One of the best ways to help yourself stay productive is to give yourself structure. This applies in virtually every aspect of life, but especially so on the clock. Given that as a species, we're also really bad at recovering from interruptions, it can be hard to figure out the best way to minimize them.
That's where a new study from some German economists comes in. These researchers wanted to see if there was a consistent way to think about organizing creative and routine tasks at work to get the most out of your productive hours. While there's no universally applicable model, there is a good way to figure out what works for you. It means recognizing how impulsive you are.
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"Impulsive people are more creative when they can choose how they split their time between various tasks, which means they don't have to limit their impulsiveness," said co-author Alexander Brem in a press release. "On the other hand, less impulsive people demonstrate the opposite effect, as their creative work suffers when they are given an entirely free rein."
In other words, it may not actually matter as much whether you respond to emails first thing in the day or right before lunch. If you're choosing how to organize your time, whether it's by keeping to a schedule or seeing how you feel in the moment, you're more likely to feel better about your work. Make sure your supervisors know about your plan — once they see the results, you should have free rein to do thing as they work best for you.