The eight-hour workday was established back in the first half of the 1940s. Back then, that was a huge win for workers that used to spend twelve hours or more at their workplace. Although many decades have passed, the eight-hour workday is still a standard for many companies, but now we know that an average employee is only productive for around three hours a day. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t get more job done and be more focused during the time you spend in your office. So, if you don’t want to spend your working hours starring at the ceiling, here are some ways to increase productivity.
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Take a break once in a while
Nothing good ever came from pushing yourself too hard when you are aware you can’t get anything done. This can make you anxious and even less productive. If you are feeling mentally fatigued and can’t focus on your job, take a five or ten-minute break and take a walk down the hall or across the street to get some coffee or a healthy snack.
Minimize the distractions
Offices can be full of distractions, especially if you work in a contemporary open office plan. Try to reduce those attention-stealers to a minimum by using headphones (you can even play some white noise) to avoid the chatty colleagues and to let them know you are busy right now. If you have an office with a door, even better – keep them closed.
Don’t juggle your tasks
Multitasking seems like it makes perfect sense when you want to finish your chores faster, but it can be very counterproductive. If you are taking on two or more tasks at once, you can get distracted more easily. This way, you can get sloppy and the quality of your work can suffer. Try to take one activity at a time, and do your best with each of them.
Make your workplace comfortable
A chair that makes your back hurt, desk height that makes your wrists uncomfortable and an office that looks like a place you want to get away from surely won’t encourage efficiency, but you know what will? An ergonomically designed chair, an appropriate height desk and homey office décor. This includes a soft rug to put your feet on, some dear mementos and a few other accessories that make the office closer to home.
Keep your workplace organized
The previous tip doesn’t mean you should clutter your workplace with all sorts of decorative elements. Your workstation should be neat and organized, unless you want to have a nervous breakdown every time you think you might have misplaced or lost a document or something else. Besides the desk itself, you should also keep your PC well-organized, and this includes both your desktop and email.
Get your blood pumping
Researchers at Stockholm University and Karolinska Institutet found that physical activity increases productivity. The benefits are twofold if you get some exercise done at your very workplace. You will instantly feel refreshed and better focused, and you will minimize the harmful sedentary behavior that can otherwise lead to slowed metabolism, obesity, lower-back pain, and other more severe consequences.
“Ignore” the outside world
Unless there is an emergency, your family members, friends or partners shouldn’t call or visit you at your workplace. Also, you should turn off the social media notifications and try not to check your non-work accounts while in the office.
Get some greenery
A 2014 study found that having plants in the office can increase productivity for up to 15 percent. This happens because plants improve air quality, boost the power of concentration, increase the overall work satisfaction and, simply put, give you something nice to look at.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Last time you checked, you didn’t have superpowers, right? So why do you expect you can do everything perfectly? Sure, you should give yourself deadlines and goals, but you need to do those tasks to the best of your ability, and that should be good enough at any given time.
Working hard is considered to be a great virtue, but you know what’s an ever better one? Working smart. These tips will help you be more productive at your workplace without stretching yourself too thin.