Do you ever feel like you’ve worked all day, but got absolutely nothing done? This doesn’t mean that you’re not good at your job, but it could mean there are some loose ends that need tying up around the office.

Luckily, there are several things you can do to get yourself back on track, impress your boss and co-workers, and hopefully earn that raise or promotion you’ve been working so hard for!

1. Optimize Your Workspace

A great workspace allows you to effectively complete your work quickly and efficiently without distractions. Yet, it should also provide you access to exercise creative thinking and collaboration. Finding a balance between these two can be tricky, especially if you work in a traditional office, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything you can do to improve your workspace.

First, make your desk feel like your own (within reason). You know yourself better than anyone else and you know what types of things can help you stay organized and effective on the job. Sometimes that means bringing a pen and paper from home to manually write down notes or schedule out your day. That could also just mean decorating your desk with a few things that make it feel more like your “work home” instead of a place where you mindlessly plug away.

Related: 14 Tips To Get Organized At Work

Next, set up “hours of operation” for yourself. What I mean by that is, decide when you’re most effective and utilize that time to the best of your ability. Some folks are more focused in the morning and some others might get a boost after lunch. If that means blocking out your schedule during your “power hours,” then do your best to abide by that and not get distracted. Let others know that this is your focus time and that you might need to check out of casual conversation during this time. Try and schedule meetings outside of this time if at all possible so that your workflow isn’t interrupted.

Lastly, keep your head clear and prioritize. If you feel bogged down and stressed by the amount of work that needs to be done, take a short break. Just stepping away from your workspace for a moment can spring the perfect idea about that problem you were facing.

Grab a cup of coffee or something and walk around for a couple of minutes. Don’t engage in any activities that will take you too far from the task at hand. What’s more, if you feel overwhelmed, write out all the tasks that need to get done and prioritize each one. If you need to break them up into smaller, more manageable tasks, then do so, but make sure they are addressed in some way when you say they will be.

2. Learn How to Send an Email

Every person who wants to go far in their career needs to know how to be efficient in their communication skills and this includes email and other forms of written communication.

Okay, so you already know how to send an email, but have you ever read a poorly constructed email which left you confused, frustrated, and unsure how to proceed? That is exactly what I’m talking about.

Related: 8 Tips To Be More Professional in Your Emails

It’s often assumed that since email communication has been around for some time that everyone knows how to use it. However, it’s often misused and messages can easily be misinterpreted. Even though this might sound like an insignificant part of the puzzle — trust me it’s essential to your success.

To start, let’s just set some boundaries. Keep personal emails in your personal email account. Business accounts should be used only for internal communication. You’d really hate to send an email that was meant for a friend to go to your boss, right? Keeping your inbox purely professional will eliminate that possibility completely.

Next, work on the structure of your email. Any unnecessary information should be left out. Work on the key points of your email. Write a straightforward subject line, a concise body, short conclusion, and make sure you have a professional (uncluttered) signature. It’s actually more of an art than you might think. There are even classes offered just on this one subject. So, don’t worry if you don’t get it perfect right away. Consistent improvement is what you’re aiming for

3. Use Tools to Your Advantage

Workplace communication tools are a hot topic these days. Some recent research suggests that 34 percent of companies believe half of their workforce will be working remotely by 2020.

As such, chat services, video conferencing, and everything in between are more popular than ever. However, even if you prefer working in an office environment alongside co-workers and managers, a plethora of tools can help you stay at the top of your game.

Amazon has just launched a business communication tool, called Chime, that claims users will have access to one tool to cover all communication needs. The service offers HD video conferencing, chat capabilities, and call capabilities at the touch of a button. Each of these features is said to be available on desktop and mobile devices and comes with a slew of other features, like the ability to inform other meeting attendees when you’re running late.

Whether or not this is the best tool for the job — you be the judge. Yet, tools like this and many others are essential to healthy workplace communication and collaboration.

In conclusion, a neat and organized workstation, open collaboration and room for creativity, and effective communication are the tools that will ultimately push you forward in your career. Don’t let yourself be held back by unnecessary distractions and obstacles in the workplace.

By Trisha Miller

Trisha Miller
Trisha is a freelance writer from Boise, ID. She is a dedicated vegan who promotes an all-around healthy lifestyle – including mental health. Find her on Twitter – @thatdangvegan
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