Everyone wants to have a more productive workday every day. To get more done, do it well, and to eventually leave the office feeling accomplished. However, in the busy and hectic modern workplace, that’s often easier said than done.
Deloitte refers to this as the productivity paradox. They explain that there are complex, macroeconomic reasons as to why in our digitally-enabled world, leaders still see a decrease in overall productivity.
As an individual worker, you can’t always impact these high-level concepts. However, you can make small, yet significant changes to your work style to be more productive in your workday. Try the following five simple strategies to get more done every day.
1. Take breaks
While it might seem counterproductive to take a break from work to get more done, it actually helps you to retain your focus, especially during long projects. A 2016 study found that workers who take 5-minute walking breaks every hour reported an improved mood and decreased levels of fatigue, compared to sedentary workers.
When you feel your mind wandering or get stuck on a task, take a short five-minute break. Walk around the office (or outside), do a quick few stretches, or grab a snack. You’ll come back refreshed and avoid burnout in the long run.
It might also help to try the Pomodoro technique, in which you work for a certain amount of time, then set a timer that reminds you to take a short break in between sessions. You may even find that you work harder to get things done before the timer goes off.
2. Pay attention to your wellness
Sometimes, you wake up feeling sick, but not sick enough to stay home. So you tough it out and go to work. Once at the office, you don’t get nearly as much done. What’s more, you might come back the next day, still not one-hundred percent because you decided to trudge through the day before, when rest was what you needed.
This is a common occurrence known as presenteeism. A Glassdoor survey confirmed this, finding the American workers only take 54 percent of their PTO. Going to work when you aren’t feeling up to it doesn’t make you an effective worker. Recent studies show that the combination of presenteeism and absenteeism can accrue to a productivity loss of 10.43 days per year.
To have a productive workday, you need to prioritize your physical and mental health outside the four walls of your office. This starts with taking time off when your body or mind calls for it, that’s what PTO is for.
3. Get realistic with your to-do list
Many busy professionals are guilty of overloading their to-do list. While optimism is a great attitude, so is realism. Sometimes you think you can do more than you can during an eight-hour, even productive workday. Then you leave feeling discouraged that you didn’t check everything off the list. Or worse, you try to finish things quickly with lackluster results. Stop that cycle and get honest with yourself about what you can accomplish.
Track your time for a week to see how long it takes you to actually get various tasks done. Then use that as a marker for your to-do list. Start with the most important tasks for the day, so you can be sure to get them done, and leave room for breaks as well, which you need to stay productive.
4. Limit distractions
A recent survey of workers found that 98 percent of respondents report being interrupted at least a few times every day. The problem is that, according to a survey by Udemy, 50 percent of workers say distractions make them significantly less productive.
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In the digital world, where we’re inundated with messages from multiple platforms at all times of the day, it can feel impossible to avoid distractions. However, there are a few ways to limit these digital distractions once and for all:
- When working on a project, use the Do not disturb mode on your company communication platform. Even better, use Hubgets and just chose the AI powered option Let Hubgets manage my interruptions that will both protect you from nosy interruptions and keep all communication available for when you need it.
- Use an app to silence your phone for certain hours of the day or lock social media apps.
- Close the email application or browser tab when working on a project so you’re not tempted to answer emails as they come in.
5. Eat lunch away from your desk
Many of us are guilty of eating lunch at our desk. In fact, 62 percent of us, according to a 2016 New York Times report. While this may seem like an efficient way to multitask, it’s better to take an extended lunch break and eat away from your workspace.
A CRBE real estate office banned desk lunches and saw great results. “I feel more productive because I realize when you’re eating at your desk, you’re not necessarily working at full attention to what you’re doing,” says Mackenzie Sharp, a senior sales associate at the company.
Sharp also mentioned that the change of location and ad-hoc conversations with colleagues improve his thinking and focus. Amantha Imber, CEO of Inventium, also implemented a no-desk lunch policy and said employees had higher energy levels in the afternoon. More energy means you’ll be more productive, making this an easy—and important—strategy to implement.
Have a more productive workday
Productivity starts with the choices you make. If you want to be more effective or get more done, take a look at your current processes. Identify some of the behaviors that might be taking away from your engagement and then swap those out with the above strategies to level up your productivity.