Being more productive is something that everyone wants to achieve. However, procrastination and stress can make completing our to-do lists nearly impossible. If you’re struggling to maximize efficiency and productivity, start with these seven helpful hacks:

#1: Limit Meetings to 30 Minutes

Productivity expert and LinkedIn Influencer, Jeff Haden said, “Whoever invented the one-hour default in calendar software wasted millions of people-hours.” The truth is most meetings only require 15 to 30 minutes. Instead of defaulting to 60-minute meetings, come prepared with an agenda and limit distractions to meet your objective without wasting valuable man hours.

#2: Disable Notifications

There is nothing more distracting than a constantly buzzing phone. Text messages, emails, social media notifications – these alerts negatively impact concentration (not to mention annoy those around us also trying to work). Do yourself a favor and turn off these notification – you’ll be shocked at how much more you will accomplish.

#3: Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

“No” is a word most people are afraid to say at work. Research from the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty you have saying no, the more likely you are to get in over your head, which can cause stress, burnout, and even depression. Saying no is powerful in that it allows you to prioritize your work and gives you the opportunity to focus on existing commitments. Even billionaire Warren Buffett said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”

#4: Schedule Airplane Time

If the temptation of scrolling Instagram or texting friends is preventing you from finishing an important project, it may be time to schedule Airplane Time. Choose one day each week to block off a few hours and treat that time as if you were traveling for work. Restrict Internet access, disable your phone, and focus on crossing high-priority items off your to-do list. The rest of the day can include meetings and other interactions, but Airplane Time is your time to work more efficiently without the constant distractions.

#5: Only Read an Email Once

We’ve all done it – opened an email and flagged it because we would rather deal with it later. Unfortunately, this tactic is a huge time waster. Instead of taking work off of our plates, we are putting tasks into a holding pattern. The next time you open an email, decide what you want to do – reply, delete, forward, or archive. Getting into this habit isn’t easy, but it’ll prevent the stress associated with an out of control inbox.

#6: Drink Plenty of Water

Scientific research has proven a link between dehydration and decreased cognition. According to the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, mild dehydration – water loss of less than 5% of our body weight – can suppress the increase in blood flow necessary for proper neural activity. This disrupts the blood vessels in the brain, affecting short term memory, attention, and reaction time. Adequate water consumption can potentially increase productivity by 14%, so remember to drink up!

#7: Maximize Efficiency with Productivity Tools

Staying focused at work can be difficult; fortunately, there are tons of tools to help you maximize your day and increase productivity. Here are a few personal favorites:

  • Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer: Engage with people across all of your social media accounts through a single dashboard. These tools simplify social media management by creating custom, targeted streams to monitor conversations, publish posts, and quickly and consistently engage users.
  • Evernote: Inspiration can strike at anytime – capture what’s on your mind! Evernote enables users to take notes, create to-do lists, and save articles of interest in one location. Plus, Evernote syncs everything between your phone, tablet, and computer automatically, making it easy to reference notes or read a saved article anytime, anywhere.
  • AnswerHub Knowledge-Driven Productivity (KDP): Accomplish more without adding more hours to your workday. AnswerHub KDP empowers employee success through collaboration and shared knowledge. Employees can easily reference the knowledge vital to getting the job done, establish an open dialogue with others, no matter their department or location, and work together to solve problems and discover new ideas.

Have a great productivity hack to share?