Ask Vicki: How can I be more productive at work?

In this answer on Quora, Monster career expert gives you tips to help you power through your to-do list.

Ask Vicki: How can I be more productive at work?

Each week, Monster’s career expert Vicki Salemi—a former recruiter who utilizes 15-plus years of experience in recruiting and human resources to empower job seekers—answers user questions on Quora. We’ll be republishing the answers here. If you have a question for Vicki, send it to

Vicki Salemi

Q. How can I be more productive at work?

A. There are a few ways you can be more productive at work. It’s all about managing your time.

In order to limit distractions, set a timer to focus on one task and one task only. For example, if you’re working on a weekly spreadsheet, set a timer for a specific amount of time wherein you will focus only on that spreadsheet. Instead of responding to emails throughout the day, set some time slots (such as 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.) to go online and respond to messages.

We all know that social media and web browsing can be a huge time suck, but boosting your productivity doesn’t mean you have to work around the clock. Rather, set specific timeframes for bursts of performance and then let yourself take a break to surf the web, look at jobs on Monster, watch baby animal videos, whatever. After a task is complete, briefly reward yourself with a 10-minute break and then get back to the next item on your to-do list. Again, what’s critical here is that you enforce time limits with a timer set on your phone.

Getting more organized will also help you get more done. Some of the least productive days involve being reactive instead of proactive. Figure out at the start of your day (or even the night before) what absolutely must be tackled during the day.

Another way to be more productive is to reduce the amount of time spent chatting around the office. Yes, it’s important to build camaraderie with colleagues, but if you’re constantly at the water cooler getting caught up in conversations, this can definitely be a hindrance to your productivity. Instead, make lunch plans or coffee break plans in the morning or afternoon rather than throughout the workday.

Read Vicki Salemi's answer to "How can I be more productive at work?" on Quora.