Have you ever heard the saying, “don’t work harder, work smarter”? Being productive doesn’t always mean more work. Sometimes, it means engaging in a few habits that will increase your work output without a lot of extra input. Use our tips to get more out of your work.
As humans, we have a natural tendency to adhere to our routines, whether we intend to or not. However, there are a few ways you can shake things up to increase your work output.
Prioritize your to-do list. This may not sound groundbreaking, but we are often faced with so many demands that we split our focus. If you prioritize your task list, putting the critical goals at the top and focus your attention solely on those until completed, you’d be surprised at your ability to accomplish what you set out to do. Many experts suggest setting a top three each day.
Limit distractions and interruptions. In today’s collaborative workforce, interruptions and distractions are difficult to avoid. However, if you truly want to be productive on a specific task, remove distractions. One study found that it takes 25 minutes to return to a task after an interruption. The same study also determined that the average worker gets interrupted every 11 minutes. That doesn’t leave much time for real focus. Close your email, stow your phone, and find a quiet place to work.
Put the worst task first. When you tackle the most dreaded task on your list first, you gain a sense of achievement and the other tasks seem easier by comparison.
Get up early. A study by Harvard Biologist Christoph Randler discovered that early risers are more proactive than others. This proactive mindset is characteristic of those who face the day’s challenges and take control of problems.
Do you ever find yourself lagging during the workday? Maybe you’re tired or feeling the strain of illness or just having an off day. If you find yourself having a tough time turning your focus to work, use these tips to reinvigorate your workday.
Change your scenery. Get up and take a walk to another area, preferably one outdoors or that conjures feelings of happiness. One Harvard Medical School study uncovered “a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.”
Seek out positive coworkers. Sometimes, all you need is a smile or a laugh to pull you out of a midday slump. Try engaging with a positive coworker to get those endorphins going before returning to the task at hand.
Fake it until you make it. NBC reports that smiling “can trick your brain into believing you’re happy which can then spur actual feelings of happiness.” It turns out that faking a smile can lead to a better mood.
Take a break and do something fun. Sometimes, just the monotony of the day can be enough to bring you down. Use your break to take part in an enjoyable activity to boost your mood, whether that’s a round of cards with a coworker or stepping out to your favorite coffee shop for a pick-me-up.
Often, it only takes a few small changes to turn an off day into a good one or a good day into a better one.