How to improve productivity in the workplace

Career Advice
17 August 2017 | Career Advice | Guest Author

If a degree in procrastinating existed, we’d all come out with a first class with honours. However, defeating procrastination and increasing productivity is one of the best life skills you can learn. Imagine how much more you’d get done in your day if you closed that Facebook feed, stopped refreshing your emails every 5 seconds and actually put your head down. 

You might find that one day you’re really motivated and you get those tasks completed faster than Usain Bolt in the 100m, but the next day it is a challenge to get a job started let alone finished. Struggling with motivation isn’t the end of the world, and we all experience it, because we’re human. However, sustaining motivation within the workplace (and out - those kitchen cupboards aren’t gonna sort themselves) can become a habitual part of your lifestyle. We’ve come up with five ways you can defeat procrastination and improve productivity within the workplace.

"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."

Eat, sleep, exercise, repeat

On average, an adult needs roughly 8 hours sleep a night to feel well rested and ready to tackle the challenges the day has to offer. However, too few of us make the time in bed a priority, which is ridiculous as it is the place that so many of us are distraught to leave of a morning. We need those golden hours of sleep in order to survive and help our bodies heal. It is thought that lack of sleep has links to weight gain and an increased risk of illness such as heart disease and diabetes.

If you have trouble switching off and getting to sleep then get into the habit of setting half an hour to an hour out of your day to exercise. This will help reduce your blood pressure, improve your general health, and ameliorate a poor sleeping pattern. Although it may seem like a daunting task, exercising in the morning will boost your energy levels and wake you up, so you don’t walk into work feeling like you’ve just come from a scene in Shaun of the Dead.

Now on to everyone’s favourite part, coffee breaks! When you feel that mid-morning strain at work, take a mid morning break to replenish your resources. Wake yourself up by having a glass of water and a snack. Short intermittent breaks are ideal if you’re struggling to solve a problem or come up with an idea. 

Take control of your workspace

The workplace has a few things that can impede productivity, so take control of your workspace. If you find yourself spending more time on your phone, then put it on silent, do not disturb or switch it off so it doesn’t break your focus. Scrolling through your friend’s Instagram feed isn’t going to help you meet that deadline, so alienate that distraction. 

If you are struggling to keep on top of your tasks there is probably a new app or tool that can help you manage and complete your jobs. Registering, signing up and getting used to this tool may take a little time at first, but in the long run it will increase your efficiency and productivity. 

Another way to take charge of your workspace in order to improve productivity and beat procrastination is to do all the jobs you don’t want to do first, and leave the best until last. It is a bit like having your dinner and then the tub of ice cream you’ve been thinking about all day. Once the boring tasks that you do not enjoy are out the way, you can focus on your favourite jobs. 

Stop multitasking

Multitasking is something that has been ingrained in society and has become part of everyday life. We all do it, whether it is taking a phone call whilst cooking dinner or sending that email during a meeting. Putting all your focus on one activity seems like a luxury and wasteful, but when you try to juggle a few tasks at once your productivity drops by 40%, so sit down and put all your attention on that one job, and you’ll improve your overall efficiency. 

Bring back the nap

If you have the opportunity, take a 10-20 minute power nap as it will help improve your alertness. Be sure to check with your place of work before wandering off for your afternoon siesta, just incase it isn’t an option... 

Eat all the brain food

The food you put in your body will have a massive influence on how you think and feel. Swap your snacks of crisps and biscuits to a handful of nuts or seeds or a couple of pieces of dark chocolate. It is a change that takes a little bit of getting used to, but you’ll soon feel a difference in how you feel and your concentration levels will improve!

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