One of the best ways to make yourself invaluable at work is to enhance your efficiency. Co-workers and bosses know which employees stand out in terms of getting things done quickly and capably. To excel in your field, your goal is simple: Become the best version of yourself. Fortunately, there are many life hacks that can aid in your endeavor to boost your productivity at work. Start with these five basics.

Just Say No

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Image via Flickr by TechStage

The act of declining invitations is a skill that’s important to develop. One of the worst situations you can face as a professional is a series of simultaneous deadlines. It’s the byproduct of trying to take on too much. As you try to increase your value to the company, you’ll feel the temptation to agree to every project available. In the process, you’re just as likely to become a detriment to the organization.

A single missed deadline harms multiple parties. Even if your overall percentage of met deadlines is strong, some co-workers will remember you as the person who failed to work in a timely manner on the one you missed. The best way to avoid this is by saying no any time you have a doubt about your current workload or the open project. Your peers will view you as someone with complete awareness of your capabilities.

Focus on Goals

To-do lists are popular for good reason. They help workers break down their daily tasks in itemized fashion. But on occasion, they’re also part of the problem. Anything you don’t include on your to-do list automatically falls by the wayside until you complete the listed tasks. That’s not the best way to demonstrate productivity at your job.

What you should do instead is prioritize goals. Your to-do list represents the minutiae of your daily life. Your goals are something different, and should go beyond your vocation. While they’re broader and harder to pinpoint, you should take the time to do so. Otherwise, you’ll discover that you are spinning your wheels by completing countless pointless tasks. Completing major goals, within and outside of work, will differentiate you from your peers.

Reply Immediately

Strategists call this the Inbox Zero system. The concept is simple. You might receive urgent emails and recognize that you need to craft a detailed response. Rather than do so immediately, you mark the message as unread, planning to reply in detail later. You might not realize it, but this tactic is a poor strategy for a couple of obvious reasons.

How much time did you just spend reading the email? By delaying reply, will you forget about the message entirely? That’s unlikely. Instead, the query will continue to distract you throughout the work day. You’ll consider then discard various options for reply even as you ostensibly complete other tasks. That’s wasted time, and that’s not even the worst part. You’ll also find yourself distracted, reducing the quality of work on the tasks you complete in the interim. The best thing you can train yourself to do is reply to emails as soon as you get them.

Use Productivity Apps

One of the best ways to improve your workday is by leveraging the power of your smartphone. Tens of thousands of developers constantly work to create and perfect productivity apps. Whatever your profession, others in the field have offered suggestions on improved performance.

You can download apps to take better notes, use Microsoft Office products, optimize your workflow, manage your inbox, and connect you to other experts in your field. You should get in the habit of perusing web sites that rank productivity apps. That way, you’ll always have your choice of the best programs to optimize your work life. You also need the right phone to use them. The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a large HD display, fast processor, and long battery life to help you work on multiple tasks to boost your productivity.

Just Do Something

The final piece of advice is most beneficial when you’re struggling to accomplish anything. Procrastination is the bane of productivity. When you’re sitting at your desk doing nothing, you’re at your worst.

The five-minute rule is the way to overcome what may be your worst habit. The concept is simple. Just do something for five minutes. It doesn’t matter what. As long as you work toward some goal, you’re enhancing your productivity and overcoming sluggishness.

Becoming more productive is a worthy goal. Follow the five tips above, and you’ll soon feel like the best version of yourself.