Wouldn’t it be great if each workday was filled with hours and hours of productivity? In reality, most days are filled with nothing but distractions.
So much so that people are spending a stunning 15 to 18 hours on Facebook per month. Imagine how many hours of this is during work hours.
But it’s not just frivolous things eating up our day – it’s meetings as well. On average, employees are spending 31 hours per month in meetings. Most of us tend to agree that meetings are one of the biggest time-wasters in the office.
In the following guide, we’ll share several easy hacks you can use to boost the productivity of yourself and team members.
Let’s get started.
1. Got to bed on-time
Working crazy hours and staying up late isn’t a good combination.In fact, this sounds like a concoction for disaster in the workplace.
It’s impossible to work when your brain is foggy, unfocused, and downright tired. This is why you’ll find some workers snoozing away on their lunch break (or during work hours).
Lack of sleep is a real concern and can significantly reduce your productivity levels. Companies are losing $63 billion a year in lost productivity due to employee sleep deprivation.
This just goes to show how important sleep is, whether you’re the CEO or employee.
2. Stand instead of sitting
Yes, being more productive can be as easy as standing up. The human body wasn’t meant to sit still for hours at a desk, so embrace it!
Every hour or so, get up and move around. Go for a walk around the block if you can, or go grab a glass of water. Even if it’s only for five minutes, getting the blood flowing to your brain aids in productivity, creativity, motivation, and can even help prevent health issues such as blood clots in your legs.
Want to take it a step further (no pun intended)? Get a standing desk! Those who stand to work are more likely to be able to work for longer periods of time, get more done, and have a better attention span.Speaking of exercise – studies show working out before you head to work can boost your productivity.
Those who workout are also less likely to get depression and job burn out. The good news is you don’t have to do anything strenuous. Just 2.5 hours per week is all you need to get enhance the quality of your work. If you can’t fit it into your schedule before work, then consider doing a 20-minute workout during your break.
3. Practice office cleanliness
Remember when you were little and your parents dutifully made you clean your room, promising it would make you feel better? Well, throw Mom and Dad a thank you, because the same is true for your workplace.
If your workplace is tidy, free from messes, and free of anything distracting, you’ll see your productivity skyrocket. This is because even if you’re not consciously thinking about it, your brain processes the messy environment around you and as a result, you’ll have less focus going into your work.
While you should remove any trash, unnecessary books or decorations from your desk, and organize your space, removing distractions also means putting your cell phone or music player away too.
Make a promise to yourself this week to clean off your work area, put away any unnecessary items, and carve out time every few hours to relax your brain or take a walk.
You’ll start seeing great productivity gains in the form of more tasks done in the same period of time, less stress, and an overall more constructive use of time.
4. Use productivity apps to block distractions
How many times are you distracted throughout the workday? Are the majority of your distractions due to your smartphone and web browsing?
Well, there’s an app for that. In fact, you can find a number of productivity apps to choose from based on your needs.
There are some that block websites on your computer while you work. All you have to do is include the sites you want to block and then set the hours and days you want them blocked.
If you try to visit the site out of habit, a block page will show up. Of course, you can enter your password and get through it. But hopefully, you have the will not to.
There are also apps you can use to block apps and notifications on your smartphone and computer. Emails, text messages, phone calls, and notifications from certain apps can be blocked. Just like with the site blocker, you can set up times and days to block the notifications.
Another option is to put up your smartphone or turn it off until after work. Implementing these tactics into your workday will make it easier to be productive. If emails are a big time-waster for your workday, then consider setting a time of day when you check emails, such as 4 pm.
This way, you can respond to emails before the workday is over. Or you can check it twice a day -- once before work, and once after work.
5. Use time-tracking tools with a Pomodoro timer
If you’ve never heard of Pomodoro – it’s a genius method you can use to make work more productive.
It’s easy to do and doesn’t require you to do anything but time your work and break sessions. For example, the first part of a Pomodoro is 25 minutes long.
This means you work non-stop for 25 minutes without distraction. Then once the timer beeps, you take a 5-minute break. After the break is over, you’ve completed one Pomodoro.
Ideally, you should try to do five of these in a row before taking your 30-minute break. And depending on how much work you have to do, you could be done within a few hours.
Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to pull off that 4-hour workweek (or something close to it). Time-tracking apps are available for both smartphones and desktops.
They’re helpful in allowing you to see where your time is spent each day. Some tools come with Pomodoro timers and kanban work boards. This allows you to see which tasks on your list are completed and how many Pomodoros it took to do so.
6. Eat healthier meals
It doesn’t matter how much sleep you get or how much you exercise, if you’re not eating healthy meals, then your energy will be non-existent.
Certain foods, such as sugar, caffeine, and starches can all weigh you down and wear you out. It’s hard to recharge when you’re not getting the boost you need from foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Adding more of these food items into your daily meals can help boost your energy levels significantly. When your energy levels are high, you’re going to feel inspired to put it to good use. You may even find yourself with energy left over after work.
This means more time with your loved ones instead of crashing as soon as you get home. Combining sleep, exercise, and healthy eating can all help you reach your productivity goals. And if you’re constantly on the move and don’t have time to cook healthy meals, then consider smoothies on the go!
7. Tackle your critical tasks first
Some people like to start their day with tasks that are easier to do, but that are less important. While you may speed through these tasks, it will prolong your day, since you have to get certain things done by specific deadlines.
Then after doing all of those smaller tasks, you may not have the brain power to take on the more important projects. This is why it’s recommended that you tackle the must-dos first.
Once you knock these out of the ballpark, you can begin handling the less important tasks. Knocking these out second will help to dwindle your to-do list and make you feel like you’re getting things done.
If you’re too tired to handle them today, you can tackle them first thing in the morning, since you already did your bigger tasks. Then if you struggle with organizing your to-do lists, there are apps you can use on your computer or smartphone to help.
You can easily set up lists for the critical tasks, non-essential tasks, and a completed list. Having this visual is great for seeing what needs to be done and how productive you’ve been thus far.
8. Take frequent breaks
It’s not a good idea to stay honed in on your work for extended periods of time. Not only will this drain you out, but it’ll hurt your productivity as well.
Have you ever tried maintaining the same level of focus you started with by hour 4 or 5? Pretty difficult. This is why most companies schedule breaks around this time.
But we’re saying you should take it a step further and take more frequent breaks. Now, this doesn’t mean you should do it too often or you won’t get anything done.
One option is to take short 5 minutes breaks every half hour or so. If you’re using the Pomodoro app we mentioned, then this will time your breaks for you. Take time to close your eyes or look away from your computer screen to give them a rest.
Eye fatigue is a big problem for office workers, especially if they’re on the computer much of the day. Giving your brain a break every 1-2 hours or in between tasks is a good way to decompress, unwind, and let your brain unwind before you jump into the next task.If staring out the window relaxes you, go for it!
But anything that is not mentally strenuous will be good here. Read a few pages of a book you enjoy, play a few rounds of a simple game, or draw.
Anything that gets your mind to relax and not be in work mode for a bit will be beneficial!
9. Delegate mundane tasks
You’ll be surprised to learn how much time you waste on tasks that are repetitive and mundane.
If you decide to use time-tracking tools and to-do lists, you can see where all of your time is going.
Why continue wasting your time on tasks that are keeping you away from your critical tasks?
These tasks may be important for business, but not so important that it has to be done by you. This includes answering emails, going over your budget and finances, or scheduling social media posts.
If you don’t have employees to delegate them to, you can always opt for a virtual assistant. They’re reliable, affordable, and get the job done.
Making your workday more productive
Whatever tips you decide to put to use, make sure you’re doing all you can to make your work days more productive.
There’s no excuse to drag through the day just to come out with more work than you started with.
Get through your days with energy and great progress. If you’re interested in learning more efficiency and productivity hacks, download our free Guide!