The weekend was great—you had a fantastic barbecue and spent time with friends and family. Now it’s time for the work week again and it seems like you have to do all the things. There’s no way you can finish everything in the working day but you don’t want to take work home either. But you won’t have to do that if you follow a few simple steps to increase your daily productivity.
There are ways to optimize your workday so you can be your most prolific and stress-free self, none of them too taxing, nor will they need you to download endless apps to manage your time. Here are five ways to help your daily nine-to-five grind become the most soul-enriching time of your life.
Make a Task List
During the day, people will be coming up to you, asking you to do things, giving you more deadlines, and generally adding to your plate. Instead of getting hassled by the growing list of demands, make a task list that will help you prioritize what needs to be done and when.
Assign tasks according to their urgency and importance and you will find that your list will actually diminish. There will be some tasks that will have imminent deadlines, and if not completed, will hold up other team members or stall a project. Those are the ones you will want to focus on first. Other tasks that will not have a massive impact on your work and team if held off for a bit longer can be tackled the next day or even the next week.
You can create a task list on a notepad or use a mind map maker to organize your priorities and create a process flow. This will help calm your mind and your racing heart every time you are handed a new assignment. With the help of an organized task list, you will find yourself being far more productive during the day.
Get Alone Time
Unless you are working from home, the chances of being alone in an office environment are slim. Whether your company is large or small, there are always going to be people around. And while the buzz of humanity is soothing for the most part, discussions about upcoming dinners, birthdays, and the latest video game can be distracting when you are trying to focus.
Instead of sitting in your crowded office room amongst the hubbub of people, try and find a quiet space, like an unoccupied meeting room, to do your work.
You could also try unplugging from emails and messages, for a short time, so you can finish the task at hand. People spend a great deal of time checking their emails and, even when they have tools such as Grammarly for Chrome, it takes time to reply and coordinate. Instead, to make the most of your office hours, don’t look at your emails for maybe an hour, so you can finish the assignment you are working on, and then take the time to go through your mails and answer them.
By being alone, you are not only away from distractions, but you get to be hyper-focused on your tasks, which will translate to you finishing your work faster and more efficiently, and will allow you to do even more within your eight hours at work.
Take Short Walks
The current workplace system sees employees sitting at their desks for long periods of time, hunched over their laptops as they finish their daily projects. This is not only bad for posture but also for your work ethic.
While most companies are working hard on their employee engagement plans, there is one thing workers should do to improve their own productivity. While it is comfortable to sit in one place and keep working for long hours until all the work is done, this can quickly lead to burnout and tired eyes.
What employees should do is take short breaks from their work and walk around the office or outside. A short break will help to rejuvenate the mind and stretch the muscles so your entire body feels refreshed. You could also try finding a place away from your desk where you can sit quietly and meditate or listen to some music.
The important thing to remember is that you are not a robot—it isn’t possible to work consistently well over an eight or nine-hour period if your posture is bad and your mind is numb. Taking a break will help you revitalize your body so you can accomplish more in a shorter period of time.
Don’t Eat at Your Desk
With deadlines looming and work pressure piling up, many employees and Startup CEOs think it is prudent to skip their lunch break and eat at their desks. Everyone has become excellent at multi-tasking so surely you can eat while you work?
Have you ever felt lethargic or unable to concentrate after having lunch at your desk? Eating lunch at your desk is why you feel that way. Not taking your lunch break has a detrimental effect on your state of mind and makes you less productive. By eating and working at the same time, you can’t savor your food properly, and most importantly, your mind doesn’t get the much-needed break it needs from being stimulated throughout the morning.
The lunch break is designed to keep our minds away from engagement and stress, and to give you the opportunity to catch up with colleagues and talk about something that isn’t work. That is how you can return to work after lunch feeling recharged and able to take on the rest of your task list.
And, while we are talking about lunch, it is best not to skip breakfast, either. Starting your day with a proper meal, even if you have to take it with you on your commute, will help keep your energy levels up during the work day and ensure your productivity.
Don’t be a Yes-Man
No matter the size of the organization, there is usually more work to be done than employees available to do it. Many of us immediately want to say ‘yes’ to every task that comes our way, to show how eager we are as employees, or because we want to take on a new challenge, but that is not the best strategy to undertake.
For one, by taking on a new task, you will have to re-prioritize your already crowded task list. This may lead to you having to stay late at work, or take work home, which is never healthy, unless you can get time off in lieu of the work done. You can find work-around solutions that will benefit you and your company—such as using a plugin for digital gift cards instead of creating them from scratch—but that could still lead to you saying yes to more and more taxing assignments that you will not have time to complete.
As much as we want to do more, there are only 24 hours in a day, and some of those hours need to be used for your personal enrichment, not just work. Find a way to say ‘no’ to managers and colleagues, so you don’t over-extend yourself during your work day and impact your productivity.
Make the Most of Your Day
You are a talented and hard-working individual but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything at all times. Follow these simple steps so that you feel rejuvenated throughout the day and can complete your tasks during your work hours. This will ensure that you can go home on time and spend time on yourself.