Learn to say no
iStock/fotostorm Be realistic about how long a project will take you and consider other obligations in your life. Before responding to other people’s requests for your time and energy, take a minute to really consider if you have enough bandwidth to fulfill it. If you don’t, it is okay to say no. “Taking on too much often causes us to rush through our work. If you’re not comfortable saying ‘no’ to others, practice saying ‘no’ with a friend or colleague. Being able to say ‘no’ to others will help lighten your schedule,” Dr. Marsden says.
iStock/fotostorm Little breaks, even just five minutes, throughout your day can help recharge your brain and even improve your productivity, according to a recent Cornell study. Giving your mind the opportunity to wander and process the events of the day in real time can also help you recalibrate if you’ve been getting off-track.
Don’t pre-worry about being late
iStock/Halfpoint Don’t spend time focusing on the possible consequences of being late. Psychologist Jennifer Guttman, PhD, always tell clients to use the mantra I’m not late until I’m late. “People use so much mindshare getting anxious about the possibility of being late before they’re even late,” she says. “Focus that energy instead on making sure you are completely prepared for when you arrive.” To help avoid being late in the first place, Dr. Guttman suggests setting your alarm in the morning 10 minutes earlier than you think you need to get up—because starting the day off rushed is a sure way to start off the whole day on the wrong foot.” Plus, waking up early is one of the many habits of successful people.