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When you’re working in a busy office, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind and forget about taking care of yourself. Taking time to look after your mental and physical wellbeing is essential for your productivity and general happiness. Workplace stress is on the rise – in fact, the American Psychological Association reports that almost a third of workers say they experience stress at work on a daily basis. And while there are many things that we can’t control as employees, there are plenty of things we can do to create a less stressful work life. Working efficiently doesn’t have to feel like an uphill battle; with a few small changes, you can make your workday easier and more productive. In this blog post, we’ll take you through 10 simple ways to make your work day easier, focused, and productive...
Start your day with a clear to-do list
If you want to start your day feeling like you’ve accomplished something, you need a to-do list. Not only will this make you more likely to get everything done that you need to, but it can also help you avoid feeling overwhelmed. Why does to-do lists work? Well, you’re more likely to get done what you write down. Research has even shown that writing down a task is just as effective as actually doing it – you just need to write it down. So, when you write down what you need to do, you’re more likely to remember it. To-do lists also make it easier to break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. When you have your to-do list written down in front of you, you’re less likely to get distracted and have a mental block when you try to start working.
Don’t eat at your desk
If you work in an office, there’s a good chance you eat at your desk. And while we’re not saying you should never eat at your desk, if you do, you want to be mindful of what you choose to eat. Eating a quick lunch of processed foods or sugary snacks will leave you feeling sluggish and tired – exactly what you don’t want when you’re trying to be productive. For a better work day, eat a meal that’s full of protein and fibre. Research shows that eating a diet rich in these nutrients will help boost your energy levels. Essentially, eating at your desk doesn’t make you more productive – you’re just likely to feel sluggish and tired as the day progresses.
Set times during the day to answer emails
How many times have you heard that you should never check your emails first thing in the morning? Probably a lot. And while there are certainly benefits to waiting to check your emails until later in the day, there are also times when it’s beneficial to get them out of the way as soon as you log on to your computer. When you need to check and respond to a lot of emails, it’s best to set aside a specific time when you’ll be able to get through them without being interrupted. This way, you’re more likely to stay focused on what you need to get done – and not let your inbox take over your day.
Take short breaks every couple of hours
We know, we know – breaks aren’t productive. But, short breaks (say, 10 to 15 minutes) can actually help you get more done. When you work for long periods of time without taking a break, you’re more likely to experience mental fatigue, which can lead to poor decision-making. Taking a quick break will help you re-energise, so you can return to your work feeling more focused. And when you’re taking your break, make sure you’re not spending time on your phone or computer. Social media, news websites, and particularly email, are all distractions that will leave you feeling unproductive when you return to your work. What should you do during your break? Anything that will help you relax, de-stress, and leave work behind until you’re ready to come back.
Regular exercise has been proven to help boost your creativity and focus, and make you feel happier and more positive overall. Many employees report that working out regularly makes them less stressed, more productive, and more focused at work. Exercising regularly doesn’t have to mean spending hours in the gym or on a treadmill. You can sign up for a quick HIIT class after work, go for a walk, or even play a sport with a friend.
Doodle while you wait for things to process
If you find yourself waiting for a file to transfer, or a report to finish compiling, instead of checking your phone or computer, try doodling. While doodling, you’re focusing on your hand movement, which helps relieve stress and boost your focus. Plus, it’s a great way to be more mindful and present in the moment. When you’re doodling, you’re less likely to get distracted – and more likely to finish what you need to do quickly.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
Working regular hours is one of the best ways to ensure you stay productive throughout the day. And while you should avoid sleeping and waking up too early (that’s never healthy), you should aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. By doing this, you’re allowing your body to work out its natural rhythms and find a consistent rhythm. Having a regular sleep schedule can also help reduce stress. When you go to bed at the same time each night, you’re more likely to get a consistent amount of sleep, which can help reduce the amount of stress hormones in your body.
Turn off notifications
Wait, didn’t we just tell you to doodle when you’re waiting for things to process? You can do both – just turn off your notifications. When you’re waiting for something to finish processing, it’s best not to be distracted by your phone or computer. Not only will this help you focus, but it will also help you get your work done more quickly. Notifications are meant to grab your attention – but when you’re working, you don’t need that distraction. By turning off your notifications, you can avoid being distracted by things you don’t need to know about.
Create boundaries with meetings
Meetings can be essential for team collaboration and creativity, but when meetings are unproductive and drawn out, they can actually be more harmful than helpful. In order to create effective meetings, you need to make sure everyone is on the same page – so, you need to have boundaries. This means setting a time limit for your meeting and making sure everyone understands their role and responsibility when attending a meeting. By setting boundaries, you’re more likely to have a productive meeting, which will also leave you with more time to get your work done.
There are so many ways to make your work day easier, focused, and productive. From eating the right things at the right times to setting boundaries with meetings, you can make sure you have the best work day possible. With these tips in mind, you'll be more productive and focused at work - and you'll feel less stressed, too. So, don't wait: start making these changes to your workday today!