It is undeniable that being productive requires a tremendous amount of willpower coupled with an extraordinary amount of determination.  We’ve all encountered this issue one form or another; with most of us lacking the motivation to fully commit ourselves to becoming productive as it is believed to be too much effort. In lieu of this, research has proven that even little alterations to our daily lives can have a profound effect on improving our efficiency throughout the day. Below is a list of different techniques which can be applied to your daily schedule to help improve your work productivity.

 

Take Regular Breaks during Work

Breaks are vital for maintaining concentration on a task; with 15 minute breaks commonly recommended for every 50-90 minutes of work (Patel, N 2014). Research has proven that depending on the task, one person can only maintain concentration for a maximum of 40-45 minutes before the brain experiences fatigue; resulting in reduced productivity (Open Polytechnic, 2016). Having regular breaks allows for physical and mental rest to be undertaken; permitting the brain to regenerate and refresh in order to be able to think clearer, faster and more creatively. It has been shown that taking regular breaks helps revive workers who are able to then perform at a more optimum level when they return to work (Rosen, A 2016).

 

Exercise

The benefits of exercise are limitless. Exercise releases endorphins and is a natural source of energy; delivering rich oxygenated blood throughout the body which increases clarity, concentration and creativity (Mitchell, D 2015). Additionally, as little as 10 minutes of exercise releases various neurotransmitters such as: GABA, serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters will work to reduce stress, decrease the probability of depression and improve mood and long-term memory (Bradberry, T 2015). A study conducted by the British Psychological Society also proved that physical exercise can lead to an increase in willpower and self-regulatory behaviour (Cheng, K Oaten, M 2006).

 

Become a Morning Person

Research shows that early risers are more successful, more proactive, better planners, and better at anticipating problems than those who choose to sleep in. Waking up early gives you more time to work, gives you time to eat a healthy breakfast, fit in a workout and reduces the stresses associated with being reckless under time constraints (Ye, L 2016). Most importantly, it also provides a consistent sleep routine; meaning you will be more likely to wake up refreshed as your body would have adapted to your sleep pattern and stimulated your brain before being functionally awake.

 

Refrain from Multitasking

The human mind is not designed for multitasking. It has been proven that multitasking will lead to a loss of focus, an increase in errors and an increase in the time it takes to complete a project. Furthermore, it has been found that people who multitask and attempt to do more than one thing at a time show subtle brain damage; damaging cognitive abilities and reducing a person’s ability to be productive. In order to overcome this, try consciously making an effort to only focus on singular tasks whilst removing all distractions within your workspace such as turning off email notifications and your phone if it comes to that (Neidlinger, J 2014).

 

Avoid Interruptions

Minor interruptions during intense periods of work majorly derail your focus; forcing you to take an average of 23 minutes to focus back on the task you were undertaking. Even looking up from your computer screen to have a 15 second conversation with a colleague can interrupt your flow of thought and seriously hinder your productivity. To prevent this, work in an office with a closed door and hang a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the handle, put in headphones so background noises don’t disturb you, or sit in a quiet corner to evade office interruptions (Gelb, S 2016).

 

Utilise Technology

Exploit the technology available to you to make the most of your time and be more productive. Web-based applications, such as Google Docs, enable workers to share documents and collaborate on projects so that each team member can see the changes and comments made by others. Portable laptops and smartphones are an excellent way to check emails or schedule a meeting while on the go or waiting at a train stop. Video-calling and messaging applications such as Skype, Viber and Facebook messenger allow you to conduct meetings from the comfort of your own home or office – meaning you don’t have to waste time travelling to meet colleagues face to face.

 

Author: Georgia Cooper

 


 

References:

Anonymous. (2016). How to Improve your Concentration. Available: http://www.openpolytechnic.ac.nz/current-students/study-tips-and-techniques/study-concentrate-and-remember/how-to-improve-your-concentration/. Last accessed 26th Feb 2016.

Bradberry, T. (2015). How Successful People Work Less and Get More Done. Available: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246270. Last accessed 26th Feb 2016.

Cheng, K Oaten, M. (2006). Longitudinal gains in self-regulation from regular physical exercise. Available: http://www.gpscbc.ca/sites/default/files/Longitudinal%20Gains%20in%20Self-regulation%20from%20Regular%20Physical%20Exercise.pdf. Last accessed 26th Feb 2016.

Gelb, S. (2016). How Successful People Do More in 24 Hours Than the Rest of Us Do in a Week. Available: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-successful-people-do-more-in-24-hours-than-the-rest-of-us-do-in-a-week. Last accessed 26th Feb 2016.

Mitchell, D. (2015). 7 Caffeine-Free Energy Boosters for More Productive Days. Available: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/251734. Last accessed 26th Feb 2016.

Neidlinger, J. (2014). 10 Productivity Hacks Backed by Science.Available: http://wheniwork.com/blog/productivity-hacks/. Last accessed 26th Feb 2016.

Patel, N. (2014). When, How, and How Often to Take a Break.Available: http://www.inc.com/neil-patel/when-how-and-how-often-to-take-a-break.html. Last accessed 26th Feb 2016.

Rosen, A. (2016). The Importance of Taking a Break From Work.Available: http://www.jobacle.com/blog/the-importance-of-taking-breaks-at-work.html. Last accessed 26th Feb 2016.

Ye, L. (2016). 7 Easy Morning Motivation Hacks to Kickstart Your Day. Available: http://blog.hubspot.com/sales/morning-motivation-hacks?utm_campaign=Social%20Topic%3A%20Productivity&utm_content=28396004&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter. Last accessed 26th Feb 2016.

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