We all have those days when our to-do lists number in the double digits, and we feel like there’s just not enough time to get everything done. And we all understand the role productivity plays in our success at work. Research shows it even boosts employee morale! (It just feels good to get things accomplished, doesn’t it?) Back in May we shared our take on the best productivity apps. Today, we’re giving you our top seven “non-techie” ways to get the most out of your workday. And it’s all about working smarter, not harder.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is based on research that shows we can only stay hyper focused for about 90 minutes, and by taking short frequent breaks we are actually become more productive than if we powered straight through. How it works: set a timer for 25 minutes. When it dings, take a five-minute break. Get up, do a short workout, refill your water bottle. For best results, after three or four rounds, take a full 20-minute break.
As much as possible, arrange your work tasks according to your daily rhythms. Whenever your energy level is highest, that’s when you should schedule your most challenging tasks. Save your lower energy time of day for activities that are less demanding, like returning emails and voicemail messages. Of course, you might want to factor in break times when you can unwind for a bit, say, by playing brain games– something like a crossword with Daily Themed answers to check quickly, or a quick sudoku game. You might look at a break as a way to maintain smooth brain function, so you don’t lose your speed of thought. That way, you could jump back into your work efficiently with little to no problem.
Take a Hike
Researchers at Stanford found that walking boosts creative thinking and helps keep your brain firing on all cylinders. Walking anywhere works, but if your office is near any green spaces, even better. A study by University of Michigan psychologist Mac Berman showed that people who walked in a wooded park experienced even greater cognitive benefits than those who didn’t.
Take a Stand
We all know meetings can be a real time suck. But when meetings are a “must,” take a stand. A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology concluded that sit-down meetings lasted 34% longer than stand-up meetings, yet both produced the same solutions.
Step Away From Sugary Sweets
When that midday slump hits, don’t make a Starbucks run or raid the vending machine chocolate brownie supply. Instead, opt for a handful of nuts, or low-fat cheese with whole-grain crackers. You can also ask your manager to perhaps create a micro market in your office so that you can get healthy food quickly. But, What is a micro market? It is an advanced form of vending machine that can store various types of food and products, including healthier alternatives like yogurt, cheese, granola bars, etc. Moreover, you can make online payments for your purchase without needing human assistance, which can work perfectly in a closed workplace. The benefit being, the company won’t have to hire a person to manage the shop, and eating small healthy snacks throughout the day will help employees to maintain a consistent energy level.
We know, you’ve heard it before. But it’s so hard not to multitask, right? The thing is, while you may think you’re saving time, psychologists have proven that doing several tasks simultaneously actually results in lost time and productivity. It may even lower your IQ!
Eat, Sleep and Be Merry!
You simply can’t operate at peak performance when you’re tired. So record the latest episode of Marvel’s Daredevil to watch on the weekend, and get your full seven to nine hours each night followed by a protein-rich breakfast in the morning. And one more thing, make time for a good belly laugh. Studies show that laughing in the workplace increases both productivity and creativity. So go ahead and pull up iFunny for your five-minute Pomodoro break!
What other tips do you have to increase productivity at work?