13 Workplace Hacks for More Productivity

The market is full of apps and tools that promise to improve your productivity and up your performance. Some of them are useful, but often all that’s needed are a few tweaks to your habits and surroundings. Do you want to achieve more during the time you spend at the office? Here are a few easy to implement ideas that will have you improving your productivity at work in no time.

1. Organize Your Workspace


One really good habit to get into is to clean up your workspace before you knock off at the end of your shift. It can be discouraging to come to work in the morning only to be faced with dirty coffee cups and an overflowing wastepaper basket from the previous day.


Take a couple of minutes at the beginning of each day to arrange and declutter your desk. Having a clear, uncluttered workspace will help you focus better and think clearly. As a bonus, you won’t waste so much time looking for that missing stapler!


2. Colour Your World


According to interior designer Jen Gauld, colour has a bigger effect on our mood and productivity than we realize. If you’re having difficulty with concentrating or are losing your creative spark, colour may help. Adding a few serene, blue accessories promotes calmness and focus. Red promotes attention to detail and greater accuracy. While we can’t paint our workspace walls to suit our projects, we can all add a bunch of flowers or colourful picture frame to our desks.


3.  Bring in Plants


Plants are not just decorative items. Research has shown that there are definite health and productivity benefits to having some greenery in the office. Plants or vases of flowers have been shown to promote calmness and help office workers feel less stressed. This is more pronounced in office environments where there are no windows.


Washington State University published a study showing that office workers who introduced plants into their workspace were more productive and attentive, plus felt less anxiety.

Plants remove chemicals from the air and decrease carbon dioxide levels. They also introduce more oxygen to the environment.


4.  Add Meaning


Decorating your work environment with a few personal items adds to your personal comfort and relaxation, which in turn boosts productivity. Meaningful career-related items such as framed awards and certificates remind you of your successes and encourage you to achieve more.


5.  Do the Worst First


It’s a good idea to do the task you’ve been putting off first. We all have that one item on our list that keeps getting put to the end of the queue because we can’t face starting it. Once we’ve made a start, most things aren’t as bad as we imagined. Getting the worst one out of the way will clear your plate and mind a little for the rest of the day and help you be more productive overall.


6. Set Priorities


Before you begin work in the morning, take a few minutes to decide what the most urgent, important jobs are. Schedule the low priority items for later or even delegate them to someone else. This will free you up to focus on the most pressing task.


7. Disable Notifications


Before you begin a task, turn off your email and social media notifications. Set a time later to check and reply to everything. This will give you an uninterrupted chunk of time in which to devote your full attention to the task at hand. Messages constantly popping up break your concentration and hinder productivity. There are few messages so urgent that they cannot wait an hour or so.


8. Schedule Short Breaks


People are more productive when they take short breaks every 50-90 minutes. Try to get away from your desk and take a quick walk outside, pop in and chat with a colleague or even just walk down the hall and get a coffee. The longer we go without a break, the steeper our productivity drops.


9.  Get Active


Physical movement isn’t just good for your body, but it also helps with focus and productivity. Begin your day with a run or a quick workout, especially if you’re going to be desk-bound for the day. There are also plenty of ideas online for exercises you can do at your desk or in your office. Failing this, walk briskly around the block during your lunch break.


10.  Use Headphones


Wearing headphones and listening to music can help some people to focus better. It also sends a “do not disturb” message to others and will help you shut out any distractions.


11.  Work Somewhere Else


Changing your usual work environment helps a lot if you need to be creative. Obviously, it will be subject to your employer’s approval, but many bosses nowadays are open to the idea of their employees working from a coffee shop or even from home. A change of environment now and then has been shown to help with generating new ideas and increasing productivity.


12.  List Your Goals for the Day


Sometimes it can be challenging to keep track of everything that needs to be done. This overwhelms us and we become susceptible to procrastination. Making a hardcopy list of all your job items gives you a concrete way of seeing how far you are. It also allows you the satisfaction of ticking each item off as you get it done.


13.  Multitasking is a Lie


We don’t multitask. Our brain cannot do multiple tasks simultaneously. What we do is “switch task”. We switch from one item to another, not giving anything our full attention for long. We lie to ourselves that we are getting lots of tasks done at once, but in reality, we’re not finishing any of them.


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