Advertising
Advertising

3 Productivity Hacks to Supercharge Your Workday

3 Productivity Hacks to Supercharge Your Workday

Find yourself falling short of your true productivity potential each workday? Do you start the day with a big coffee and a long checklist of things to do, only to find that most of these still don’t get done at the end of the day despite the fact that you stayed at your desk and didn’t move? You’re not alone and it isn’t your fault.

From my point of view, it’s all about blocking out the overabundance of distractions that get in the way. We have more distractions today than ever before.

Think about the world as it existed 20 years ago. The only ways to procrastinate while online were Solitaire and Minesweeper. Now, we’re faced with Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, news websites, push notifications, tons of phone games, Google Hangouts, Slack, text messages, RSS readers with a constant flow of new content, and so much more.

Advertising

How can we block this all out without feeling like we’re missing out on the rest of the world? Thankfully, it isn’t as hard as it might seem. It’s all about committing to a few great habits that’ll bring your workday to the next level. The three tactics I’m about to share will help to block out the noise in a truly meaningful way. And I promise you it won’t feel like you’re living in the Stone Age.

Here are 3 productivity hacks that can truly help you get more done in your workday.

1. 15 minutes of immediate work right after you get to work — no distractions

This is something I’ve been doing for the last few years and I can’t say enough about what a difference it makes.

Advertising

When you get to work, you probably check emails, the news, your Slack channels, or all of the notifications on your phone. Don’t do this! Instead, commit to spending 15 minutes working on any task for the day. Bonus points if you choose your most difficult task — the one you’ve been putting off.

This will start your day on a productive note and has an amazing impact on your mindset for the rest of the day. And chances are you’ll end up working on that task for longer than 15 minutes.

2. The Pomodoro Technique

This one is tried and true and I’m sure you’ve read about it before, but I can’t emphasize it enough.

Advertising

If you don’t do the Pomodoro Technique or any other similar tactic, you’re selling your workday short. It’s brilliantly simple in that once that timer starts, you’re committing yourself to 25 minutes of productivity and nothing else. Then, you get your 5-minute break.

Those 25 minutes of pure focus can go such a long way, especially when you do a few consecutive rounds of these. There are a ton of timers online and here’s one that I typically use.

3. Use the OneTab browser extension

Just the sheer presence of tabs in your browser can act as a distraction. Seeing those icons does nothing but make your mind wander and it draws you back to those news articles, your RSS reader, and your social media accounts.

Advertising

There’s a time and place for all of that stuff and OneTab can save those tabs so that they’re easily accessible when that time comes. They have no business capturing your attention while you’re working.

Sure, these tips have been mentioned in other forms online, but all three of them tie themselves back to a common theme — when we’re focused on one task, we’re far more productive than we are while multitasking.

This combination of these distraction-free tactics will work wonders for your workday. I dare you to try these things and tell me you weren’t more productive than usual!

More by this author

Jesse Boskoff

Co-Founder and COO at Status Labs

How to Form Good Habits That Stick 7 Exercises You Can Do Without a Gym 10 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes 8 Healthy Dessert Alternatives 7 Effective Tips for Better Sleep

Trending in Productivity

1 Your Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better & Waking Up Productive 2 74 Healthy Habits That Will Drastically Improve Every Aspect of Your Life 3 How to Increase Willpower and Be Mentally Tough 4 9 Daily Habits That Will Change Your Life 5 How to Influence People and Make Them Feel Good

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

Advertising

1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

Advertising

There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

Advertising

So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

Advertising

And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next