The world is full of distractions – especially at work. This can cause our productivity to decline and can quickly lead to burnout. Luckily there are ways to minimize these time-sucks and increase your efficiency at work. The result? A better work product in less time, which frees you up to focus on personal projects and family.

While most businesses would come to a grinding halt if it were not for email, it can also be an enormous source of distraction. We might start off just responding to the most important emails, but we can quickly get sucked into many other, lower priority tasks. Many of us keep our email open all the time, which can pull our attention away from current work whenever a new message comes in.

It is also a bad habit to continually check messages throughout the day – which is something that can easily turn into a significant amount of wasted time. It helps to have dedicated times to email. To limit this distraction, check once first thing, and once toward the end of the day.

The next big huge time waster might surprise you: Multitasking. There are a lot of people who think that they are being more productive by doing three things at once. But this actually ends up taking more time than if you were to dedicate your attention to each of these tasks individually. And, more often than not, the quality also suffers.

Luckily, there are a couple of key ways you can curb the number of distractions in your professional and personal life.

Smart planning is key. When you proactively plot out your daily, weekly, and long-term tasks – and keep yourself accountable – your productivity will greatly increase. It is best to schedule your tasks based on your own personal energy levels. For example, if you know you work best in the morning and are generally sluggish after lunch, tackle your most important projects first thing and save the smaller, easier to-dos for when your energy is low. It is also best to schedule your daily tasks the night before, this helps you jump in straight away.

Another effective tactic that should not be overlooked when it comes to productivity is your physical environment. You might not have a lot of control over this, but there are some easy things that you can do to make your workspace as distraction-free as possible. If noise is an issue, consider investing in a good set of headphones. You should also try and maintain a clean and organized space – this will limit the number of distractions and streamline your process.

It is important to understand what is contributing to the distractions in your life. Once you do, you can take the necessary steps to eliminate them, while at the same time setting the stage for higher productivity.