Not feeling very productive at work today? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Research suggests that in an eight-hour day, the average worker is only productive for two hours and 53 minutes. That's right — you're probably only productive for around three hours a day.
A good rule of thumb to increase workplace productivity is to work smarter, not harder! This means that incorporating some healthy workday habits can help you feel way more productive (and much happier) than working extra hours or skipping lunch break ever would.
Below are 10 tips that are guaranteed to help you feel more productive at the office – without working harder or longer!
Track where you are spending your time. To know how to be more productive, you first need to know exactly how you’re spending your minutes each day. Track your time over the course of a couple of weeks and make sure you’re spending time on the things that really matter.
Don’t multitask. Multitasking shouldn’t be a skill to brag about if you want to be productive. Studies consistently show that multitasking is more distracting than it is helpful. Although multitasking might make you feel like you are getting more done, you probably aren’t. According to research by the American Psychological Association, shifting between tasks can cost you up to 40% of productive time. Start focusing on one task at a time to get more accomplished.
Take breaks. While it might sound counter-intuitive, taking short breaks throughout the workday will help you accomplish more. Research has found that workers that take regular breaks – about one break an hour – perform better than those that don’t take breaks. This is because taking a break gives your brain the space it needs to return to a task with renewed energy and focus.
Follow a morning routine. How do the most productive people start their day? With a healthy morning routine! Keeping up with a morning ritual will help you accomplish more throughout the day because you will start your day engaging in productive activities. Consider exercising first thing in the morning or meditating before work.
Move more. Sitting all day leads to feelings of fatigue and laziness. Hitting the gym is one of the best ways to fight an afternoon slump and get an instant boost of productivity. Exercising feeds your brain with more oxygen, providing mental clarity and a jolt of energy. If you can’t get to the gym during the workday, try walking laps around your office or deskercising throughout the day.
Turn off your email. Your email is distracting! Many of us spend way too much of our workday simply clearing out or filtering emails. In fact, research found that workers spend an average of 7.4 hours per weekday on email. Turn your email (or just the notifications) off during the workday when you have a heavy workload to deal with and want to feel more productive.
Develop a productive mindset. To be more productive, you need to create a productive mindset. An easy way to do this is by changing the way to talk to yourself. For example, instead of saying to yourself, “Oh, no. I have way too much to do. I’ll never get this all done on time!” Try instead, “I need to complete task X and task Y. What is the best way for me to complete everything on time?”
Eat for productivity. Use food to fuel your body! Try consuming meals and snacks throughout your workday that will provide you with the nutrients and energy you need to feel productive. Some examples of productivity-boosting foods include:
- Brown rice
- Dark chocolate
Go outside. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery! According to Kimberly Elsbach, a professor at the University of California who studies workplace psychology, "…creativity and innovation happen when people change their environment, and especially when they expose themselves to a nature-like environment.” Exchanging the florescent lighting of your office for some natural sunlight will help you feel more productive instantly.
Meditate. Taking time to de-stress and meditate can solve almost anything! Regular meditation can help improve your productivity by teaching your mind to focus fully on the present moment. Even a 10-minute break to meditate at your desk with help reduce stress and help you concentrate better on your work.
The main difference between productive people and unproductive people is that productive people know when to step away from their work and take care of themselves. If you want to increase your productivity at the office, resist the urge to put in more hours or agree to take on more than you can handle. Instead, remember to give yourself time to reenergize and refocus.
Do you struggle to keep yourself productive throughout the workday? Which tips work for you? Share in the comments below!