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10 smart ways to rise above your boring work pattern

10 smart ways to rise above your boring work pattern

Do you ever feel like your life is dominated by work? It’s boring, you do the same thing everyday, and if it keeps up like this you’re going to quit. This feeling is kryptonite for companies. Appnovation, a company that is growing rapidly, puts it like this: “The ‘revolving door’ syndrome of people in and people out sends shivers down our collective corporate spine. It’s an ‘avoid at all costs’ situation, which erodes the quality of the company.” If the company you work for is worth it, and you have a chance of going somewhere with them, try these ten hacks to help you rise above a boring routine. You’ll be more happy, less depressed, and more ready to make the big changes that will take your life to new and better places.

1. Start the day with exercise

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    Regular exercise is good for your brain. It improves your memory and overall thinking skills by increasing the size of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the region of the brain responsible for verbal memory and learning. Particularly, aerobic exercise does the trick, the kind of exercise that really gets your heart pumping and blood flowing. You’ll find yourself remembering little details at work, especially the conversational details. Improved social skills will improve your overall work performance, too.

    2. Take a different route to and from work

    new-modern-car-dashboard-with-speedometer-and-tachometer-picjumbo-com

      Your brain’s positioning system, your internal GPS, does more than help you find your way around. It also plays a role in memory, providing the abstract, higher-intellect input that helps shape the hippocampus. Taking a different route to work is just one quick way to exercise your brain’s memory-building skill. Try a route you’ve never taken before, one that forces you to find your way through a different part of town. Try it on the way home, too. As you build new landmarks in your brain, your memory and problem-solving skills will improve.

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      3. Hack your desk

      desk

        Yes it would be nice to take an ax to your desk and hack it into firewood. Talk about a way to release anger! But since you can’t exactly do that, there are some things you can do to optimize the use you get out of your desk. Try these simple, awesome desk hacks:

        • Add storage–Create a new desk out of bookshelves and a door, then store essentials on the shelves
        • L-evate–Add a table or other desk to what you’ve got and create an L-shaped station for more workspace
        • Stand it–Studies show excessive sitting is the new smoking; place your monitor on top of a sturdy stack of books or a low stool for a DIY standing desk
        • Personalize–Get creative with knick-knacks and little touches that showcase your personality
        • Get ergonomic–Check out this workspace planning tool to help make your desk more ergonomically friendly

        Nothing is too small when it comes to productive changes. Changing how your desk is set up may just be the difference between good work and awesome work.

        4. Adjust your station’s lighting and colors

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          There is definitely something to be said for the way light and color affect your psyche. Among the many effects light has on you, blue light makes you more alert and productive. Green light, on the other hand, makes you more relaxed, even sleepy. The color blue is also associated with logic, rationality, and alertness. That’s because midday sun with a clear sky lets the most blue through. Evolutionarily speaking, we’re used to getting things done while the sun is high. See what adding a little blue can do for you.

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          5. Talk to someone you’ve never talked to

          talkpeeps

            Of course, this one depends on where you work and how introverted you are. But even if your place of work is small and you’ve talked to everyone, there will still be a point during your workday when you’ll have the chance to talk to someone different. Seize it. Here’s why: being uncertain about your social ranking is bad for your health. It’s not that having a low social ranking is bad. It’s uncertainty that’s unhealthy. Even if you get rejected in your attempt to make conversation, at least you tried, and at least you’re certain of where you stand. The more you try, the more your social horizons will expand.

            6. Eat something different

            salad-healthy-diet-spinach

              Dr. Taylor Krick has a very interesting podcast on how variation in diet is the key to long-term health. If you’re eating the same thing at work everyday, you won’t be healthy in the long-term, especially if you’re eating processed foods. Make a point of going out of your way for variety. Yes this is more expensive. But what better thing to motivate you to make more money than a little extra kick in your diet and a healthier life to boot?

              7. Try a pleasant scent

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                Your olfactory sense–your sense of smell–is connected to emotions and memory. This sense has direct access to the amygdala section of the brain, which processes emotions, and the hippocampus, that good ol’ memory center. Trying a pleasant scent out at work, in the form of a candle, balm, plant, or other agent, basically means creating a new, pleasant work-related memory. Just make sure the scent isn’t one your coworkers hate!

                8. Learn a new word

                word

                  To learn new vocabulary words, you have to use parts of the brain responsible for movement and hearing. So, if you make an effort to learn a new word, that means you exercised these parts of the brain. You wouldn’t normally exercise these parts by just staring at a computer screen. Involve a coworker. Look up a new word and then use it in conversation with them while you’re going to lunch or taking a walk on your break. You’ll be smarter when you get back.

                  9. Take a walk

                  walk

                    Here again, walking is a great way to promote brain health–especially walking in nature. When researchers studied people who walked for 40 minutes, three times a week, the results were similar to aerobic exercise. It’s tough to get out and run while you’re at work. But if you can get out and walk, your hippocampus will be healthier, and your circulation will thank you too.

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                    10. Learn an instrument when you get home

                    guitar

                      This one is huge. Instead of watching TV or surfing the internet after work, pick up a musical instrument. Musical training helps your memory, spatial reasoning, and language skills. It’s better than brain-training apps, and there’s practical use for it, too. Once you know an instrument there’s a whole new social nexus of musicians waiting for you. There’s also a whole new understanding of music when you listen. You can’t think about work when you’re busy plucking an instrument. You’ll return to work refreshed after a night of playing music.

                      Featured photo credit: Froken Fokus via pexels.com

                      More by this author

                      Dan Matthews, CPRP

                      A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

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                      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                      How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

                      How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

                      We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

                      So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

                      While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

                      Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

                      What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

                      How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

                      But what does being productive actually entail?

                      Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

                      Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

                      It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

                      Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

                      9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

                      1. Avoid Multitasking

                      Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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                      Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

                      If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

                      2. Turn off Notifications

                      According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

                      Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

                      The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

                      Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

                      3. Manage Interruptions

                      There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

                      Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

                      If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

                      By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

                      4. Eat the Frog

                      Mark Twain once famously said that:

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                      “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

                      What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

                      We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

                      Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

                      5. Cut Down on Meetings

                      Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

                      You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

                      The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

                      But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

                      If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

                      6. Utilize Tools

                      Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

                      If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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                      And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

                      Some examples of tools that could be used:

                      Communication
                      • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
                      • Samepage for video conference software.
                      • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
                      Task Management
                      • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
                      • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
                      • Wekan for an open source option.
                      Database Management
                      Time Tracking
                      • Clockify for a free tracker.
                      • TMetric for workspace integrations.
                      • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

                      You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

                      7. Declutter and Organize

                      Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

                      Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

                      Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

                      Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

                      8. Take Breaks

                      Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

                      As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

                      Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

                      Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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                      9. Drink Water

                      Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

                      Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

                      Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

                      A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

                      If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

                      You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

                      The Bottom Line

                      The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

                      After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

                      In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

                      A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

                      Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

                      More About Boosting Productivity

                      Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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