Just showing up at your office isn’t enough in today’s fast-paced work environments. You have to get things done to thrive and survive. Let’s be honest — everyone is more productive some days than others, but if you find yourself in a slump, having a strategy for staying effective and efficient can help.
Ready to make a plan? Make sure it’s tailored to your own list of distractions. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Treat Your Body Well
Getting enough sleep, making time for daily exercise, and eating healthy food all boost your brain’s resistance to distraction.
The price we pay for sleep deprivation is no secret — one of its main symptoms is the inability to concentrate. Making time for regular exercise beats stress and makes it easier to get those requisite hours of snooze time every night, while healthy eating fuels our bodies. When you find yourself reaching for sugary beverages or unhealthy snacks, like chips or sweets, take a moment to remember the sluggish feeling you get after eating these kinds of foods.
2. Unplug Social Media
Alcohol or drugs may come to mind when you think of addiction, but more people are finding it extremely difficult to peel themselves away from endless scrolling on social media. Yes, that means Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Try to stay away from your social media accounts at work unless your job involves interacting with clients there — it can sap your energy. Check quickly for messages during your lunch break if you must, then close those apps again so you can focus on your work.
3. Write a To-Do List
Creating a to-do list every morning might be considered old-school by some, but it’s just so effective! Planning out your day builds a great road map for productivity and staying ahead.
Keeping on track via an official list on a mobile app is a simple matter of following your own directions, which is easier than innovating when your energy is low. Use your list-making time to set priorities for the day as well, describing each task’s urgency. Assign an A, B, or C to every item — A is an absolute must-do, B is something you hope to accomplish, and C is something you’ll do if you have the time.
4. Break Big Tasks into Small Ones
Break down big projects into bite-size tasks when you’re making that to-do list. It will make them more approachable.
Organization is an integral part of productivity and it opens doors to more efficient results. If your task is to write a big report, for example, you may waste time fretting over how to start. Breaking down this sort of foreboding assignment into manageable segments helps you jump right in. The sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing each small task and crossing it off the list propels you forward to the next.
5. Take Breaks
This is a big one — taking breaks is crucial to your longevity. It may be hard to take a break from your work when deadlines loom, or when you have a million things you need to accomplish. Take a break anyway, and you’ll find that it increases your productivity.
Work in chunks of time — between 60 and 90 minutes — then stop and recharge. Taking a break does not mean checking your social media accounts or staring blankly at the task at hand. Give your brain 15 minutes of downtime by unplugging and taking a walk or a nap.
6. Keep Things Neat
Did you know that clutter is actually stress-inducing? Skip the stress by straightening out your work space — it’s a great end-of-the-day ritual. You’ll arrive the following morning to find your work area clean, tidy, and ready for work. Some people claim to work best in untidy spaces, but try tidying up for a few weeks and you may agree that a messy desk is not conducive to productivity.
7. Kick the Multitasking Habit
It may be possible for you to do two, three, or even four things at the same time thanks to technology, and you may even think that multitasking is expected of you. However, it often reduces productivity.
Genuine productivity depends on focus and concentration. How can you concentrate on an important Zoom call while simultaneously editing a report? You may have to resort to multitasking occasionally, but focus on one thing at a time as much as possible.
8. Practice Optimism
It takes energy to be negative, so you’ll have more to invest in your work if you try to look on the bright side. A positive, optimistic attitude stops your mind from heading into stressful territory. Try reminding yourself that you can get the job done, or smiling as you walk into your office. You’ll also get better feedback from your peers, which is always a plus.
Take time each day to practice gratitude — it may just be a moment to identify one thing you’re grateful for. By staying positive, you’ll remain optimistic, energetic, and much more productive throughout the day.
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