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With a recent survey by O2 Business showing that the average British worker spends 36 days a year answering emails it is not surprising that a third of us feel overwhelmed. London workers in particular receive close to 9,000 emails each year and according to a study conducted for GFI Software almost a quarter of people feel compelled to reply to work emails within 15 minutes of receipt, and 72% of respondents reply to work emails in under one hour.

I believe that constantly checking emails is one of the biggest time wasters at work and here are my top ten tips for improving efficiency at work:

  1. One of the biggest time wasters at work is checking email constantly; it is a distraction and it can sap productivity. Check email just three times a day.
  2. Have realistic but clear goals and work to the rule of ‘3’. Have three things on the go at once and no more. Most things are best defined in three points.
  3. Have a daily to do list AND a weekly NOT TO DO list. It helps focus the mind on doing the right things.
  4. Be comfortable saying no to requests.
  5. Accept excellence over perfection, perfection is often not needed and costs too much, and be tidy – lay out simple plans for complex projects in multiples of three items or steps.
  6. Have some good routines and never have a full calendar – always block out some time for yourself and for creative planning and thinking – at least an hour a week. Do this with colleagues or alone – the process is productive and energising.
  7. Avoid tough thinking between 2 and 3pm. It’s the body's down time. Be healthy and walk and use the stairs wherever possible. Any cardiovascular exercise will boost productivity especially before the day begins. Drinks lots of water too as this can improve energy levels.
  8. Read or listen to fiction as this will re-wire the creative lines in your head.
  9. Be mindfully individual, do things your way as far as possible, it will give you strength.
  10. Lastly, take an extra 5% of time to get things right first time.
By Stephen Archer, Business Analyst and Director, Spring Partnerships