Desperately trying to improve your productivity and become a better colleague?

With these 3 simple tricks, you can become the worker you and your boss want you to be.

1. Don’t hide behind headphones

If you’re using them to avoid interruptions, don’t, says Ellwood. It’s better to attack confrontations head-on and gauge the level of urgency. “Ask them if it’s urgent, how much time it will take, then pick a time frame when you’ll respond,” he says. “Get back to them on your terms, not theirs.”

2. Face the wall

Visual distractions are fuel for procrastination. To prevent them, says Ellwood, turn your desk to face the wall. It will focus the mind and help you keep your goals on track. Is it boring? Sure. That’s why you should take occasional breaks and walk around.

3. Never e-mail when you can talk

If you have something to say, say it—don’t e-mail it—and this holds especially true if you’re talking about potentially awkward subject matter. Constructive feedback should always be delivered verbally. Basically, says Ellwood, you should treat e-mails like Twitter: “If you can’t say what you need in five lines or fewer, you should pick up the phone or walk across the office.”

Mark Elwood is a productivity expert and consultant.