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Start a Productive Workday With the Right Websites

Start a Productive Workday With the Right Websites
    Morning Light by chefranden

    Your peak performance period is that space of time during the day where you maximize your focus, productivity and energy for two to three hours.Make the most of this period by prepping your workspace for instant action. Close the door and create a routine that both relaxes and motivates you.

    A step in the right direction is to create a GTD bookmark folder with a short list of essential websites

    Current news website

    Choose one website that you can quickly scan and easily pick out important headlines. Then spend five to ten minutes getting up to date on the world.

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    Constant interaction with co-workers is almost a certainty these days and building a relationship with them can be hard when you have little in common. Consequently, using current events is an easy way to invite people into a conversation and build a rapport.This bond between employees boosts productivity as friendly work environments allow staff to share tasks and information with a positive attitude.

    Another option is to use services like Google reader because they allow you to create specific news feeds tailored to your tastes. However, avoid adding too many feeds and listing too many headlines as they can disrupt your focus.

    Sites like Google News or CNN are better suited for quick productive reading because they condense their headlines into small specific categories on a single page.

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    Corporate intranet sites

    Corporate intranet sites are effective tools in keeping employees informed on internal changes, competitive information and relevant industry news. Use this to your advantage and eliminate the need to compile this information yourself.

    Products, offers, regulations and people are in constant flux. If you ignore this fact and are reactive instead of proactive, you will miss opportunities.

    In particular, sales people face embarrassment when a client is better informed then they are. You need to know how your company stacks up against the competition if you are to remain competitive.

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    Use Google Calendar to find a work life balance

    Google calendar is a great option for synchronizing family schedules into one easily updatable calendar.

    You cannot give your full attention to your personal or work life if they constantly interrupt each other. During a workday, people trade thoughts and update schedules with their family by shooting emails, texts, or phone calls back and forth. This constant communication breaks up your focus and reduces productivity.

    Avoid this situation by creating individual calendars for each family member and synchronize all the calendars together. This way, each family member sees how his or her schedule affects another family member’s agenda.

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    Start your day by comparing your personal calendar and work calendar. You can then decide how to divide your time, energy and attention at work and then home. A good tip is to forward “non-confidential” appointments in real-time from the office to the family calendar. Therefore, this avoids scheduling appointments that can wreak havoc at work and home.

    You should take the time to plan your full day and ask specific questions like:

    • “Can I put in an extra 30 minutes at the end of the day or will I miss an appointment or dinner?”
    • “Should I go all out on this presentation and use up my energy or should I push some tasks to the next day so I have the energy to spend time with the kids?”

    Balancing work and a personal life becomes more manageable with open communication between all the parties affected. You eliminate frustration and anger when everyone works on a level playing field.

    You can maximize your performance by choosing a period in the day when you do your best work in the shortest amount of time and use your sharpened focus to create an effective daily agenda that increases your productivity at work and home.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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]

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    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.

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    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

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