9 Simple Tricks To Help You Work Smarter, Not Harder

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Ouch. We know you don't want to hear it, but UK workers are lagging behind on the productivity front.

In 2012, the Office for National Statistics revealed we produced less than all the rest of the major industrialised economies.

Yes, we officially get less done than the Italians -- a nation that has to battle the effects of a high-carb lunch on a daily basis.

But this doesn't mean we're not all worrying about work. In fact, you (dear reader) are probably already thinking 'I haven't got time to read this' and you are starting to panic about your to-do list.

Perhaps we're simply not taking time out to learn how to manage the vast amount of work we're now expected to do?

A fascinating HuffPost blog by Dr Stewart Barr on the psychology of habit formation points out that our complex lifestyles can be tricky to negotiate.

"People need to find strategies for managing all of the different demands on their time. In our research participants referred to this process as 'managing everyday life', which many of them found was a task in itself."

Learning to manage your professional time is perhaps one of the more difficult tasks, when faced with a barrage of demands from co-workers.

What have you done to make work wonderful? Share your stories on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #makeworkwonderful

Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer, Microsoft UK points out that more than three-quarters of UK office workers say they are getting bogged down in emails.

"This fixation with completing such tasks is having a detrimental impact on the level of contribution individual employees feel they bring to their employer," he writes.

Surprisingly, the Microsoft man suggests moving away from your mobile, tablet or PC screen when you can, and setting aside 'thinking time' to formulate ideas that could really make a difference to your work.

"Be mindful of when and where you get the best from technology. Just because you have access to your work email from your device everywhere you go, it doesn't mean you have to be online 24 hours a day. Switching off altogether may be effective if you need to do some deep thinking."

Here are nine other ways that gurus suggest you can be more effective at work.