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New Year, New Work Style

January is always filled with News Year’s resolutions. Your goals for the year are likely to include making healthier choices, trying new things or improving your financial situation.  But what about your workplace goals? Making a few small changes at work can help to increase your productivity, decrease your stress and make you more valuable at your company. Implement a few of the changes below to become a happier, better employee in 2018.

Take regular breaks

It sounds counterintuitive, but taking scheduled breaks can actually help improve concentration. Some research has shown that taking short breaks during long tasks helps you to maintain a constant level of performance; while working at a task without breaks leads to a steady decline in performance. If possible, build in set times during the week for taking a walk or going to the gym. Getting your blood pumping could be just what’s needed to clear your head and get your focus back.

Set self-imposed deadlines

While we usually think of a stress as a bad thing, a manageable level of self-imposed stress can actually be helpful in terms of giving us focus and helping us meet our goals. For open-ended tasks or projects, try giving yourself a deadline, and then stick to it. You may be surprised to discover just how focused and productive you can be when you’re watching the clock.

Quit multitasking

While we tend to think of the ability to multitask as an important skill for increasing efficiency, the opposite may in fact be true. Psychologists have found attempting to do several tasks at once can result in lost time and productivity. Instead, make a habit of committing to a single task before moving on to your next project.

Turn off notifications

No one can be expected to resist the allure of an email, voicemail, or text notification. During work hours, turn off your notifications, and instead build in time to check email and messages. Allowing incoming phone calls and emails to dictate how you spend your day will mean you do a great job of putting out fires but that may be all you get accomplished.

Give yourself something nice to look at

It may sound unlikely, but some research shows outfitting an office with aesthetically pleasing elements can increase productivity by up to 15 percent.  Decorate your office space with pictures, candles, flowers, or anything else that puts a smile on your face.