There are only so many hours in each work day, so it’s important to make the most of them so you can maintain optimum productivity and not fall behind with your workload. Believe it or not, you can boost your productivity without necessarily putting in more hours on the clock, and that is by working smarter. To do this, you need to be aware of your use of time and to make it as efficient as possible.
Give Your Workday a Productivity Boost
Here are nine simple strategies to boost your productivity at work.
- Track your time: You may take it for granted that you are being efficient with your time management, but until you track it, you won’t know for sure. Research shows that less than 18 percent of people can accurately gauge the passage of time. A free app like Toggl provides a painless way to track your time. It lets you know how long you spend performing different tasks, breaks down the data for you in several different ways, and you can use it anywhere.
- Take regular exercise breaks: Research suggests that taking exercise breaks during work time can help improve your productivity. To use your time most effectively for exercise breaks, use your lunch break to take a walk or go to the gym. Take five minutes from your desk several times each day to stretch, jog on the spot or do some deskercise.
- Set yourself realistic deadlines: Stress doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Positive stress, or eustress, can help you be more productive and more creative. If you have projects on your to-do list that are open-ended, try setting self-imposed deadlines and stick to them. This will help you stay focused, and you may be surprised to find out just how productive you can be.
- Turn off notifications: If your inbox is bombarded with emails every day or your phone is continually getting text notifications, then turn them off. Interruptions like this are big distractions; they can cause you to lose concentration on the task at hand, which means productivity time will be wasted while you’re trying to get your focus back. Set yourself a small window or two each day when you can check your messages.
- Minimize multi-tasking: Although you may think that juggling several projects at a time is an effective way to manage your schedule, it may be less efficient than you think. Studies have shown that when people try to work on two or more projects at the same time, become distracted and the quality of their work declines. To boost your productivity, concentrate on one task at a time, and finish it completely before moving on to the next task.
- Make you workspace aesthetically pleasing: Research suggests that how your workspace looks can affect how you feel and how you feel about work. If your office has some visually pleasing elements, like plants, pictures, pleasant views, and items you feel a fondness for, then they can increase your productivity and efficiency significantly. Turn your boring office space into a place you enjoy spending time in by adding personal items that will make you feel happy.
- Eat a healthy lunch: Try to avoid eating foods that will make you feel sluggish for the rest of the afternoon. Choose healthy options like salads and protein-rich foods. If you feel yourself waning in energy throughout the day, boost your brain power with a protein bar or shake.
- Use the two-minute rule: This is a great way to overcome procrastination and make more effective use of your time at work. Basically, if you have a task that you think is only going to take a couple of minutes to complete effectively, then do it now. Of course, not every task on your to-do list can be accomplished so quickly, but if you knock out those that can, then you will have more time later.
- Stand up to work: More and more, office workers are coming around to the idea of working standing up instead of sitting at a desk all day. You can even get adjustable workstations that will accommodate this. Not only will standing at work improve your posture, it will also help you stay focused, prevent shoulder and back pain, and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. If you are not able to stand for long periods of time, then get up at least every 60-90 minutes and move around your office for five minutes.
- Block out the noise: If you work in a collaborative environment, background noise can be very distracting and can disrupt your rhythm. Wearing headphones not only blocks out the noise, it’s also an interruption deterrent. Co-workers will think twice before coming to ask you a question if they see you do not want to be disturbed.
- Wake up early: One thing that business leaders and influencers have in common is that they all get up early in the morning. Getting out of bed 1-2 hours before you go to work can give you time to get the day started right, without you feeling you must rush out of the door. Have a healthy breakfast and do some exercise. You’ll have more energy, and your A-game on for the day by starting it without stress. Experiment with what works best for you.
- Read in the morning: Most people don’t wake up feeling inspired and ready to start the day with excitement and maximum energy. A great way to get your brain in gear in the mornings is to read for 15-30 minutes before you start your day. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your favorite novel, a book about personal development, or the newspaper, it can still help to boost your creativity for the day.
Attack the Day with Productivity
With limited hours in each work day, it is so important to develop a strategy for working more productively and efficiently. As well as implementing these tips in your working life, you may find them useful for prioritizing your time outside of work.