Imagine having more time at home to spend with your family or on hobbies. Imagine having more money in your pocket for vacations and splurges. Imagine getting more work done in less time, without any of the stress.
How? Increasing your productivity at the office! If you can hone your focus and manage your time wisely, your supervisors might take notice (and give you a raise as an incentive to keep it up), and you'll also be able to power through your daily tasks more efficiently.
Increasing your work productivity is one of the best things you can do for your career, but there are always roadblocks. Here are some tips to help create habits and an environment that's conducive to high productivity — and future success.
Workplace Productivity "Dos"
1. Keep a photo of a cute pet, loved one or a memento from a vacation or experience on your desk where it's in your line of sight. Every time your eyes light on it, you'll give your brain a little spike of dopamine, stimulating reward-motivated behavior which might just help you focus.
2. Get out of the office! Take a five- or ten-minute walk outside. Listening to the sounds of your surroundings will help you reset and give you more energy for the task at hand. Can't make it outside? Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Take a least five deep breaths in and out for a fast and simple exercise you can do anytime to bring your brain back on track.
3. Take a break to look out the window and get some sunshine on your face. The vitamin D is good for your body, and paying attention to the sights and sensation of the sun on your skin can boost your energy levels for a while afterward.
4. Eat a brain food snack. Pick something that will have a powerful effect on your brain, like blueberries or even a cup of green tea, both of which have been shown to have positive effects on memory and concentration.
5. Plan your day wisely. Schedule tasks that require you to be detail-oriented and solve problems for times you're well-fed, well-rested and at your freshest. Organize your time so your no-brainer or more automated tasks take place when you feel less well-rested, are approaching hunger or directly before or after a big problem-solving session to help conserve brain energy.
6. Identify the tasks that are within your sphere of control or influence and concentrate on them. It's easy to get frustrated when you spend time thinking about aspects of your work you can't control.
Workplace Productivity "Don'ts"
1. Don't binge on coffee. It's okay for a quick pick-me-up, but caffeine won't do you any favors in terms of long-term productivity and sustainability. Try sticking to one serving of coffee in the morning to avoid multiple "crash-and-burns" later in the day.
2. Complaining to coworkers (incessantly) is counterproductive. We all have moments when we need to vent. Get it over with quickly and move on. Making habit of complaining about work won't make you feel better about your to-do list — and you're wasting time.
3. Don't panic! Easier said than done, right? But you just can't get anything done when you're in a panic. Practice mindfulness techniques to calm yourself down so you don't work yourself into a frenzy and waste time trying to decompress.
4. Stay away from sugar as a fuel. Similar to caffeine, sugar will give you a quick energy spike ... followed by lethargy. Not ideal for working! Pick a snack with protein or healthy fats for sustained energy release.
5. Skipping breakfast won't save you time. It's not always easy to make sure you get a good breakfast, but we all know that if you skip it, you're starving by 10AM and nearly incoherent by lunchtime. Are you really able to focus on what's on your desk when your stomach demands attention? (No!) Take that extra 15 minutes in the morning to eat a balanced meal — it'll fuel your brain all the way to lunch.
6. Don't spend time on tasks outside your sphere of control or influence. This is a tough one and it's not always your calll, but as much as you can, release items from your task list that you cannot control. For example, there's no sense in concerning yourself with Google's new algorithm update and how you can master your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings when Google rolls out the change. Instead, work on following the current SEO guidelines and create original, pertinent content that will enrich your website as it exists today.