Life Skills

I’ve got 44 problems but productivity isn’t one.

If you want the most out of your day, you need to be prepared to push through several barriers. Now, we’re all guilty of wasting time.  It’s pretty easy to become distracted from your work and subconsciously (or consciously) find ways to avoid putting in the hard yards. Whether it’s scrolling aimlessly through social media, chatting to a colleague or making your fifth coffee of the day, if you feel slack and lack motivation, finding ways to procrastinate won’t be hard.

Sure, some energy-zappers exist beyond our control. For example, studies have shown surprising links between carbon dioxide levels in some office environments and decreased cognitive functioning. However there are a lot of things you can control to make sure you smash your working day out of the ballpark.

Best STL has compiled an infographic showcasing 44 ways to make you more productive, here’s a summary of the best bits:

Before you leave the house

Wake up earlier. It’s a tried and true tip: swap a rushed morning full of freak-outs for a relaxed one that comes with breakfast, some exercise or ‘me time’. Giving yourself enough time to get ready properly will mean you’re less likely to start the day off in a stressed mood. If you just can’t muster the energy to listen to your early alarm tone, try moving your clock a few meters away so you have to get out of bed to stop it.

Let natural light wake you up. For anyone living in a cold or grey climate this might seem like wishful thinking, but where possible, let your body slowly come back to life naturally, and ditch the alarm clock altogether if you can.

Establish a morning routine and stick to it. Being strict on what time you get up, when you have your breakfast and what activities you need to get done before leaving the house will help you get back in control and feel ready to tackle the day ahead.

Drink a tall glass of water. This one speaks for itself really. It’s so easy to become dehydrated – start the day by flushing toxins out of your body and replenishing your H2O stores.

While you commute

Pre-plan your entertainment before jumping on the bus or train, i.e. something other than mindless staring or phone-tinkering. Try downloading a podcast, bringing a book or loading your Kindle with a great read.

Get physical.  Ditch the public transport and use your own two feet (or a bike) to get you to where you need to be! The open air will clear your head and pump you up for the day.

Complete an online course or plan for a presentation. Try using your commute to get some mundane tasks done, or do some work-related reading. Giving yourself a head start with work will fire you up and means you’ll be ready to crack on as soon as you walk into the office.

Before you have lunch

Don’t check your emails for an hour. Use this time in the morning (when you’re probably at your freshest) to create a plan of attack for the rest of the day, and really get stuck into some tasks you need to complete, without added pressures coming from distracting correspondence over email.

Start at same time every day. Getting yourself into a routine like this will stop you from wasting valuable minutes fluffing around at your desk. Commit to ‘heads down’ at the same time every day, and be disciplined about it.

Bite the bullet. Procrastination helps no one; if you have a hard task to complete, don’t put it off, get it done first. Time spent procrastinating is time spent not completing important things, and also time spent worrying about the fact that they’re not getting done. Kill two birds with one stone and get stuck into it.

After you have lunch

Avoid large, heavy lunches. The phrase ‘you are what you eat’ is a good one to remember here; if you eat yucky things your mood and motivation levels will probably turn yucky too.

Go for an afternoon stroll. Fresh air will do you the world of good, especially if you eat lunch at your desk. It’s important to break up the day and give yourself a chance to rejuvenate and refocus.

Take a power nap. Take a leaf from the Spaniards’ book and squeeze in a siesta, if you can. I appreciate this one might not be a very practical option, but finding a quiet spot and closing your eyes to rest for even just 5 minutes will help you relax, stop your mind from racing ahead and feel in control again.

Before you go to bed

Avoid heavy, fatty meals that leave you feeling bloated. Sleeping on a stodgy stomach does no one any favours.

Set your phone to ‘Do Not Disturb’. You’ve probably heard this one before, but it couldn’t be more effective at allowing you to switch off and get other things done.

Use blackout curtains. If you’re going to opt for waking up to natural sunlight, you can probabaly park this one. Otherwise, if you have trouble sleeping – try blacking out all light from your room so you can sink into your own black hole of uninterrupted slumber.

Stretch. Put on some comfy clothes and stretch to your heart’s content. This will help you relieve tension building up inside you. Use this time to let go of the day that was, and loosen up for the day ahead.

Top image: Shutterstock


44 ways to be more productive

44 ways to be more productive [Infographic] by the team at Best STL

About Phoebe Spinks

Phoebe is the editor of Undercover Recruiter & Senior Account Executive at Link Humans.

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