It’s easier than ever to get distracted at work and lose focus. There are coworker conversations and social media and food in the break room – whatever your particular office diversions may be. But it is possible to buckle down and do the work; you might just need some reminders of how to make this happen. Here are some handy work productivity tips to follow for really blowing through your to-do list and impressing your manager:
1. Set a timer. This practice can be especially helpful if you have tasks you’re dreading or that feel too big. Tell yourself you only have to do it for one hour (or as little as 15 minutes if it’s that bad!). Plan a small reward for yourself when the timer goes off.
2. Take regular breaks. Working through lunch can be necessary sometimes, but if you never take a break, it's likely that your work will actually slow down and even lose quality as you get burned out. Even if it's just a few minutes, look away from your screen and think about something besides the task at hand.
3. Move your body. Sitting at a desk every day can be hard on your health. If your employer provides the option of a standing desk, you might want to consider taking advantage of that some of the time. At the very least, get up every couple of hours and make a loop of your floor or stroll around the building on a nice day. You’ll come back to your desk refreshed and ready to resume your work.
4. Dress appropriately and comfortably. There can be pressure in some offices to dress to impress – but don't do so at the expense of your health. If you must wear heels or dress shoes, choose an insole for extra support, and don't wear clothing that's too tight so that you cut off circulation. This will allow you to focus more on your job and less on avoiding the discomfort of ill-fitting attire.
5. Leave work at work as much as possible. If you constantly have to be on call checking email in the evenings, working on vacation or even just worrying about clients or tasks during the off hours, your mind won’t get a chance to rest and reset. When you leave the office, do so mentally as well as physically.
6. Explore your music options to block out distractions. Some people are able to work effectively while listening to their favorite artists and genres, but others can’t. If songs with lyrics divert your attention, try classical or piano music, or even a tool like Focus at Will to help you stay on task.
7. Give your phone to a friend. Ask a trusted colleague to keep your cell phone in their desk and refuse to give it to you except in case of emergency. Agree on set times throughout the day when you can check in on social media – otherwise if your phone is not within reach you’ll learn to lessen your dependence on it.
8. Stop procrastinating. Do the hard parts first thing and get them out of the way. If there’s a task you really don’t want to face, face it! Put your head down and get through it; after that, there’s nowhere for the day to go but up, and you’ll be invigorated by eliminating the dread.
9. Make your workspace feel welcoming. Many work productivity tips recommend cleaning and organizing your space – and that is great advice if an organized desk makes you comfortable. But some people thrive in a messier environment, and that’s okay too. Just pay attention to what works best for you (and don’t let your mess affect others).
10. Change your lighting situation. Notice how your productivity changes based on different lighting. Do you work best in bright lighting or with a softer illumination? This can be an easy fix by adding a desk lamp or requesting a move to a less bright workstation.
Making just a few small adjustments in your routine can make a big difference in both increasing your work productivity as well as to help you with staying healthy at work. Give a few of these suggestions a try and let us know what works best for you!