Let’s face it: You can’t overhaul your personal efficiency overnight.
You can, however, boost work productivity over time by adopting one or more of these weekly 10-minute practices. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, try at least one each day.
1. Declutter your inbox
Dedicate 10 minutes each week to unsubscribing from useless or unwanted emails. They come in all forms: newsletters you never read, redundant notifications from social media sites (do you really need to know if someone new is following you?), daily-deal emails and marketing emails from online stores you’ve patronized in the past.
Eventually, you’ll have pared your inbox down to a more manageable size, giving you more time to attend to relevant emails.
One of the best ways to boost your productivity at work is by recharging through meditation. While meditation is best when you have ample time to relax, you can still reap its benefits by sneaking away for 10 minutes during your workday. Find a quiet spot where you can close your eyes, breathe deeply and clear your head: a quiet stairwell, an empty conference room or even a nearby park will do just fine.
3. Weekly wrap-up
End your workweek with a quick self-audit. Set yourself up for success on Monday by jotting down a list of projects and to-dos to tackle when you head back into the office. Take a moment to also note some of the successes and shortcomings you encountered, and learn from them week over week. What worked? What didn’t work? To amp this up further, end each workday with this practice.
4. Take a walk
Once a week, take 10 minutes out of your lunch break and use it to exercise. Walk around the block, or take the stairs to your office instead of the elevator. If you opt for take-out, select a spot that’s 5 minutes farther away, or take the long way to your usual restaurant. Like meditation, exercise resets your brain for creativity, ultimately boosting your work productivity.
5. Race the clock
Set a timer for 10 minutes and do as much work as you can on a big, imposing project you’ve been putting off. Alternatively, knock out several smaller tasks. Force yourself to avoid distractions during this 10-minute burst to really pump up the intensity. These short yet intense work periods can help you build the momentum you need to take control of your to-do list.
6. Do nothing
Follow up an intense 50-minute work period with 10 minutes of unrestricted time. Take a walk around the office, catch up on your favorite blogs, play on Twitter or just do some quick stretches at your desk.
7. Clean your workspace
A clean, organized and clutter-free work area minimizes distractions that can hamper productivity. Take a few minutes at the end of each week to eliminate the unnecessary and give yourself a clean slate on Monday.
8. Plan a project
Before you begin a new project, spend 10 minutes creating a mind map or outline to focus your efforts. This process will let your unconscious mind marinate on your next steps and keep you on task while you’re working on said project.
9. Compile boilerplate text
We all work with content that can be made into boilerplate text, whether it’s HTML code, canned email responses, blog post templates or custom signatures. Use a tool like TextExpander or Texter to create shortcuts for these blocks of text. Bonus: TextExpander also automatically corrects common typos as you write.
10. Reward positive behavior
Top up your emotional tank by recognizing and rewarding the good things you do at work. Perhaps you helped a coworker diagnose and solve a problem, or a blog post you wrote got more comments than usual. Don’t rely on your boss noticing this and complimenting you; instead, remember each “win” as self-motivation for later.
Put together, all of these practices will drastically improve your productivity if you dedicate a few minutes out of your day or week to follow them.
(Photo credit: Ticking Clock via Morguefile)