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Do you ever feel that people in your workplace are praised for working fast rather than smart? This is the wrong way to approach productivity. In fact, it can hurt productivity levels because of increased errors and a lower quality of work.

Being productive is more than working quickly. It also means putting your time to good use and making smart, strategic decisions. It may take your coworkers longer to appreciate this type of work, but stick with it and no one will be disappointed.

Here are ten effective ways to be more productive in the workplace.

1. Keep a list. Always write down the things you must accomplish for the day. You should have one or two big goals to focus on as well as smaller goals to help you meet them. As you complete a task, cross it off so that you feel proficient.

2. Close your emails. It’s tempting to keep your email open and read every message that comes your way. Unfortunately, this is disruptive and breaks your train of thought. Instead, reserve certain times during the day to read messages and write responses.

3. Find a good noise level. Some people work better in silence while others need background noise. Find your balance. You may have to work this out with your coworkers by wearing headphones. (Hopefully they will do the same for you!) Some say that listening to classical music is relaxing when working with databases.

4. Use automation. Many workplace tasks can be automated. Don’t be afraid to use this technology. For example, Microsoft Access allows you to automate and schedule tasks so that your databases run more smoothly.

5. Use productivity tools. There are a plenty of tools to help you stay focused during your work days. Some of our favorites include Evernote, HootSuite and Rescue Time. There are plenty more, so experiment with the various apps, widgets and tools that help manage time.

6. Be smart about meetings. If you are leading meetings, only invite the people that need to be there. Otherwise, the meeting might go off topic and disrupt those who could be spending their time completing other tasks.

7. Take regular breaks. Don’t skip your breaks or lunch. To perform well, your brain and body needs time to decompress. Plus, research shows that regular breaks increase motivation, enhance productivity and lead to fresh ideas.

8. Be flexible to interruptions. Interruptions are a nuisance, but they happen. Be realistic about them and when/where they can happen. If you find that you can’t stay focused, be proactive by wearing noise-cancelling headphones or using these opportunities to take a break.

9. Avoid multitasking. People pride themselves on multitasking, but research shows that it actually kills productivity levels. Instead, focus on one task at a time. If you are limited, allot a certain amount of time for each task and then move on.

10. Choose snacks and drinks wisely. The afternoon slump can be avoided by getting fresh air, drinking water or tea and eating a high-protein snack. Once you find what works for you, you can be productive all day long!