch!

Sometimes you can’t necessarily change your work load, but you certainly can change how you deal with it!

Here are six proven productivity improvement tips that can help you get more done in less time with less stress!

1. Work during your prime time.
  Are you a morning person? Or do you not get fully up to creative speed until after lunch? Determine when you have the most energy and concentration and tackle your most challenging projects then. Schedule routine telephone calls, meetings and other activities for your less energetic moments.
2. Stand up while making important calls
  If you have an important call to make, Gerald Purgay, a human resources specialist, recommends standing up and taking a few deep breaths. “It gives you better breath support and helps your vocal pitch, quality and tone. It also gives you a psychological lift and increases your energy.”
3. Use free time wisely to reduce stress
  To minimize stress at work, Sherry Cadorette, a career consultant, says it pays to use your time away from the job wisely as a way to regroup and re-energize. “When fighting stress, go for activities that counteract your regular work,” she says. “For instance, if you sit at a computer all day, do something active or verbal after hours – say, dancing or playing sports with friends. If you never get off the phone, try gardening to get away.”She warns against using off hours for other stressful activities. “If rock climbing makes you feel stressful and anxious, avoid it. Instead, pick an activity for sheer enjoyment.”
4. Handling tough questions
  What should you do if a client or supervisor asks you a question that stumps you? Business expert Christopher Jones says the smartest strategy is to stall. “Saying ‘That’s a really good question,’ in a slow, measured tone is much more effective than, ‘Ummm. Let’s see. Huh. That’s a stumper!'”If you need more time, politely ask the questioner to clarify a portion of the question. If you’re still at a loss, promise to further research the question and get back with the answer by a specific time.
5. Email Efficiency

Read only the important emails. Too many people confuse “sorting” email with “working” email. When you go into your inbox, open it with the intention of sorting. Don’t get romanced into the need to knock a few off the list. This is one of the reasons people feel like they’re not getting stuff done — it is because they spend too much time on the wrong stuff! Then, when you sort, put them somewhere. DO NOT leave them in your inbox.To reduce the number of e-mails from co-workers, simply add the phrase “no need to reply” when sending messages that require no confirmation or feedback.
6. Don’t allow impromptu meetings.
  Spur of the moment meetings waste time, especially if they’re during your prime work time. When co-workers, bosses or employees pop into your office unexpectedly, explain that you’re in the middle of an important project and politely ask if you can call or e-mail them later to schedule a meeting. Then when your prime work period is over for the day or you’ve finished your project, follow-up with them and set a meeting time that works well for everyone.

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