Do you find yourself falling behind schedule or reaching the end of the work day and realizing that you missed something important? Over 30% of New Year’s resolutions involves being more productive. A few key adjustments can help you drastically improve the productivity of your work day.

1. Plan Your Day Ahead of Time

Either in the evening or when you wake up in the morning, write down what you need to accomplish during the day. When you commit to your goals for the day, it’s easier to stay focused and avoid distractions. It also prevents you from forgetting anything important, because you have it written down as a reminder.

2. Focus on One Task at a Time

Multi-tasking is a myth. We can only work on one task at a time, which means if our attention is divided, we’re only hampering our performance on that task. When you have a task to work on, devote your full attention to it.

3. Minimize Wasted Time

There are plenty of ways that people waste time throughout the day. Social media is a big one. You tell yourself you’re just going to check some of the latest updates, and before you know it you’ve spent 20 minutes watching pointless videos and clicking the Like button. During the work day, make a pact to yourself that you won’t go on social media. Whatever’s going on, it can wait.

You should also set specific times when you will check your email throughout the day. Here’s the problem if you don’t do this — it’s very easy to get into the habit of needlessly checking your email anytime that you’re bored or want to delay starting a new task.

4. Work When You’re Most Productive

Your energy and your attention fluctuates throughout the day. You could be full of energy at 10 a.m., then find that you just want a nap by the time the early afternoon rolls around. What’s important is that you find out what times of the day you’re most productive, and make sure you’re working on your most important tasks at those times.

Many people are most productive the first two hours after they get out of bed. Others will find the mid-morning to be their most productive time period, while night owls will do their best work in the evening. Find what works for you so you can get the best results.

5. Learn How to Say No

There’s nothing wrong with helping your coworkers out from time to time, or taking a break from work to go hang out with friends. But if you want to succeed, you must be able to say no at times and prioritize your work. There’s only so much time in the day, and to be productive, you must make sure the majority of your time is spent the right way.

It takes time to make these adjustments part of your day-to-day routine. Once you turn them into habits, you’ll find that you get much more done every day.

Originally published at