How to Be More Productive at Work
Imagine…you pull up to the office, front row spot in your freshly washed European car and head to your corner office with the killer view. Or, imagine having the financial flexibility to take the dream vacation you’ve always wanted or finally splurge on that big purchase.
Is it possible? Yeah – but it won’t happen unless you become a master of your time and efforts – essentially, learning how to be more productive in your workday.
It’s a crucial element to your success. Those who are highly productive are masters of problem solving, prioritizing as well as discipline and self-control. If you’re smart, you’ll do everything with excellence and always maximize your opportunities. Because you never know if the big breakthrough you’ve been waiting for is right around the corner.
That’s why your productivity – essentially, what you are able to accomplish in a day is so important. You want to move the needle closer and closer to your ultimate destination. Highly productive days can help you get there.
If you want to learn how to be more productive at work, consider integrating the following strategies to accomplish more in a day:
1- Stop Plowing Through the Day without Taking Breaks
I know – I just mentioned how important it is to get stuff done, maximize your productivity and CRUSH the day. Now, I’m saying that you should take a break. I know it seems counterintuitive, but fatigue can seriously drain your productivity.
When we’re feeling fatigued, we tend to suffer from headaches, tension, or even dizziness. Imagine feeling foggy and dysfunctional while you’re pitching that proposal to the big client that you’ve been trying to win over. Or if you’re having trouble focusing during your performance review and you’re (unsuccessfully) trying convince your boss that you deserve a raise.
These symptoms can decrease your concentration, leading your work pace to slow – and eventually it shows up as poor performance. If you’re beginning to feel tired or sluggish at work, take a break to refresh.
A study conducted by Dr Alejandro Lleras at the University of Illinois demonstrated that the brain stops responding to stimulus that remains constant over a long period of time. Furthermore, in the study of 84 subjects, those who took two brief breaks during a task saw no decline in their performance, while there was a decline in production in those who took no breaks (1).
When you need a break from working or if you have a big meeting where you need to be on your toes, head outside for some fresh air ahead of time. Just a few minutes outside can refresh your brain and get your blood flowing.
Try taking regular sips of water too in order to stay hydrated throughout the day. Half your body weight in ounces of water each day is the minimum amount that your body needs to for ultimate productivity and high performance.
When you don’t get the right amount of hydration, you’ll start feeling tired and it could even create headaches and migraines. Dehydration can also make you feel like you’re hungry when you’re not. This leads to unnecessary snacking throughout the day that can pack on the pounds.
2- Upgrade Your Office Space
Your office setup is crucial piece of your productivity in a work day. Imagine working the entire day at your computer – your neck is strained, your back is aching and your wrists feel like they’re on fire. How much do you think you’ll be able to get done?
Conversely, imagine feeling so comfortable in your workspace that you don’t even notice the chair, the keyboard or any other aspects of your environment. Why? Because your office is set up in a way that allows you to focus on your work instead of the discomfort of an office space that’s not ergonomically friendly.
Ergonomics is simply the process of creating a work environment that maximizes your comfort and productivity while you work. If you’re sitting at a desk for most of the day, this is so important – not just for workplace productivity but also for your total health and wellbeing.
For more tips on office ergonomics, check out this article: Ergonomic Office Furniture and Other Tips for a Highly Productive Work Day
3- Snack on short, nutritious meals
Eating large meals can make you feel bloated while sugary snacks can cause your energy levels to crash. Instead, try eating smaller meals throughout the day or snack nutritious foods. Nuts, seeds and low glycemic fruits – like berries – make great snacks throughout the day. Find a trail mix that you like to curb hunger throughout the day between meals.
According to the World Health Organization, good nutrition can boost productivity levels by 20 percent (2). A study on food and productivity by The International Labour Organization (ILO) indicated that what we eat has a direct impact on our productivity (3). The ILO states that having access to healthy food is as necessary as being protected from noise or chemicals in the workplace.
So, what should you eat?
Different foods convert to energy at varying rates. Sugary foods will give you a fast energy boost, however, this isn’t sustained and your energy levels will fall quickly.
Be careful with energy bars because they can contain a lot of sugar. I like Epic Bars and Steve’s Paleo Kits. Epic bars are savory, grass-fed protein bars that curb cravings without a bunch of sugar or processed ingredients.
Steve’s Paleo Kits are also awesome because they contain grass-fed jerky, as well as nuts seeds and paleo friendly fruits. Both of these snacks are perfect to have on hand in the office and they also travel well, too. Perfect to break out in the airport when you don’t have many healthy options.
As mentioned before, berries are also a great snack. In particular, blueberries are rich in antioxidants to improve overall learning and protect the brain from free radicals. This also reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
If you have a sweet tooth, try dark chocolate with nuts and seeds. Dark chocolate is a natural stimulant and like nuts and seeds, is known to reduce cognitive decline that occurs as we age. My favorite brand is Green and Black. I love their 70% dark chocolate bars. When I pair it with some raw macadamia nuts I’m in heaven.
4- Exercise Before You Go to the Office
This one has been a game changer for me. I’ve always been a guy that loves fitness and exercise. But I can tell a marked difference when I’ve been on a regular workout routine during the week and when I’ve been slacking. And it doesn’t just affect how I feel – it affects my overall productivity throughout the day.
Exercise increases mental alertness, improves brain function, boosts circulation and increases energy. All of these things help to increase your productivity throughout the day.
You want to be more productive at work? Hit the gym at least 3 times a week and get a good workout in. Doesn’t have to be long. I’m usually in and out in 30 minutes. And it’s so well worth it.
5- Diffuse Essential Oils
Essential oils are powerful tools for increasing productivity. I particularly like to diffuse oils throughout the day because they help to improve my levels of focus and concentration. Here’s a few options that I enjoy:
Peppermint boosts mental alertness. I feel more energized and like I have more mental clarity when I’m diffusing peppermint. It’s a great “pick-me-up” in the office that doesn’t require sugar or carbs.
Wild Orange improves mood and promotes emotional balance. It blends very well with Peppermint and is one of the most popular essential oil blends.
Basil and Rosemary – I use these two essential oils when I’m feeling mental fatigue or adrenal fatigue and I need to concentrate. Sometimes if I’ve had a rough night of sleep (with two small kids this can happen), I’ll diffuse these two oils throughout the day to stay focused.
InTune Focus Blend – I use this focus blend right before I go into consultations or before a big meeting with a vendor or client. Because it’s in a rollerball form, I just apply directly to my cervical spine (back of my neck) and right under my nose. It helps to keep me focused and delivering my best work.
For more details on where we get our essential oils (and quite frankly what I believe is the best essential oils brand) click here.
Your Health and Your Productivity
Your health and how you function (not just how you feel) is one of the greatest determining factors of your productivity and success at work and in life. When you’re feeling your best, you’re able to outperform the competition and still feel great so you can spend time with the people you love.
Looking at workplace productivity as an extension of your total health and wellbeing is a great way to maximize your performance in every area of your life.
Do you have any secrets for workplace productivity? We love to hear from you, so please share in the comments below.