Now that 2015 is history, it's time to start the new year off right. Don't let old habits of procrastination or feelings of being overwhelmed bog you down.

You can fight the constant barrage of emails, texts, phone calls, requests, and piles of work by changing how you react and behave during those overwhelming work hours. Ron Friedman, who hosts the Peak Work Performance Summit webinar, interviews some top thinkers on productivity in the Harvard Business Review.

Below, check out a round up of the best advice for being productive and resilient this year. 

Protect your time.

You want to be the owner of your time throughout the day. Once you lose your grip on your own time, you start defending it from in-bound requests. If you're on defense, you've already lost.

"Our most satisfying work comes about when we're playing offense, working on projects that we ourselves initiate," Friedman writes. "Many of us know this intuitively yet continue allowing ourselves to spend the vast majority of our days playing defense, responding to other people's requests."

Tom Rath, author of Are You Fully Charged? says the first step in playing offense is to refrain from compulsively checking email and phone messages. Get one important thing done first before you start checking the inbox. 

Don't get duped by busyness.

Busy-body work might make you feel good while you're ticking the boxes on your to-do list, but busyness alone "robs us of our focus" and prevents us from getting the most important things done, Friedman writes. Top performers don't let busy work ruin their productivity. In fact, many people think busy work is wasteful and insignificant.

"Busyness is not a marker of intelligence, importance, or success. Taken to an extreme, it is much more likely a marker of conformity or powerlessness or fear," says Christine Carter, a sociologist expert at UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center.

Honor your limitations.

You need to recognize the fallacy in the idea that the harder you work the more you get done. Brigid Schulte, author of the New York Times bestseller Overwhelmed, says society has tricked us into thinking the more hours we put in at work the better we'll perform. But top performers are self aware and know their own limitations and know living a balanced life will help you be more effective and productive. 

"Being productive requires recognizing that you can't work for extended periods of time and maintain a high level of performance," Friedman writes. "As humans, we have a limited capacity for focused attention."

Carve out 90-minute time chunks for concentrated work with breaks in between. If you balance your work day with exercise, meals, and time at home and good sleep, you'll be more productive than if you were to cut out all of that stuff and stay at the office. 

Implement the Hemingway strategy.

You probably work on something as quickly as possible to make a deadline and then move onto the next without thinking about the completed project. But your best ideas will come when you sit and think about a project before it's completed. Adam Grant, a psychologist, author, and professor at Wharton, says you could be more productive if you give yourself more time and sit with incomplete work rather than rushing to complete it.

"I used to sit down to write and not want to get up until I was done with a chapter or an argument," Grant tells Friedman. "Now I will deliberately leave sentences just hanging in the middle and get up and go do something else. What I find when I come back is that I don't have to do a lot of work to finish the sentence, and now I also have a bunch of new ideas for where the writing should go next."

If you're done with a project, you're not going to think about it. Chances are that you'll forget about it. Instead, step back, let unfinished work sit and ruminate over it, just like Ernest Hemingway used to do.

Published on: Jan 4, 2016