We’ve all been there. You start the work day with a set plan to get things done, but the meetings, e-mails, and tasks distract you from being at your most productive and increase your level of stress. This is all too common for everybody, but what can you do to break out of that inefficient loop? Here are some simple tips that can help you stay on task, relieve some stress, and boost productivity and efficiency.

Eliminate all distractions

This is easier said than done, but if you have a specific task that you need to accomplish, cut out the distractions. Close or minimize unnecessary browsers, close out your e-mail, and put away your phone to help cut down on distractions.

Complete your most dreaded activity first thing in the morning

While most people tend to procrastinate on tasks or activities that make them stress or feel a sense of dread, try to accomplish your most dreaded and/or hardest tasks early in the morning. You’ll most likely be at a higher level of productivity while the sense of accomplishment from completing the task will brighten the rest of your day. Not to mention, it will open you up for other tasks and remove the stress of dreaded tasks hanging over your head.

Schedule around your most productive time of the day

Everyone is built differently. Some people are most productive in the morning before lunch, while others can get more done after they get a nice lunch in their system. Find which time of the day is most productive for you and prep your day accordingly.

Play some music

While you don’t want to play heavy metal music during the work day (or maybe you do), try to play music that can seep into the background and help you relax. Soothing music can get you into the groove and help accomplish the task at hand.

Get up and move around

Most workers are tied down to their desk most days and remain mostly sedentary. This can lead to tiredness and lack of energy. During the course of the day, try to get up and walk around, even if it’s for a couple of minutes. Getting your muscles moving and your heart rate up will help give you a little extra boost of energy to get your work done.

Set standing meetings

Meetings are a staple of the workplace, but unnecessary and unscheduled meetings can really hamper productivity and efficiency. Instead, set a scheduled time with co-workers or your team every day or week (depending on specific needs) so you can be more efficient with your time.

Finally, take a break

Working straight through the work day will cause you to burn out and lose focus. Take short breaks, about 10-15 minutes at a time, to help improve optimal output. The main goal should be to work in short bursts of max productivity while taking time to relax and settle down.

While these tips are a framework for becoming more efficient and productive, try things that work for you personally. These tips aren’t all encompassing, so continue to look for other ways that will help cut down clutter and get you to peak efficiency.

About the Author

John Feeley is a project manager at PCG Digital Marketing. When outside of the office, you can find him rooting for the Mets, Jets, and New York Rangers. He also loves music, ranging from Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam to Phish and blink-182.