At one time or another we have all had unproductive days at work and no matter how hard we try we just cannot get focused. I have listed below 7 tips that help me to stay focused and on the ball. Before I took these tips on board I was busy counting the long hours of the work day, now I can’t fit enough in.
1. Get a good night sleep
Have you noticed that your bed time is getting later and later? As the days get busier they seem to get shorter and you find yourself climbing into bed at midnight and getting back up again at 6am. IT is important that your body receives the rest it needs. Between seven and nine hours is the amount of sleep an average person needs. I find the best way to accomplish this and get yourself into a great sleeping routine is to set your alarm for 8 hours after you go to sleep, if you go to bed at 10pm set your alarm for 6am, this way your body can get use to sleeping the same amount of time each night. It is interesting to monitor your sleep to see if you actually sleep soundly, there is plenty of products which will help like the Fitbit Wireless sleep monitor
2. Eat Something
Although you have been sleeping and resting all night, your body has been work. Ensure you have something to eat and refuel your body for a productive day. I find it convenient to have a bowl of cereal or a slice of toast and then eat a piece of fruit whilst on the train. If you regularly skip breakfast than I encourage you to start making time in the morning to sit down and eat breakfast, you won’t feel the effects straight away but you will later in the day.
3. Start with a List
First step when you get to work is to sit down and start a list, I am a huge fan of list and I find the best method is to use a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle, on the left hand side you write your daily tasks and goals. On the right side you write the task and goals you have that need to be completed but not necessarily on that day. Now use the left hand column and plan your day. Use the calendar on your computer and that way you will get reminders when you need to finish one task and commence the next. If you get to the end of the day and still have some productivity left in you, try to start on the tasks in the right column.
4. Drink water
Once you get to work and your computer is booting up, replace your first coffee of the day with a large glass of water, your brain becomes dehydrated during the night and a large glass of water is just what you need to get yourself up and running. I never use to drink water at work unless it was mixed with coffee. Now I keep a bottle on my desk and constantly drink from it. For something so trivial as water I found an exponential change in my productivity at work when I drink water regularly.
5. Limit Social Media and Emails
The number one distraction in the workplace is social media (and Angry Birds). It is easy to get swept up in the world of social media and lose half your day to Twitter, Facebook and checking emails. It would be impossible to shut the social world out, so try and minimise your time on social media. Try to have scheduled times throughout the day when you can look at your accounts. Two tips to keep in mind; firstly limit the amount of time you can spend online and stick to it, if you decide 10 mins is enough than ensure you don’t reach minute eleven. Secondly don’t leave your social media logged in on your computer; it is too tempting to quickly grab a sneaky look.
6. Get up and go for a walk
Sitting at your desk all day can start to feel a bit stale. Every couple of hours try to get up and go for a walk (not just to the coffee machine). Walk out the front doors of the building and walk around the block, this will give you a chance to clear your thoughts and start fresh when you get back to your desk, While you walk try not to think of work.
7. Make your desk a work friendly zone
Treat your desk like a productivity production line. Start by cleaning as much clutter off your desk so you have a clean slate. Then arrange your desk so that you can have the work that needs to be done stacked on the right hand side of your desk and the work completed on the left, whatever item you are working on can go in the middle, this way you are only looking at one task at a time and you can visually see one stack get smaller and the other get larger. At the end of each day clean off your desk so you can start fresh the next day.