The day begins with you plodding into your office, clutching a tatty briefcase to your rumpled shirt. You gaze blearily upon your cluttered desk, and feel a creeping sense of dread that comes with approaching deadlines and lack of coffee. Taking a deep breath, you start to plow through your work with all the efficiency of a butter knife cutting steak. How did it all go so wrong?
You have lost control over your work – but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few sensible suggestions to increase your productivity, and help revitalize your work performance!
#1 A Fresh Mindset
A fresh mind performs more effectively. When you are viewing your work life with a jaded eye, everything seems tedious. Negativity towards your job causes you to drag your heels and procrastinate.
Don’t view your work as a struggle, take it as a challenge! Tackling your tasks with a positive attitude will go a long way towards improving your work performance, with the added bonus of sustaining a good mood throughout your entire day. While your colleagues are trudging in and out of the office, you can begin and end your day with a bounce in your step.
#2 Manage your Time
Peter Drucker – one of the 20th century’s most highly-regarded experts on business – once said that “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.”
The importance of managing your time cannot be overstated. It is crucial for smooth workflow – and meeting your deadlines. Stop cramming your schedule with too much work. Allocate enough time to handle your projects, and set time limits. Be sure to meet them, or your work will snowball! While you are feverishly trying to complete your current assignment, more paperwork will heap up on your desk. It is a vicious cycle that can carry over to the next day, so be sure to complete your day’s work before leaving the office.
#3 Plan Your Work
Are you just tackling the first document that landed on your desk, or are you skirting around big projects by handling unimportant tasks first? Well, it’s time to stop doing your assignments willy-nilly, and start directing your energy efficiently!
Identify the most important and urgent projects, and create an action plan for dealing with them. Create a series of steps that will help you accomplish your goal with the least amount of time and effort, and stick to it. Set time aside for less important tasks after you have handled any pressing issues. If you get sidetracked on trivial matters, you never will get to the things that really matter. By prioritizing work, you will ensure that more work going into your outbox, rather than your inbox.
#4 Getting Enough Sleep
If you are fatigued, you won’t be able to get any work done. You should be spending more time tackling your projects, and not staring blankly at your computer in a coffee-stained haze. Stop watching late-night Star Trek and get that beauty sleep!
To get sufficient rest, you should understand your body. A typical adult will need 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day. Set a proper sleeping schedule and follow it – there’s no room for excuses. If your body does not get enough sleep, it will exact a toll when you are supposed to be awake. Maintaining a good sleep routine can have a serious impact on your efficiency and productivity.
#5 Take Regular Breaks
Everyone has encountered this situation: working ‘round the clock without taking any breaks in a desperate attempt meet deadlines or just to keep with a never-ending flood of work. It may seem like you are getting a ton of work done, but it will actually have a negative impact on your performance. Sooner or later, you will run out of steam and start churning out subpar work. In the worst case scenario, you will have a mental breakdown from work-induced stress.
It pays to take regular breaks, even if it’s just a 5-minute rest. If you’re feeling drowsy or stressed out, leave your seat. Take a stroll around the office, read a short news article, listen to music – do something that is not work. A short break will refresh your mind and break up the monotony of looking at spreadsheets. It will also help keep you focused on work.
#6 Eat the Right Food
It’s all too common to see office workers grabbing junk food from the convenience store during a rushed lunch break. In a world of fast food and processed snacks, it’s easy to eat too much empty calories with no real nutritional value. In addition to not getting enough energy, food high in fat and sodium can make you feel bloated and lethargic.
Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. If you pound back coffee and energy drinks for caffeine, consider switching to a healthier alternative like green tea. Eat well-balanced meals that have non-starchy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and lean meat. Your body will get the nutrients it needs, and a constant input of glucose to maintain energy levels throughout the day.
#7 Get some Exercise
Picture your typical work day: sitting in a cramped cubicle, hunched over a glaring computer screen, typing away for hours on end. It’s no wonder the typical office worker will end up with health issues. Perhaps you are already feeling the beginnings of a backache as you sit there.
It’s not possible to avoid working, but you can improve the quality of your body and work environment! Start by strengthening your body with regular exercise – it will enhance your cardiovascular health and improve posture. Long periods of sitting can be seriously detrimental to your health. Combat this with a few minutes of stretching every hour or two, and you’re guaranteed to feel better and work better.
#8 Love What You Do
It may seem like the most cliché advice ever, but it is important that you enjoy what you do. The job that you have right now may not be your dream job, but it can still be a great experience if you have an excellent work environment.
There is always a well-meaning soul who will urge you to quit your current job and find work that you are passionate about. In an ideal world, everyone should be able to do that. However, this suggestion is not practical for people who are counting on their jobs to pay for essentials like housing and raising children.
What you can do, is to cultivate a work routine that’s conducive to your style and well-being. Engage with your co-workers and build friendships with them. Brighten up your workspace by placing a few photos or a potted plant. You can even reignite interest in your work by challenging yourself to learn something new about your job every day!
After reading through this article, you may feel inspired to clean up your act. Don’t let it be a brief burst of misplaced enthusiasm – to make this work, put in time and effort. By being resolute, things will change for the better. Become a productive and welcomed member of your workplace; there’s no better motivator than being surrounded by the fruits of your labour!