Despite my best efforts to change time, there are only 24 hours in a day. Whether you love your job or want to poke your eyes out, you don’t want to spend your whole life at the office. So it’s time to learn how to make the most of your very limited time.
Follow these 9 productivity tips to work smarter rather than putting in more hours:
1) Take a break from your computer
We have all read the studies that show staring at a computer screen is terrible for our eyes. To prevent your eyes from getting too strained, look away from your screen for 30 seconds every 10-15 minutes. Your co-workers may think you’re staring into oblivion or day dreaming, but your eyes will thank you.
2) Create a power playlist
If your line of work allows you to listen to music, create a power playlist for that time of day when you feel less motivated to complete tasks. If the boss says no to music, here’s scientific evidence to make your case: scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found that the sound of flowing streams is the most effective sound when it comes to improving work productivity because the mountain stream sound possessed enough randomness that it did not become a distraction.
3) Organize your headquarters
In the office, your desk is your headquarters. According to Lisa Zaslow, a professional organizer in New York City, “surveys show the average person loses an hour a day to disorganization.”
Get that hour back and organize your desk for maximum productivity:
On the other hand, maybe you’re like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein. What do these great men have in common? Messy desks. Yes you heard me. Messy. Studies have found
that people with a messy desk were more prone to creativity and risk taking.
4) Batch together similar tasks
Did you know your brain learns and executes complex tasks by lumping together similar items? Leverage this ability by scheduling similar tasks back-to-back. For example, draft and send emails all at once.
5) Keep your blood pumping
A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine concluded that using work time to exercise may actually help improve productivity. Get your blood pumping with Cubii, an under-desk smart elliptical. This may just be what is needed to clear your head and focus.
6) Turn off text and phone notifications
I am the first to admit that I have attachment issues to my phone. But when it comes to the workplace, it can be a huge distraction and tasks take longer to complete because you had to send those few texts. There’s a simple solution: turn text and phone call notifications off or put the talkative people on ‘do not disturb.’ If that seems too extreme for you, turn your phone over so you don’t constantly see your screen.
7) Bye bye multitasking
How many times have you seen a job description where one of the ‘requirements’ is to be good at multitasking? Ya ignore this. Psychologists have found attempting to do several tasks at once can result in lost time and productivity. Instead, commit to a single task before moving on to your next project.
8) Do a daily brain dump
If you’ve worked at a computer for years you are most likely suffering from ‘popcorn’ brain, a brain so accustomed to the constant stimulation of electronic multitasking that we’re unfit for life offline, where things pop at a much slower pace. It might seem old-fashioned but empty your brain by writing all your thoughts, ideas and errands on a piece of paper. The point is do a brain dump where you are just focusing on getting all your thoughts out and connect the dots later.
9) Give yourself something nice to look at
Jazz up your office space with pictures of puppies, plants or anything else that makes you smile. Now when you get out of a mind-numbing meeting, you have happy things to look at.
While these productivity tips may seem obvious, it’s the small changes that can have the biggest impact.