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The Key to Being More Productive? Try Slowing Down



This article was originally published in the May 2019 issue of Terre Haute Living.

In a world where we are constantly asked to have more things completed, assigned more tasks and given more responsibilities, it seems there is a never-ending amount of chaos circling around us. Being more productive is one of the items we all need to master.

There are a significant amount of skills continuously interwoven and used to maintain and increase how efficiently we get our work done.

One of the least-used skills is understanding how to slow down our days. How do we allow ourselves some breathing room while still seizing the moment to get our tasks completed? How do we prepare for what the future might hold for us?

Recognizing you should find your peace of mind and how to manage your stress is important since we all have dozens of things to get done at work and in our personal lives.

A few tips to help are below.

First, consider the 1-3-5 Rule: This rule is tackling what is big, medium and then small. There are only so many hours in the day; this will assist you in prioritizing what is most important to accomplish and point you in the right direction. Where do you want to focus? What resources do you have access to for your tasks?

Second, determine what you want to conquer for your daily and weekly action items. Set up your order or priorities. Look at the list of things you developed and assign a reasonable amount of time for each item and round up as no doubt you will need a buffer occasionally.

And finally, how will you handle interruptions? Interruptions will happen, so make time for them, this will make you less frazzled and also make the person that needs your attention to feel more valuable.

  • People will interrupt while you are working; it is going to happen.
  • Allocate time for “interruptions.” This will help to ensure they don’t affect your goals for the day.
  • Let people know they are valuable, but you still have a project to complete at hand.

By working on these tips, it will help you slow down your day and increase your focus, thereby increasing productivity.

Heather Strohm is a community development regional educator for the Southwest Region of Purdue University Extension who regularly contributes a Business Cents column for the Terre Haute Living. She can be reached at

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