Written by Nelofar Sultan
Anyone who works in an office knows the struggle of staying on task, getting work done and being productive. For many of us, our office space is a safe haven where our productivity increases and to-do lists decrease. But sometimes, these safe havens are not so productive. That is why we are sharing ways you can remain on-task and be efficient while at work.
Follow the two-minute rule. If a task, like responding to an email, is supposed to take you less than two minutes, do it right away. This minimizes the items on your to-do list. You can even set up a specific time during your day to reply to all emails. This way, you can give your inbox the undivided attention that it needs. The two-minute rule also helps curb your procrastination as it motivates you to accomplish more after one task is finished.
Take five minutes away from your desk. This method is similar to the Pomodoro Technique. It’s simple and effective because the human brain can only focus on one thing for a certain amount of time. Studies have shown that taking planned breaks increases your creativity and the quality of the work that you do. Consider taking a five minute break every hour as a way to recharge so you can stay more focused and productive throughout the day.
Drink a glass of water when you start to feel sluggish. We have all been there - you work so hard, that by the end of the day, you start to feel drowsy and sluggish. This is when you need to grab a drink of water. Drinking water is another way of oxygenating your brain which can further assist in your productivity and concentration.
Find your productivity/distraction-free zone. Everyone has a productivity zone, a place where as soon as you sit down, you know to get down to business and concentrate. Often times, your desk is considered your productivity zone, but even then, you might find yourself distracted. This could be because you can only focus when you have music on, you might need to temporarily block all social media from your computer or simply close extra tabs you have open. You can get the most out of your work day if you know what environment you are the most productive in.
Focus on one thing at a time. No, working on three things at once does not increase your productivity. It actually slows down your brain and makes you less efficient because it takes a lot of time to shift mental gears from one task to another without losing focus.
De-clutter your desk. A report issued by Office Max reveals that the messier the desk, the more overwhelmed and stressed people tend to get. Having a clean desk is not only important for workplace security, it is crucial for productivity and efficiency. Since people waste over two and a half hours a day trying to find information, a clean desk (or computer background) helps in retrieving information a lot faster without wasting any extra time scrambling to find something that is needed right away.
Take your time when eating your lunch. Everyone loves lunch! For those who are always working or share their workspace with several co-workers, lunch is a nice way to break away from the office and enjoy a moment to yourself. Take the hour to enjoy your lunch and come back to the office re-energized and ready to tackle the rest of your day's to-do list.
Remember to work smarter, not harder. For many of us, our minds are going 24/7. If we don't give our brains a moment to pause and find ways to work smarter, we risk burning out. Follow the steps above for creating a better and more productive work environment for yourself.