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How to Get More Done at Work

Cathie Black, president of Hearst's magazine division, delegates extremely well. She empowers her people with clear direction so they can work independently. She's decisive and doesn't postpone decisions, which is a huge time trap. She's also very good at planning her time off so that it properly restores her.

What do you think about multitasking?

Morgenstern: It doesn't work. It takes the brain four times longer to process each thing it's working on when it's switching back and forth between tasks. If you're writing an email while talking on the phone while trying to finish your expense report, that 15-minute email will take you an hour.

Train yourself to work sequentially. Figure out the maximum amount of time you can focus on each task. Then break your tasks down based on your ability to concentrate.

How can people promote themselves to their superiors?

Morgenstern: Talk to your boss and find out his big-picture goals, and how he's measuring results. Then spend the majority of your time on tasks that impact the revenue line.

You also need to communicate your results, letting your boss know what you're getting done or how far you've gotten on a project. The more you communicate, the more you're visible and critical to your company.

Are there other relationships workers should cultivate?

Morgenstern: Look at the influential people on the tiers above you. Connect to people you want to be like, who you want to become. Scan your company, scan your division and hang out with them.

And always make friends with assistants. They can get you on people's calendars. They're the oil of so many companies.

Nate Herpich is a freelance writer and editor living in Brooklyn, N.Y. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor and Sports Illustrated.com.
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