It can strike at almost any point in the week, and its effects are devastating. The catalyst varies from person to person, but it is a pandemic in workplaces around the world. It costs businesses time, money, and intellectual resources exponentially each year. And here’s the scary part: if you’re reading this article, you may be suffering from its disastrous effects right now, as your eyes scan these words.
What are we talking about? A lack of productivity.
It is almost impossible to produce excellent results at maximum efficiency five days per week, eight hours or more per day. Monday mornings are a struggle for many, and Friday afternoons are a recipe for daydreaming – not to mention Hump Day. However, there are ways to combat lackluster get-up-and-go and keep your productivity dial pointed at 100%. Use the following exercises to stay on top of your game, no matter the day, hour, or number of cups of coffee.
1. Take a break
We aren’t suggesting procrastination or laziness right off the bat, but there is some compelling research around how taking breaks during the workday can make workers more productive. A survey by DeskTime revealed that on average, the top 10% most productive people take a 17 minute break for every 52 minutes of work. That may seem like a long break to be taking at least once an hour, but breaks are necessary while working to maintain efficiency. The important part is to strike a balance between working hours and break time.
2. Start with the tough stuff
There are certain items on your to-do list that you look forward to, that perhaps even induce excitement as you approach them. They are the fun part of your job, and they offer a bit of respite amidst the rest of your workday. Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum, the dreaded other items – the ones you avoid like the plague, put off until the last minute, and only begrudgingly accomplish when forced to do so. It will seem counterintuitive, but completing one of these not-so-fun items first thing will make the rest of the day seem easier and go faster. Plus, you can then reward yourself with a less intensive or more fun task immediately after.
For more to-do list tips, take a look at this list by Greatist.
3. Write your schedule down
This is one of our top tips for getting a lot done in an organized, prioritized manner. It will change the way you work. Here it is: at the beginning of the day, write down a detailed, minute-by-minute schedule. It’s not enough to roughly plan one in your head – it becomes too easy to fudge the start and end times. For whatever reason, when your schedule gets penned on paper it becomes more difficult to change it. And there’s nothing better than the feeling you get as you cross items off as you go along.
4. Don’t respond to emails immediately
Gmail was revolutionary when it was released: you never had to delete your emails anymore. However, one of the unfortunate things that seems to have been borne from the Gmail advent is an almost unending stream of email into inboxes, not to mention the fact that some of those messages are actually important and worth reading. That’s why when you set aside a specific time to read and reply to your emails, you end up being more productive with the rest of your time. You’re able to devote longer periods of time to the rest of your work and minimize distractions. And that email alert extension you’ve installed into your web browser? Disable that now. Despite appearances, it’s a productivity killer.
Use these four tried-and-true tips for ultimate workplace productivity!