Whether you work for yourself, or for someone who pays you a salary, if you want to be successful at work, you need to be productive. Here are a few simple tips to make your workday successful.

1. Work in 90 Minute Intervals

Research has shown that top performers in various endeavors work best in 1.5 hour cycles. Interestingly, this is also the interval of your sleep cycle, indicating that it’s a biologically potent zone for focusing. At the end of the ninety minute interval, take a short break.

Working for longer stretches of time may seem necessary, but it actually decreases concentration. Consider stepping outside for a quick walk; studies have shown that movement is good for improving concentration and shaking off stress.

2. Cancel All Meetings

Well, you probably can’t cancel all of them, but there are probably a large number of meetings interspersed throughout your week that are huge time sucks that don’t result in anything.

Can you conduct the conversation over the phone or via email? If so, consider staying in the office avoiding unnecessary interactions, unless there’s an exceptionally delicious free lunch involved.

3. Set Due Dates

The term “deadlines” can sound a little threatening, so consider setting some due dates for your projects, and even placing them before the actual due date that was given to you. That way, you won’t be cramming at the last minute, or begging for more time. Putting a date and time on the calendar will also force you to create a schedule and manage your project accordingly.

4. Don’t Get Distracted

As you work, don’t let precious time get sucked away by the various distractions that inevitably creep up on all of us living in the 21st century.

Tweets, pings, likes, emails, and all other assortment of digital barnyard noises are bombarding us all the time and detracting from our focus and productivity. Consider shutting your phone off, or setting specific times to check your email.

5. Examine How You Spend Your Time

Ask the average person to guess what time it is without looking at their phone or watch, and they probably won’t be able to tell you. We’re not so good at estimating time, and that applies to tasks we do as well.

Consider becoming an anthropologist and observing your habits. Time yourself to see how much time you spend checking emails, getting coffee, scrolling through social media, and everything else.

Like reviewing your budget, you’ll be amazed by how much pocket change is disappearing here and there, and perhaps be inspired to set stricter limits with yourself about how you spend your time.

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