Staying productive and focused at work can be challenging. Sometimes, you just feel uninspired or distracted, and it’s hard to pull yourself out of it. But there are plenty of ways to dodge these pitfalls and maintain your concentration and vitality. Here’s a list of simple ways to stay productive at the office.
Create to-do lists. A to-do list containing the set of tasks you can reasonably complete on each given day is a powerful workplace tool. Not only will it keep you on track, but also the sense of accomplishment following the completion of an item is gratifying, and those positive feelings can motivate you to keep going. And be sure to attach a deadline to each task; that way, you’ll be less likely to procrastinate.
Limit email, web browsing, and social media. These are often the enemies of productivity! If you’re checking your email every five minutes, this action is detracting from the task at hand. If possible, schedule the times you check your email so you can stay focused for a sustained period of time. The same goes for social media and browsing the web. Of course they’re tempting, but they’re also serious, time-consuming distractions. Try to limit social media use to lunchtime, snack time, and short, planned breaks.
Go outside, or change your scenery. Fresh air and sunlight are invigorating. A change of scenery helps tremendously when you’re in a creative slump or experiencing writer’s block. Also, a step outside or short walk around the block can do wonders in terms of stress-relief and can boost productivity when you return to your desk.
Keep a clean desk. Clutter can leave us feeling disorganized, overwhelmed, and stressed out. A messy desk can quickly lead to a messy mind. The good news is that the reverse is true: an organized desk can make for an efficient workday. So, a terrific way to end the day is to put your desk in order, de-clutter, and tidy up so that the scene is fresh and you’re ready to focus the following morning.
Stay aware. What distracts you? Develop self-awareness by keeping a journal of what interrupts your workflow. This knowledge will empower you step around the potholes of distraction and interruptions when you can help it!