Do you want to be more efficient?

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11235558_MWe all want to be more efficient, right? Yet research shows that many of us are going about it the wrong way. Here are some ways that research tells us you can be more efficient at the office.

Focus on one thing at a time. You may think that multi-tasking will make you more productive, but it rarely does. Studies show that multitasking has a host of disadvantages and that focusing on one thing at a time can produce better results than trying to get more than one thing done at a time. Our brains simply weren’t designed for multitasking!

Ask for help. You don’t have to personally do so much — and you shouldn’t. Delegating can be a powerful way to get more done each day and empower those around you. For many people, though, it doesn’t come naturally.

Communicate clearly. Make sure your texts, emails, and documents are clear. Before you hit send, print, or copy, reread what you wrote to make sure it is clear in directions and sets the right tone. Think of any unanswered questions that you can proactively answer as well. Also make sure that others feel comfortable letting you know when they don’t understand something you’ve asked them to do.

Develop routines. Routines are powerful tools for everyone from babies and children to business owners and city managers. Keep to a schedule, but don’t be so inflexible that you can’t go for a walk or seek inspiration online with a good TED Talk.

You can’t be on the go continually! You need downtime to allow yourself to enjoy something else, and you need mental and physical breaks, including real vacations. Research shows that more Americans are skipping vacations or doing some work during vacation time — but that this can lead to burnout, less focus, and productivity. Take a vacation — and resist the urge to check e-mails.

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