If being connected 24/7 was supposed to make our lives easier, the business world didn’t get the memo. Most American professionals just can’t shake the end-of-the-day feeling that they didn’t get enough done. So day after day, they find themselves responding to work e-mail on their smartphones right up until their head hits the pillow. Sound familiar?

There is good news, says Jason Womack, author of Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More (Wiley, February 2012, ISBN: 978-1-118-12198-6, $24.95).

By implementing a few small changes, you can get more done in less time —which not only staves off burnout, but leaves more time for doing what you love. The following is but one idea from Womack’s new book.

Keep your BlackBerry out of bed. Womack writes about a client who listed “Check e-mail on BlackBerry (in bed)” as part of his daily morning routine. Note that he didn’t do anything about those e-mails while still in bed. He waited until he was commuting to work (he had a 40-minute train ride to the office each day) to start taking action. Then, he said, he rushed through his morning worrying about the e-mails he had read in bed.

“Together, he and I designed a five-day experiment during which period he would leave his mobile device in another room and use an alarm clock to wake up instead of his phone,” says Womack. “He would shower, dress, eat breakfast, and then check e-mail on his train ride to work. Initially, he expressed concern that he might miss the ‘thinking about what I have to think about’ time he had built in to the early part of the day, but he was willing to give the experiment a try.

“When I called him the following week, he had good news,” Womack continues. “The experiment had worked. He was less stressed and was using his morning more productively. This change in his routine gave him a higher quality of life with less stress and increased productivity—one he didn’t know was possible without falling behind in his work.”

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