Productivity in the Workplace: Tips from the Pros

The average person gets interrupted once every eleven minutes throughout the workday.  When these interruptions occur, it can take up to 15 minutes to re-engage with our tasks. While it’s nearly impossible to manage every interruption throughout the day, we can all benefit from productivity in the workplace to ensure we stay on track towards our goals. So, what do the most productive people do differently, and how can you apply these secrets in your own life?

Tips for Increased Productivity in the Workplace

To help you get more out of your day, here are a few workplace productivity tips to help you get more done.

Consistency Is Key

road biking near a mountainWhether it is saying affirmations when you wake up, reading a book with your morning coffee, or running a mile before breakfast; creating a healthy ritual you do every day reduces stress and promotes feelings of well-being and confidence.

Everyone has patterns or habits that they do every day. The difference between most people and the most productive people are the types of habits they choose.  Successful routines are those that inspire you every single day, not just on workdays.

Making “The List”

Ah yes, the ever-present ‘To do’ list. There are so many different methods for creating daily lists to keep you focused, but which actually increase productivity in the workplace?

Pro tip: Long ‘To Do’ Lists Don’t Work.

Writing down everything you have to do for the next decade is called a 10-year plan, not a to-do list. Face it—you never accomplish everything on that list anyways.

woman-with-phone-making-list-for-increased-productivity-in-the-workplaceWhen creating your list, first identify your current big picture goal. The completion of a campaign, meeting an important deadline, closing on a large deal—whatever that goal is, write it at the top of your list in bold letters. Below this, list the 5 attainable tasks to do today which will carry you towards this end goal.  Now, do them. 

As Walt Disney said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

Don’t spend much time on your list. Keep it focused on things you can do today which lead to your end goal. In structuring your list like this, you create driving tension—a constant reminder that everything you do today leads you to your big payoff. This will keep you focused and working productively.

Scheduling Distractions

It was Thomas Edison who first said, “Being busy does not always mean real work.” Though he was not talking about the emails and push notifications of our time, it still rings true. Busy work and distractions can make you feel productive, but they are actually just sapping energy from your current projects.

This is why it is important to schedule distraction time for yourself. Counter-intuitive as it sounds, when you try to force yourself away from your phone, email, and social media sites all day, the draw only becomes greater.

Plan 30 minutes each day to be distracted. During these thirty minutes, do not work. Instead, take out your phone, send text messages, check your social media feed a hundred times, send emails, watch cute puppy videos, and generally disengage yourself. A great time to do this is after eating lunch as your body focuses on digestion.

pieces of chocolate on a white plateCreating Productive Eating Habits

Speaking of lunch, what you eat also drastically affects your productivity in the workplace. Do you experience that “after-lunch lag” as your body is trying to digest what you ate, but your brain is trying to focus on work? This division of energy results in both poor digestion and poor productivity.

The brain only averages about two percent of your body mass, yet it uses 20 percent of your daily calories. As such, proper brain fuel means a more productive workday.

Take 5 minutes out of your evening to pack a brain boosting meal for the next day, making sure to include brain-boosting foods such as:

  • Walnuts
  • Salmon
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Dark Chocolate

Taking Active Breaks

You hear it all the time, regular breaks are essential to productivity in the workplace. While this is true, it is just as important that they are the right kind of breaks.

Sitting all day, your blood circulation slows to a crawl. Your posture when sitting also makes your breathing shallow. This reduces oxygen in the bloodstream, which your brain needs to function properly.

Get up from your desk; walk down the hall and back, do some simple stretches standing at your desk, or do a few pushups in your office. Anyway you do it, taking a lightly physical five-minute break every hour gives your brain and body some respite from the daily rush; refreshing your supply of oxygen and giving your muscles a much-needed stretch.

man with head in handsPrioritizing Your Sleep

This is the five minute productivity hack that takes 8 hours. Cell phone use in bed is not good (don’t worry, we all do it). Blue light disrupts sleep patterns, and the extra mental stimulation of social media outlets does your brain little good as it is trying to wind down for the night. The result is a sleep-deprived version of you which requires an extra cup of coffee in the morning to even start the day.

Choose instead to set your alarm and leave the phone out of arms reach and on airplane mode—further limiting your stimulation through the night.

The Choice Is Yours

At the end of the day, productivity is a choice. However you choose to implement these productivity secrets, the important thing is that you do implement them.

In the words of Paul J. Meyer- “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”

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