Image by: silberfuchs
By Dexter Lunde
When you’re sitting at a desk for hours upon hours, it can be hard to keep up your creative output and be productive The same four walls, the same desk, the same window and view of the cement forest… It’s not the most inspiring environment. If you’re having trouble with your productivity, here are 6 tips to help give you that extra boost you need to get you back to work.
#1) Music to Get it Done
Tanner Agar (founder and CEO of The Chef Shelf in Fort Worth, Texas) suggests, “I like to have music or a well-known movie playing. This helps me to drown out my random thoughts and noises and allows me to focus on work. I also like to work on multiple things at once. I bounce between them which keeps my energy and interest up. I work faster and longer than doing one at a time. As the CEO of a company I need to work efficiently and these couple tricks help me to do so.”
Studies have shown that when you have music that is soft enough to be drowned out when you are focus on your work, it helps to increase both your productivity and your creativity. This is mainly because you’re making your mind work harder and become more focused by placing a small distraction for it. Your brain works harder to drown out the music, thereby making it more engaged in your work.
#2) Get Your E-mail Addiction Under Control
Nicole Ferreira (who works for Be Love Media) suggests that you should only check your e-mails once a day. She also suggests that you should, “keep your smartphone out of reach. The more you check your phone, the more distracted you get.”
Some of our jobs require that we check our e-mails more than once a day. We sit at our desks and new messages pop-up. It’s basically alerting you of a distraction. If your work requires that you be diligent about new e-mails, I suggest that you check your e-mail only at certain points of the day.
Perhaps, once at the beginning of your workday, once in the middle (right after you get back from lunch), and once about an hour before you leave your office. That should give you enough time to answer e-mails, wait for a response (if necessary), and do some “maintenance” work. By that, I mean that you should be writing down a task list for the next day and doing the little things around the office that help your mind wind down from work.
#3) Plan Your Day (And Arrange It)
Most of us have a task list for the day. However, our task lists aren’t normally arranged by importance or by any other way. Arranging your task list normally means that you work by importance: the most important tasks are at the top of the list and the least important are at the bottom.
Some lists work a different way – by the length of the task. These lists normally have the shorter tasks at the top of the list and the longer tasks at the bottom. That ensures that you can finish as many tasks as possible.
Brett Arrington (from Customer EXP) works a different way, “I identify the activities that I (1) have complete control of and (2) can nail in less than 10 minutes. I mark these and set them aside. When I realize I am in a slight activity slump (which happen all day every day) I do one of these activities and it gives me the momentum to get back in the groove. That helps me rattle on through the rest of the list.”
Find the type of arrangement or listing technique that works the best for you. After all, our brains are all set up differently so what works for one, won’t work for another.
If your boss gives you the option, consider telecommuting (working from home) once a week. Telecommuting is a great way to boost your productivity and to mix up your work environment. In a blog post on Peter Metz’s website (Skip the Drive), Blogger Ybronstein tells readers about the reasons why telecommuting helps with productivity. For example, it increases creativity, productivity, and saves you time and money.
Maria Eva Katrien (owner of GPS to Success Coaching & Development) walks to keep her mind clear. “A new study by Stanford University shows that walking increases creative output by 60%.”
If you find that you’re distracted and need to focus, go for a little walk on your break. If you don’t have a break coming up, just take a stroll around the office. Go to the water cooler or head to the bathroom to freshen up. The change of scenery, fresh air, extra oxygen intake (from the activity and environment) will do your body and your mind good.
#6) Write Down Your Anxieties
Greg Archbald (the founder and CEO of an oil and gas tech company, GreaseBook) suggests that you write down the things that are making you anxious. If you can’t concentrate because you’ve got your mind on other issues, writing it down may help ease the tension. If the things that you write down are actual tasks that you need to finish, consider the necessity of finishing those tasks today. Can you move it to tomorrow’s task list in order to ease your mind for today’s tasks?
If the things that are making you anxious are personal problems, you may need to take a breather. Writing them down (AKA acknowledging them) is important and the first step to solving that problem. However, compartmentalizing while at work is also important. If the problem is extremely difficult, take some personal time off. If it is not, note it and save it for after work.