We all have productive days and then days where we leave at the end of the day and we wonder if we could’ve been a bit more efficient. Sometimes we’re bogged down with meetings or simply being unwell can lower productivity levels. To ensure that your job stays challenging and opportunities are thrown your way you need to be a productive employee – because in the long run, your job may well depend on it. To become more productive at work you needn’t make harsh changes to the way you do your job. These small changes may make a massive difference to your career:
Learning new things is always going to make you more productive in the long-term. Have a look at articles and books for up to date insight into your industry. Even if you choose to read a book on your lunch break or if you read some articles on the internet, you’re training your brain to retain information which is a practice you should never cease doing. Even if it’s a fiction novel, you’ll be distracting your brain from focusing on bigger problems for a short while, which means when you need to revisit these problems you may be in a better position to solve them.
Listen to audio books and music
Listening to music while you work has been proven to make you more productive and less liable to distractions around you. If you’re in a job that allows you to listen to music while you work, you should definitely take advantage of it. Being able to separate yourself from a possibly loud and distracting work environment is a necessity to becoming more productive. If you don’t fancy listening to music, try a podcast or just the radio. Some people also find listening to white noise and ambient sounds beneficial to their work. Or, if you don’t even want to do that, wearing headphones alone and not listening to anything is a good signal to others that you need to be left alone.
Watch your food
Constantly having foods high in sugar, carbohydrates and fat can lead to a slump in the afternoon that makes you less efficient at your job. Not only that, but it can affect your mood as well. Having a high-calorie lunch may shorten your attention span for that big meeting you’ve got coming up, or make you feel so tired you don’t feel like filling out that report any more. If you can, try making lunches at home and bringing them in if you can’t opt for healthier foods where you work. Having breakfast at home before you leave can also stop you from feeling early hunger pangs in the morning (which, if you’re like me, is more likely to make you irritable).
Watch your drink too
Staying hydrated is essential to being productive and efficient at work. It won’t be news to you that keeping yourself hydrated leads to better brain activity. Dehydration does nothing good for your body and will make you feel tired and can also contribute to illness too. Little and often is usually the best way to stay sufficiently hydrated. The difficult thing however is remembering to top up your water intake; and sometimes it’s easier said than done. Luckily there are all sorts of gismos, gadgets and apps on the market to help you keep your water intake in check. Even a bottle like this one can get you started. It is also said that drinking water first thing in the morning after you wake up can be beneficial too.
Delete social media from your phone
If you’re easily distracted by apps like twitter and Facebook on your phone, either put your phone out of sight or remove the apps entirely for the day – especially if there’s work on that needs long periods of focus. Remove push notifications if you can too – if your phone is lighting up every two minutes it’s a perfect distraction tool.
Stretch and move
If you’re based in an office where you’re sat at a desk all day, eventually slouching in front of a computer will make you feel sluggish and uncomfortable. Taking a break from your computer screen and office chair can do wonders for your productivity because you’re breaking up your routine a little bit and giving your brain a chance to reset. Aim for a five-minute break every hour, away from all screens. Fresh air is always a good idea too.
Make a list at the end of the day
Towards the end of your working day, take five minutes to make a list of things you need to do tomorrow or after the weekend. There’s nothing worse than having a cluttered mind when you’re supposed to be relaxing at home. Not to mention a hectic morning the next day whilst you figure out what you need to be getting on with from memory. Making a short list of the main things you need to do will ensure that ‘future you’ can pick it up the next day and that ‘present you’ doesn’t have to worry about it.
Make a start on what you hate the most
We can become unproductive because we’ve looked at our to-do list and there’s something there that we really want to avoid doing. By making a start on it – even if it’s step one of ten – can make the task a lot more manageable in the long run. Just do it! Spend ten minutes on it and move on. Horrible tasks are sometimes best done in a ‘little and often’ manner.
A cluttered space means a cluttered mind (apparently). Taking some time at the end of the week to clear up your work area can make you more productive in the long run. After all, who can work efficiently if they can’t even find their to-do list under that massive pile of documents and files?
Productivity at work can always wane when other things get in the way. You don’t have to make drastic changes to your lifestyle or the job itself to become more efficient and competent. In the long term, these small changes could turn your job around.