It’s easy to get distracted at the office with coworkers, phones, social media and so much more available to us at our fingertips. But sometimes we find ourselves daydreaming or zoning out in meetings because we’re tired of staring at a computer screen or doing other repetitive tasks day after day. It’s important to know how to stay focused and productive at work, which helps us build good habits that will stick with us long after our 9-to-5 days are over.
As you’re no doubt aware, multitasking isn’t very efficient—in fact, studies have shown that it diminishes productivity. When a worker is engaged in multiple tasks, his or her mind has to switch gears frequently, which causes stress and makes him or her less effective overall. If you can eliminate some of these distractions by focusing on one task at a time, you’ll see an immediate improvement in your level of productivity.
Have fun at work
People work hard to make money, and we’re all motivated by money. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, too. Here are a few ways you can create an enjoyable workplace: Encourage employees to be creative with ideas for improving workplace morale or efficiency.
Stop stressing about your inbox
Waking up and opening your inbox can set off an anxiety attack. In fact, it’s estimated that workers spend nearly 25% of their time in a sort of continuous panic about their inboxes. When you check your email first thing in the morning, you immediately start responding, which means no time is spent on higher-value tasks—which take longer but have greater impact. Instead, devote half an hour before lunch or at another specific part of your day to reviewing and replying to email.
Set goals for each day
Set a goal for each day. Whether you want to finish a project, meet a deadline or help someone, set specific goals that can be accomplished during your workday. If you don’t have any big tasks on your plate, make a list of smaller goals and take pride in checking items off that list as you go through your day.
Prioritise tasks by importance
Being productive means doing a lot in a little time. To help you do just that, try prioritising your tasks by importance instead of chronology. While it may seem counterintuitive, research suggests that rearranging your to-do list can have major effects on efficiency. As time goes on, reorder your tasks according to necessity and not necessarily time commitment. This will ensure you get things done with more quality than quantity.
Take time off from work, every now and then
A study from Johns Hopkins University concluded that taking regular breaks can boost productivity by 34%. So take some time off when you’re working hard, even if it’s just a 20-minute walk outside. It will refresh your brain and have you coming back with more motivation than ever before. After all, having a break doesn’t mean you won’t return to work energised. Think of it as fuel for your body!
Learn from others in your team
When you are busy with your work, it is easy to feel like you are struggling. One way that can help improve productivity and lessen stress is by learning from others who may have been in your shoes. If you have a coworker or supervisor who seems especially efficient, ask them how they do it. Don’t assume they won’t have time—this often turns out not to be true!
His experiences working for top brands like Unilever and Samsonite inspired him to write ‘The Rules of Work. Shivank set out to provide non-bullshitty, fact-based career advice that helps millennial workers get more opportunities and grow their careers faster. This blog is where he documents the daily challenges he and his colleagues face. Check him out on OfficeProductivity.org.