Do you waste time engaged in trivial activities? Often, we do this unconsciously to avoid doing what needs done. Before we know it, the work day ends with the to do list intact. We rationalize the unfortunate result. After all, we were busy.

Perhaps you have the problem of taking on too much at one time rather than placing your effort on what has to be done. In this case alot of dents are put in the to do list, but little if anything gets completed. Worse yet, many of those dents need to be sanded down and redone.

Make better use of your time by reestablishing old ideas. There is a reason they live on. Sometimes, we just forget their value. This is especially true for high stress work that centers on meeting deadlines.

1. PRIORITIZE--Take a few minutes at the end of the day to make a prioritized list of what has to be completed the following workday. Important points to remember when making your list is to put the most dreaded tasks first. Get them out of the way while both you and the day are fresh.

The fun tasks, those you feel most competent with, and enjoy doing most are best placed toward the day's end. Complete your list by adding the next day's two top priority tasks. This will give you a head start on the following day in the event you have additional time. Also, it will prevent you from using the extra time with activities that you tell yourself have to be done at one time or another. (Isn't it amazing how we rationalize?) If this is true, put them on the priority list when their time comes.

2. ATTEND--Place your full attention on the task at hand. Do one task at a time and keep your focus. The price you pay for jumping from one job to another is wasted time and inferior quality.

The exception to this rule applies to some of those with ADHD. If you are unable to remain focused on one specific project for the required amount of time, set up three priority tasks. Set a timer to go off every 15 minutes (or the amount of time that you can remain completely focused on a task) and move to the next task when the timer sounds. Keep repeating. It is crucial that you have your projects lined up in such a way that you can move smoothly from one to the other without downtime. You will gradually be able to extend the number of minutes that you can stay focused. If you have ADHD or the inability to remain focused, this will increase your production and quality of work. It will also increase the amount of time you are able to focus. Doing this is not to be confused with multi-tasking.

Do not multi-task unless you are in a work situation where your assignment requires it. Do not entertain thoughts of other projects or events. Not even what you are going to do for dinner. When meeting deadlines you must focus on the project at hand. Avoid all distractions. Do not take calls, check your mail, or handle trivial problems that someone else can take care of.

Delegate responsibilities to others before your workday begins. Clearly define what qualifies emergency situations that demand your attention.

3. TAKE SCHEDULED BREAKS--If your work requires sitting, stand. Do stretches, run in place, walk around your work area. Do your favorite deep breathing exercise.

If your work is physical, sit. Close your eyes and get lost in the nothingness, focusing only on your breathing. Run your fingers over your body noting sore or tender spots. Apply pressure, release, and massage the area.

During your lunch or snack break, focus on eating. Leave the work area and the work behind. Enjoy your meal, chew slowly and consciously while taking in the textures, taste, and smell of what you are eating and drinking.

During your bathroom breaks, tap the Karate Chop point (the edge of the palm between the little finger and wrist) while saying, "Even though I have this deadline, I know that I am completing it in record time and in perfect form." You may also tap the top of your head and say, "I am filled with perfect energy; I gratefully accept my ability to complete tasks quickly and thoroughly."

4. GET RID OF THE JUNK--Are you wasting time on meaningless activities? Are you moving the same stack of papers, equipment, or tools that seem to always be in your way from one location to another day after day? Do yourself a favor and get rid of the junk. If it is not essential, serves no meaningful purpose, let it go. Forget about, "I might use it someday," or "It may come in handy sometime." Let it go. Make it a personal mission. Go through your desk, your office, your cupboards, your house, garage . . . If it takes up space, but isn't used - get rid of it. If you can't remember the last time you used it, get rid of it.

Your productivity will take on a new life just by ridding yourself of clutter.

Author's Bio: 

Paul Keene, MA, EFT-Adv, Sp.Ed
ADHD Expert
Paul does consultations by phone, specializing in ADHD students, elementary grades through college. Visit his website, Helping Others Heal at