It’s hard enough as it is to get through a regular workday feeling like you are really, truly been productive. Add in all of the little workplace annoyances and distractions that can pop up, and you can really end up feeling like you’ve wasted your day.
Have A Theme Day
Try having theme hours or theme days where you only work on one type of task. This will make it easier to stay on track within that timespan and to get back on track should someone distract you.
Know Your Peak Time Of The Day
Construct a daily schedule that reflects your peak energy times and your energy dips. Avoid planning activities that are more mentally rigorous during your energy slump times, and schedule them instead during your more active times. Handle easier tasks during hours when you know you will not be at your peak. You may also want to give yourself some less intensive activities to do first thing in the morning and before you leave at night.
Minimize the ways that you welcome distraction. For most people, it’s easy to start looking for opportunities to get up and do something else when you start to feel bored at work. But as soon as you let this happen, you’ve lost your train of thought and your productivity streak, and then you’re back to square one.
Instead, find ways to keep from having to leave your work area so often. Get a coffee maker for your cubicle so you can have a burst of energy as soon as you need on. Use vaporizer pens right at your desk instead of having to get up to take a smoke break every few hours.
Use Productivity Tools
Always take advantage of shortcuts. That is, whenever you can use a script, a canned response, an auto-text option, a template, bulk emailing, or a pre-fab format, always do it. This can be a great way to cut down on lots of unnecessary processes and procedures throughout your day.
But at the same time, don’t force yourself to try to work through periods where your brain is telling you to quit. It’s important to allow yourself mentally recovery times, and in fact, most people tend to work best with short breaks and longer bursts of energy.
If you feel like you’re just hitting a wall over and over, get up and take some short breaks, but make sure they are productive breaks. Don’t just sit at your desk and stare at Facebook. Eat a healthy snack. Get up and go for a short walk or even take a nap in your car.
A short power nap can be a great way to recharge your brain during the work day. You may be resistant to allow yourself to take breaks, but it will ultimately end up improving your productivity over the course of the day.
Plan Your Next Day
Give yourself cliffhangers. Once you’ve reached the end of your day or the end of your designated time slot where you do a certain kind of work, instead of trying to tie up all loose ends, leave yourself a task or two that you can start on first thing in the morning on your following day at work.
As you’ve probably experienced, one of the hardest times of the work day can come first thing in the morning when you’re still feeling glassy eyed and you just can’t get your brain in the game. Having some specific tasks to get you started on your day of work can be a great way to cut down on the time it takes you to get into the swing of things, which can improve your overall day’s productivity as well.
Whenever you feel like you are being forced to waste time on an unnecessary procedure of office protocol or bureaucracy, don’t be afraid to speak up about it. Your supervisor will appreciate knowing that you are looking out for ways to make operations more efficient. However, be prepared for some resistance.
Most of the time, people feel like there’s a reason that they need to keep a meeting, so if you really think it would be better to cancel a meeting or to cut short a communication, have an alternative for how you are going to handle any problems or respond to any concerns.
Have Face To Face Conversations
By that same token, don’t substitute an email when an in-person conversation would work better. A lot of times, the quickest way to get to the root of a problem is to have a face-to-face conversation about it. That way, you don’t need to go back and forth via email as questions come up or as communications become confusing.
Finding ways to simplify your work day is an important part of becoming a better employee and becoming a more mature professional. It’s also a great way to improve your feels of workplace satisfaction, so don’t delay in making your job and lifestyle more efficient.
- Updated on December 2016: Minor issue resolved and fixed links.