With the start of the new year, we’re revisiting some of the basic tenets of MatchPace and reminding ourselves not just why it’s important to optimize your pace at work - but also simple steps we can all take today to get closer to achieving our goal of working hard and living well.

When MatchPace launched in 2016, we wanted to help people work better so they can important, world-changing work without burning out and sacrificing their other priorities, like family, health, and giving back to their communities. From individuals to large organizations, we’re learning how to do that better.

If you’ve started 2019 in the same old rhythms and routines, spending most of your day switching from task to task or hopping from meeting to meeting, tired and overwhelmed but unsure of what you’ve accomplished by the end of the day, you’re not alone. Fortunately, taking just one of the five following steps can start transforming your work day and make you more effective today.

Be Ready to Change.

Effectiveness doesn’t start with the latest tech gadget or productivity tool. Instead, it starts with a commitment to make real changes to how you structure your workday. Sound overwhelming? Instead of trying to overhaul your everything at once, try incremental change to yield long-term results. Automating your behavior through building new habits is the secret to long-term change.

Pick Your Top Priority, Not Priorities.

Do you find that pesky to-do list never seems to get, well, to-done? That’s because a list of tasks for the day doesn’t help you determine what is most important to complete and what can wait. Instead, identify your TOP priority each day and commit to doing that before anything else. That sense of accomplishment will give you the momentum to tackle the rest of that list with more focus.

Block Your Time.

We’ve talked a lot about time blocking at MatchPace, and it’s a strategy we’re still honing in our own workdays. In our world of constant distraction, time blocking is a proven strategy to keep pesky interruptions, from email notifications to social media to a coworker dropping by, from preventing deep work. Start with an hour blocked out to tackle your top priority or most mentally challenging task for the day, and then block out other chunks of time for responding to emails, scheduling meetings, and collaboration or creative work (and don’t forget breaks!) You will stay on task and on track all day long.

Practice the Art of “No”

We’re under constant pressure to say “yes” to every opportunity that comes our way. But saying “yes” to everything is the fastest way to kill your focus and effectiveness. Learning to say no to the right things is the most effective way to prevent burnout. In fact, we’re so sure you need to say “no” more often that we’re launching an exciting new project next month around the idea of the things you need to stop doing in order to do the most important things well. Stay tuned for more soon!

Make Time for Leisure

Despite a steady increase in American productivity since the 1950s, we’re working more than ever, with the average worker clocking in 47 hours a week and nearly one in five working over 60 hours a week. We don’t take breaks or use our vacation time, either. We’ve truly lost the art of leisure, cramming more work into our day and never truly tuning out and giving ourselves and our brains a break. We’re going to dive into this topic on the blog next month, but you can start today but taking an intentional break - away from your desk, and preferably with some fresh air - at work!

By implementing just one of these best practices at a time, you will see a drastic change in both your effectiveness at work and your work-life balance by the time 2020 rolls around. We’d love to hear how you’re transforming your workday in 2019!