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5 Lifehacks to Increase Activity in Your Job

5 Lifehacks to Increase Activity in Your Job

Most of us these days work in offices at desks where we barely get any exercise. As the human body is not designed to be sedentary, sitting too much can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many other ailments. In 2012, a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic conducted a study with 30 employees of a Minneapolis-based eco-friendly cleaning supply company in which their desks were replaced with workstations that allowed them to either sit or stand while working. Mayo Clinic endocrinologist James Levine conducted a similar study in 2007 with a financial staffing firm where the 18 employees who had been more active during their workday lost 150 pounds collectively.

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tired at work

    Moreover, activity not only benefits your health but also your performance. In another recent yearlong study by the Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota, Levine and his colleague Avner Ben-Ner, professor at the Carlson School of Management, found that treadmills boost productivity in the office. They surveyed both workers and supervisors who measured workers’ performance on a 10-point scale. By the end of the year, study participants scored a point higher when the treadmill desk was in their office than when it was not.

    If you’re also inspired by these findings to be more active during your workday, consider the following lifehacks:

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    1. Workstations

    Let’s start with the aforementioned workstations. Standing desks and treadmills can significantly increase your activity if you work long hours at a desk. By standing while you work, you can burn an average of 200 to 400 calories depending on your weight. That number increases if you walk on a treadmill. Moreover, not sitting for eight hours straight will also benefit your back, heart, and metabolism, among other things. 

    2. Move as much as possible

    If you’re cramped in a cubicle for eight hours, it can be difficult to find ways to move. To enhance your movement, try to rearrange your office so not everything is within arm’s reach. If your supplies and equipment are more spread out, you will automatically move more throughout the day. You should also consider taking as many breaks as possible. Take a walk outside around the building or up and down the stairs–just get moving. Instead of emailing or texting your coworkers, walk to their workstations. Incorporate little exercises and workouts in your daily office routine.

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    3. Don’t drive to work

    Unless you have a really long commute, think about ditching your car when you go to work. Choose to walk, bike or use public transportation instead. Just think about how much you exercise you’d accomplish with a 20 or even 50 minute walk or bike ride to your workplace and back. You might not even need your gym membership anymore! If your long commute demands you to drive, you can still increase your activity by parking as far as possible from your workplace and walking from there.

    4. Make your office dog-friendly

    Myriad studies have shown how dogs in the workplace reduce stress levels and enhance productivity. A dog-friendly office can also increase your activity. Dogs naturally need regular exercise, so you’ll need to take them out once or twice a day if they’re your office mates. Just taking them around the block or playing fetch in a new park for a short while can have a significant impact on your health. The CDC recommends 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity physical activity to decrease the risk of developing diseases such as type-2 diabetes–merely two dog walks.

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    5. Choose an outdoor career

    There is a plethora of well-paying jobs and industries out there that don’t require you to sit in an office all day. RSI, for example, points out that there are numerous careers you can chose from that will get you out of the office, from electrician and HVAC mechanic to solar panel installer, to name only a few. If you work in civil engineering, you work on public construction projects like highways, bridges or dams. If you’re employed in the environmental industry, you’ll check sites for environmental hazards, like poor air quality, pollution or wastewater. Other outdoor careers include urban planner, geologist, lifeguard or ski/surf/snowboard instructor.

    So, now you don’t have an excuse for not being active in your job. Incorporating just one of these tips can have a huge effect on your well-being and productivity. As First Lady Michelle Obama says, let’s move!

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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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