(Photo Credit: Tina DeSormier/Flickr)
1. Wake up 15 minutes earlier.
Especially if you're a confirmed snooze-button addict, getting up earlier will help you start off feeling like you're ahead -- or at the very least, not hopelessly behind. That saves all the anxiety and disorganization that constantly playing catch-up creates, which can add up to considerably more than 15 minutes. Plus, you'll feel better.
2. Ask, "Is this meeting really necessary?"
You're not going to escape every pointless meeting, but if you can build a case with your manager for avoiding the ones where you don't accomplish anything, you'll save time and frustration, and be able to pay more attention to your own projects.
As usual, facts are your friends here. Come armed to the discussion with data supporting your argument, and you're much more likely to win back those hours.
3. Save the late morning for work time.
"University of Southern California biologist Steve Kay told The Wall Street Journal that most adults do their best focused work in the late morning," writes Rachel Feltman at Quartz. "Rising body temperature gives concentration, memory, and alertness a boost. All of those benefits start to decline around noon -- especially after a meal."
If at all possible, block off those late morning hours for heads-down work. Make a meeting with yourself in your Outlook calendar if you have to. You won't always win the fight to take back your most productive hours, but you will get in the habit of making a commitment with yourself to put your productivity high up on your list of priorities, which will help you in the long run.
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