We’ve all been there: it’s 5 PM, the office is starting to clear out, and you’re sitting at your desk looking at your To-Do list for the day thinking, “Where did the time go?” and “Why didn’t I get anything accomplished today?” and “Did I really just spend an hour discussing why Pluto should be a planet again?”
Trust me – I get it. Sometimes managing your time at the office and being productive can be difficult between the constant barrage of emails, phone calls, last minute meetings, and discussing last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones.”
While I may not be a *productivity expert* and unofficially majored in Procrastination in college I have discovered some helpful tips and tricks that I find help me focus on my work when I’m in the office.
We’ve all looked at a to-do list and thought “I can definitely knock out this email while I take this important call and eat my lunch at the same time.” Then the next thing you know, you’ve sent the email without the attachment, spilled ketchup on your shirt, and didn’t even realize someone asked you a question. Unfortunately, multitasking simply isn’t possible. Did you know, multitasking can lower your IQ over time and limits your capability to complete a task? So quit trying to be an octopus and do 8 things at a time. Focus on one task at a time and do it well instead of doing 8 things poorly.
Channel your Inner Richard Simmons and “Move your Body!”
You know those people that you see up and running 5 miles at 7 AM? Well, that’s not me. However, exercise is not only good for your physical health, it’s good for your mental health as well. Exercise can reduce stress hormones and may even help improve memory. Whether you choose to go for a morning run, hit the gym after work for spin class, or walk the dogs on your lunch break, regular and consistent exercise is the key.
Personally, there’s a great trail by my office that I walk on regularly with a couple of co-workers on our lunch break. Getting others in on the exercise fun is a great way to hold each other accountable, get to know your co-workers outside of the office, and take a break from physical office for a little bit each day. Just be sure to bring some comfy walking shoes and deodorant, because we all know this Georgia heat isn’t going anywhere for a while.
Daily Morning Meetings with your Team
Take 10-15 minutes at the same time each morning to get the team together and go over each person’s focus for the day. This not only helps you take some time to think about what to work on for the day, but also helps let your team members know where your focus is as well. This way everyone is on the same page, efforts aren’t being duplicated, and everyone can see where assistance might be needed. If you find that you can’t dedicate the time to daily meetings, try weekly meetings instead – the earlier in the week the better.
At ARG, the recruiting team has a stand-up meeting every morning where we recap what we did the day before and highlight our goals for the day. We toss around the “orb of discussion” AKA a little rubber basketball to make the meeting a little more fun. But since I lack even the most basic hand-eye coordination skills, I just stick to handing the ball to the next person instead of throwing it.
Want a more productive career?
Listen to the Mellow Sounds of Kenny G.
Ok, so maybe it doesn’t have to be Kenny G, but some studies show a little bit of music in the background can help you focus more by shutting out the daily distractions of the office. If you’re really looking to supercharge your productivity, try listening to music without lyrics as those can be a distraction.
Personally, I love listening to instrumental songs when I feel the need to focus. Some of my go-to playlists on Amazon Music are “Instrumental Covers for Work” or “Coffee Shop Alt Pop.”
Want to take your productivity one step further? Listen to your music through headphones. Not only will this deter your co-workers from disturbing you if they see you have your headphones in, but it will also stop them from questioning your music choices.
Stay Optimistic and Small
It’s hard to not be overwhelmed when you have several big projects or tasks looming over your calendar like Godzilla. If you break these larger projects into smaller, more manageable tasks, you’ll not only feel in control of your day, but you’ll also feel accomplished, confident in your abilities, and will, in turn, be productive.
As you complete each mini-task, take a moment or two to celebrate your progress as that can be one of the best ways to stay motivated and productive. So go ahead, eat that piece of chocolate in the break room! Indulge in that PSL from Starbucks! Treat yo’self because you deserve it!
Celebrating the small victories in your day will also help train your brain to be optimistic instead of focusing on the setbacks and will just keep the productivity rolling along!
Implementing one, some, or all of these tips are sure to help boost your workplace productivity. What are some productivity tips that you swear by at work? Share in the comments below!
By Angie Berman, Technical Recruiter