I recently read an article about productivity at work and I thought it would make a fun post.
Savvy Sugar reports that the average woman’s work day consists of 35% ‘productive work’.
Where does the rest go?
- Email 20.8%
- Looking for stuff 18.75%
- Internet searches 13%
[If you ask me, email, looking for stuff, and interruptions are also work!]
I think most of us can agree that we wish there was more time in the day to get things accomplished. Here are some of my favourite tips and tricks for maximizing the work day productivity!
1. Cross it off
Before you go to sleep, make a list of what you want to accomplish the next day, starting with the most important things first. Make sure you include easy-to-accomplish tasks too! Crossing things off a list is fun and it gives you confidence to keep going.
Making a list before sleep is also thought to help you fall asleep faster because you are able to ‘empty’ your mind. Having a good night’s sleep is also crucial for a productive morning!
2. Make rising fun
Give yourself something to get excited about first thing in the morning so you feel eager to get out of bed. My motivation is usually spending time with Eric before he goes to work, a delicious breakfast, or even getting excited about an early morning workout. When I know the weather is nice, I pump myself up for a great run and imagine how good I will feel after. Oh, and Sketchie helps with rising…but you knew that already ;)
Other motivation: Peanut Butter and Jam Vegan Overnight Oats!
3. Get a buzz, but don’t overdo it.
Caffeine in the form of loose leaf Japanese Sencha Green tea always makes me feel focused within seconds without that jittery feeling. Occasionally, I also like to have a cup of French press coffee in the afternoon if I need a boost, especially when doing a boring task…like entering 170 recipes into Recipage! Oh yes, I drank a lot of coffee to complete that mission!
4. Get the blood pumping
I’m not always successful at working out first thing in the morning, but when I do I feel my best all day long. I start my day feeling upbeat and accomplished! It helps if I pump myself up the night before, pick a few new workout songs, and also get my workout gear ready next to the bed. The easier I make it for myself to get up and go, the more likely I am to do it. I’ve never regretted a workout first thing in the morning.
5. Plan Breaks
Most people function best when they have regular mental and physical breaks to look forward to. When I’m doing a rather boring task like entering business expenses into Excel, I like to take a 5 minute break for every 30 minutes of work. I am able to focus much better when I give myself a stimulating break.
Make your break a reward time for you! Walk around to get blood flowing, do your desk stretches!!!, hit up your favourite websites, chat with a friend (talking actually stimulates and energizes your mind!), drink some water. Breaks keep my motivation high, happiness up, and I’m able to focus on the task without my mind wandering. If I can squeak out 50 minutes of productivity for every hour, I’m a happy girl!
6. Mid-Morning Fuel
When I workout in the morning, I typically like to have a small mid-morning snack to keep me going until lunch (which is usually around 1pm).
My fav snacks? Protein-packed hummus, crackers, and veggies or an apple and almond butter or ABU (image above).
7. Nix the email & Twitter compulsion
Email and social media is a huge time suck for many of us (you too, Grandma!). It’s not practical to say that you shouldn’t check your email in the morning, so what works for me is scheduling a certain amount of time for email at regular intervals. I devote a certain chunk of time to email in the morning and another chunk of time to email in the afternoon. By chunking email this way, I’m able to get a lot more accomplished instead of checking it every 10 minutes and then getting distracted. I used to start my day with email, but now I like to check a couple important things off my list before I even open it.
I’ve also stopped keeping Twitter open during the day. When I take a break, I may open it and spend a few minutes on it, but for the most part I get so much more done when it’s not distracting me!
8. Turn up the Baroque!
Studies show that you are able to concentrate better, relieve stress, block out noise, and improve communication when listening to Baroque music. The key is to listen to music that doesn’t have a beat. This way, it won’t be distracting and will create white noise blocking out all other sounds (like annoying coworkers!). Don’t know where to find it? Try Grooveshark– it’s free and easy to use.
9. Find Your Prime
Figure out when you work best and then schedule your toughest tasks around that time. I am 100% without a doubt, a morning worker. I have my most productive hours between 8am and 1pm. My mind is clear, I’m able to write, and I can crank out a to do list like nobody’s business. My alertness and focus starts to dwindle by mid-afternoon, so I typically reserve my baking/cooking and photography for the afternoon and keep my writing/desk tasks for the morning.
Find out what works for you and plan your day around your body’s cycles!
What are your tips for a productive (I just typed ‘reproductive’, whoops!!) morning? Share below!