Balancing act: If it's Tuesday, you're probably too productive to read this

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 24 2013 8:00 a.m. MST

  • Axe the excess. Accountemps suggests creating a to-do list for the day, then cutting it in half, focusing on top priorities. "Too often workers overestimate what they can accomplish and become frustrated by their lack of progress," the Accountemps statement said. "A shorter, more realistic list that leaves room for unexpected projects and setbacks will help you become more productive."
  • Aim for quality, not quantity. While multitasking sounds like a good way to increase productivity, it can lead to oversights and errors, the Accountemps statement said. "Repeatedly switching from one project to another also slows you down. Do your best to focus on one item at a time." I've got a few mega-multitaskers on my team, but I tend to work better when I do one thing at a time.
  • Know your prime time. Accountemps suggests figuring out what your most productive time of day is and tackling your most critical or challenging assignments then. "Handle less-pressing tasks, like online research, when your energy level starts to wane."
  • Dodge derailers. Turn off mobile devices, sign out of email and ignore Facebook, Twitter and other social media when working on important assignments, Accountemps suggests. The statement also says you should politely inform colleagues that you don't want to be disturbed. This sounds great in theory, but some jobs require a quick response to communication from others. I feel that, in my role as manager, I should always be available to my team, so I rarely put out the "do not disturb" sign.
  • Explore apps. Accountemps says people should take advantage of software that is designed to increase productivity. "Digital calendars, task management apps and other time-saving programs can help you keep track of projects, meet deadlines and be more productive," the statement said. While I agree that some of these things can help, I also have seen people turn their time management apps into time wasters by focusing too much attention on them.
I'm interested to hear your reactions to the Accountemps survey and suggestions. What is your most productive day of the week, and why? How do you maintain productivity throughout the week? What office hazard is most likely to derail your attempts to stay on task?

Send me an email or leave a comment with your ideas, and I'll share some of them in a future column.

And good luck with that last-minute shopping!

Email your comments to kratzbalancingact@gmail.com or post them online at deseretnews.com. Follow me on Twitter at gkratzbalancing or on Facebook on my journalist page.