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5 Easy Ways To Be More Productive At Work

Written by S.O.

Posted on May 3, 2015 at 1:54 am

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Everybody wants to be more productive. From the chores and projects piling to the overflowing email inbox, almost everyone feels the pressures of a to-do list that never ends, that feeling of simply “not enough hours in the day.”

In the workplace, this is even more common. Not only do we need to stay on top of our workloads to stay employed, but the pressures from management, customers/clients, and the responsibility we feel to our coworkers also make the need for productivity a very real part of every workday.

Over the course of an average day on the job, however, there are almost countless distractions, energy slumps, and other factors that can cause productivity to take a nosedive.

With a little bit of effort, though, it’s possible to minimize distractions and realign how you think about your list of things to get done.

Here are five tips to help you make the most of each and every workday:

1. Move Your Body

When you hit that afternoon wall, when you feel like you just can’t concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes at a time, get up and move!

A little bit of exercise helps get more oxygen flowing through your body, alleviates sluggishness, and primes your brain for concentration. Even working out before you head into your job can have a positive impact on your daily productivity.

Your cells use a chemical called ATP, produced in the mitochondria (sometimes referred to as the cell’s “power plant”) to give your body energy, and studies show that even moderate physical activity can boost ATP production – giving your brain the energy it needs to focus and get things done!

2. Tackle The Tough Stuff First

Angle
Photo by Phil Whitehosue

Even if you aren’t a morning person, you’re likely at your sharpest mentally early in the day – that is, before the stresses, unexpected problems, and the daily grind start to wear down your motivation and productivity. Because of this simple fact, it’s often best to tackle tough projects straight away. Not only will you be more focused from the outset, you’ll also gain momentum for the rest of your day once you’ve got that one doozie of a project taken care of! You’ll feel good about that accomplishment, and it will keep you motivated for more.

If you get right down to business at the beginning of the day, you’ll get more done before distractions take hold.

3. One Thing at a Time

Focus
Photo by Ryan Racca

To put it simply: multitasking doesn’t work. Despite how it might feel, trying to concentrate on more than one task at a time really just means you aren’t devoting enough attention to any of them. You mostly end up stressing yourself out, clogging up your thought processes, and ultimately getting less done.

To maximize productivity, simply stick to one task at a time (as best you can – not all jobs make this easy). You’ll find that concentrating on one thing, getting it done, and moving on to the next is a much more efficient way of getting through your to-do list than half paying attention to several things at once.

4. Streamline and Automate

Some of the biggest productivity killers are those monotonous, mindless, irritating tasks that you have to take care of over and over. They’re boring, they aren’t mentally stimulating, and because of it, people tend to tune out, fall into autopilot, and end up distracted or making mistakes that cause setbacks and decreased productivity.

Depending on your industry, though, there may be technology and systems that can take some of the drudgery out of your day-to-day, and free up some mental space in the process. Services like IFTTT can make routine online tasks happen automatically; developing better processes or changing up workflow can reduce margin for error; eliminating unnecessary steps can make the whole workday go more smoothly; evaluating all of your tasks for priority and difficulty can help you understand the most efficient order for tackling your list.

Look for any and all ways you can reduce time and effort spent per individual task. Streamlining the boring or tedious parts of your job can work wonders for how much you get done each day.

5. Adjust Your Attitude

Twilight Zen at the stone garden
Photo by Peter Thoeny

Last but certainly not least, change the way you think about the whole thing.

Instead of letting a big list of projects stress you out, take a step back and think about managing the stress itself. In fact, you can even change the way you think about stress! Imagine that increase in heart rate and tension in your muscles not as a sign that you can’t handle what you need to do, but as your body preparing for action!

Instead of looking to outside factors that are distracting you, that might be affecting your mood or concentration, or even pointing fingers at coworkers or customers that make your day more difficult, take total responsibility for how you feel and act.

Try to carve out a place of mental confidence that allows you to bypass distraction, let stress roll off your back, and simply focus on what YOU can do at any given moment throughout the day. When you focus on those outside factors, it only serves to further cloud your thoughts and get in the way of your motivation.

If you shift your attitude toward one of confidence and tenacity, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll get done each and every day!

Keep these things in mind when you stroll into your place of employment – no matter where that might be. We could all stand to be more productive on the job (and at home), and these five tips will send you down the right path.

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