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Work Smarter Not Harder

After Labor Day Weekend, Patch offers you some tips to get more done by not getting distracted.

Yesterday was . Hopefully you got to take a day off of the daily grind and relax a little bit. As you head back to work this week, though, we asked an expert – what can you do to work smarter and therefore get more done in less time?

Beth Randall owns Joe Organizer, which is based in Plainfield, but has given presentations at the , the and the . She offers a number of tips for staying organized during the work hours, whether you work in an office or in your home.

Manage your email

“If you’re actually in an office, have set times during the day when you are going to check it, but don’t check it first thing in the morning,” Randall said.

She suggested checking it an hour after you first arrive.

“Once you start checking email that kind of controls your day when you are better off controlling it,,” she said.

Clean your desk

“Start with a clean desk and therefore a clean mind,” Randall said. “If you left your office without cleaning, do that first.”

A clean desk top would hold an inbox, a notebook for notes and phone messages and pens.

Speaking of an inbox

Randall suggests limiting the size of your inbox. Most inboxes are a couple inches in depth. She said to limit the amount that is in the inbox, otherwise your inbox turns into a procrastination heap

“I will have an inbox, but my inbox is only so big,” she said of her own desk. “You have to put a limitation on your inbox.”

Don’t make office chatting so easy

We all know the situation. You are busy working away and Sally from accounting wanders over with the intention of catching up on the latest news in her life. You can limit how much time this takes away from your productivity.

“Don’t let them park themselves in your visitors chair.,” Randall said. “I also recommend that you rearrange your office furniture so that you don’t make eye contact with every single person that walks by.”

Set your own hours and stick to them

Working from home offers its own unique challenges, like making the mistake of doing housework in the middle of your workday.

“It’s so easy to distract yourself with household chores and then you are working from home at 11 p.m,” Randall said.

And it’s not just the self-made distractions. You can find well-meaning neighbors call or wander over because they see your car in the driveway.

“The most important one is always answer your phone professionally if you are in your work mode,” Randall said. “People are thrown off and they are like, ‘oh you are working,’ and you can say, ‘yes, I am.’”

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