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When You Follow These 9 Simple Tricks, You Will Stay Organized And Productive Every Day

When You Follow These 9 Simple Tricks, You Will Stay Organized And Productive Every Day

Everyone wants to have a productive and organized day, but they don’t have the productivity tips to pull it off. Here are the productivity tips that, if followed, guarantee you  an extremely well-organized, super efficient workday.

1. Have A Relaxing Start To Your Day

Whether you commute or work at home, give yourself a chance to get zen after you wake up. That means not checking emails right when you wake up, and just in general avoiding work talk and and work thoughts for at least half an hour. Take the time to read something that makes you think but isn’t too challenging, either; the paper or your favorite online media outlet are great options. Eat a healthy and hearty breakfast that makes you glad that you woke up after only a certain number of hours of sleep, and pour yourself your favorite form of caffeine to jump-start your day.

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2. Look Over Your To-Do List

One of the best productivity tips I can give you is to have a to-do list, ideally one that was at least partly prepared the day before. Ask yourself what the most important thing is that you have get done today. You don’t have to do that thing first, but you shouldn’t save it for the end of the day, either. Also see what you can add to your list based on any new information you have about what you’ll be doing today.

3. Make Goals/Make A Checklist

Finalize your list. Know what you’re going to do today, and preferably when you’re going to do it. You’ll feel obligated to your timetable and, best of all, you lower the chance dramatically of missing an important task.

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4. Get Started

Now is the hard part, and if you approach it the right way it’s really not that hard. My favorite approach is, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities, to just work on your first task for ten minutes. Anyone can do ten minutes, and that’s all it takes to get the wheels spinning. Once you into the groove you won’t want to get out of the groove.

5. Take Breaks!

A list of productivity tips isn’t complete if it doesn’t recognize the need for downtime. Don’t risk overexerting yourself; that would lose you more time than you’d gain by working straight through the day. When you’re starting to feel weary, give yourself a few minutes to find your center again. Whether it be reading your Twitter feed or stepping away from the desk, do something that helps you recharge your batteries.

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6. Don’t Give In To The Mid Day Slump

There’s a time in the workday, usually around the middle, that your productivity seems to slow to almost a standstill. Push past it. Marathon runners have a “wall” they have to overcome, and then the rest of the run is relatively smooth sailing. The same is true about work. Break down your wall.

7. Don’t Let The Missteps Slow You Down

Just because you trip doesn’t mean you have to fall over. There will be things that take longer than you thought or don’t go as planned; what you need to do is roll with the punches. Getting over a mistake faster is one of the best productivity tips you can work on improving.

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8. Keep A Record Of Your Accomplishments

Even the tiny ones. Not only should you check items off of your to-do list; you should add unexpected things you get done during the day to it to check off, too. By doing that you can fairly analyze how productive you were that day, and either take pride in it or learn what to do differently next time.

9. Have A Productivity Sprint

Even if you jog most of the way, you always want to race to the finish line. When you’re on your last hour or so of the workday, put pen to pad or fingers to keyboard and make the most out of that hour that you can. If you’re lacking motivation, just remember what’s waiting for you once you run through that checkered tape.

Featured photo credit: Thomas R. Stegelmann via flickr.com

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Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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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

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