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10 Ways to Boost Your Productivity at the Office

10 Ways to Boost Your Productivity at the Office

You stagger into the office five minutes before your are suppose to start, you have a coffee in your hand. You do like your job, but it is hard to hit the floor peppy and productive every single day. It feels even harder when you find yourself sitting for so long at one time. That is the nature of the job, but how can you change things up a little to create an environment that is more productive and more enjoyable?

Here are ten strategies that can set the tone and keep you motivated to be productive:

1. Plan

Get to your desk about 15 minutes early and write out a daily list of tasks and plan out your day before it begins. This will help to keep you focused and on track throughout the day. Set out your top three most important tasks to do first.

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2. Power hour

Commit! Dedicate the first hour to getting as much done as you can. Avoid your email inbox, favorite blogs, and voicemails, and get right to work. This sets the tone for the day and gives you a great sense of accomplishment that can follow you through to home time.

3. Recess

When we were kids we probably loved recess more than school, but our teacher knew that we needed small breaks to help us learn better. The same is true for working. Allocating specific time periods when it’s okay to become distracted can help make the rest of your day more productive. Just keep them short and then get back to it.

4. Time chunking

By shifting your focus between tedious and repetitive tasks and those that are more engaging, you can keep yourself more happily involved in your work throughout the day. Give each task category a time frame and alternate back and forth between them for best results.

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5. Rock the clock

Rather than working on a project until it’s completed, resolve to work on a project for a set period of time, then change your focus. This will keep you productive and eliminate some of the tedium associated with working on the same project for long periods of time.

6. Organize your email

You can increase sanity by keeping your inbox organized, especially if you get a lot of correspondence on a daily basis. Use folders and filters to keep your email inbox organized and it will be as beneficial as having a tidy desk or cubicle. I personally like to strive for Inbox Zero: daily is great, but definitely by Friday afternoon.

7. Listen to music

Music can help you settle into your work routine. Low-volume music can drown out noises in the office without interrupting other people around you. Choose music that helps you focus without distracting you. It has been shown that while listening to Classical music your IQ actually increases—you might want to give it a try!

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8. Drink up

Hydration is important for a variety of health reasons. Fill up a personal water bottle and keep it with you all day. Keeping a water bottle by your side will prevent you from having to get up over and over to get more water and ensures that you stay hydrated throughout the day. I love to use a 1 liter bottle, and drink one before lunch and one after lunch.

9. Leave your desk for lunch

Having a lunch break away from your desk can disrupt your productivity routine, but it does provide some much-needed relaxation and respite from your work. Enjoy your lunch break and return to your work with renewed energy and focus. Exercising during lunch, even if it is just a quick walk around the park, will also help to keep your energy up.

10. Keep it professional

Respond to personal emails and deal with personal phone calls on your own time. By clearly separating work and home, you can focus yourself better during the day to get more done. If you have important personal tasks that need to be done, use your break or lunch, but walk away from your desk.

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Hit your stride

You can stay productive during work hours if you plan out your day and really think about what you’re doing at work. It doesn’t take much forethought to have a good workday, but the time you put into planning can pay off big time!

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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