Sometimes it’s hard to focus on your work. You sit at your desk and become distracted by the slightest thing. You know that you need to get on with your work, but somehow you can’t.
These six things have helped me to increase my productivity. The good news is that they have nothing to do with work itself!
Get away from your desk
If you sit at your desk from 9 am until 5 pm (or longer) every day, you’ll definitely become bored.
So, there’ll be times when you’ll try to find something to distract you, whether it’s social media, a game or your email.
When you return to work after a distraction, do you feel refreshed and better able to work? If not, try to get away from your desk more.
I’m as guilty of sitting at my desk for too long as anyone else, but I do find that if I take a micro-break of 5 minutes an hour (or most hours) away from my desk, I’m more productive.
During this five minutes, I might make a cup of tea, do some easy stretches to relieve tension in my back, neck and shoulders, or put some laundry in the washing machine. As you can see, I work from home!
If five minutes away from your desk every hour isn’t possible for you, try taking deep breaths at your desk (see below) or a longer break at lunchtime.
If it’s difficult to leave your desk during your working day, stop what you’re doing, plant your feet firmly on the floor, place your hands lightly in your lap, close your eyes if possible, and take ten deep breaths.
For each breath, breathe in for a count of four and breathe out for a count of four or five.
Feel the tension release and disappear.
Spend more time with other people
By this, I mean face-to-face time with other people in the real world, rather than time on social media, texting or chatting online.
Arrange to meet a friend for coffee or lunch. If you run your own business, go to a local networking event and meet other business owners. Find out about other events in your local area. Book one that interests you, and go and meet new people.
Human contact is especially important if you work from home, because you’re missing out on the everyday social interactions that people who go out to work take for granted. Therefore, you’ll need to be more proactive and schedule in time for meeting other people.
A healthy body and a healthy mind go hand in hand. Therefore, if you want to be more productive at work, you need to take time — or make time — to exercise.
You don’t have to do very strenuous exercise. A walk in the fresh air, either first thing in the morning or at lunchtime, will energize and revive you so that you’ll be more productive when you start or return to work.
I find that the easiest way of including exercise in my working week is to book regular exercise classes at my local sports center. That way, I can plan my exercise time in advance rather than talking myself out of an exercise session because I have a deadline to meet.
Exercising alone requires greater self-discipline, although I also do this sometimes. If you go to a class, you have the added benefit of spending more time with other people which is another key to increased productivity.
I find that, if I start the day with meditation, everything flows more easily and I’m much more productive at work than when I don’t meditate.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t encounter work-related challenges and issues but, after I’ve meditated, I find it much easier to deal with these and they don’t get me down as much as they would otherwise.
Even just ten minutes of meditation before starting a busy day is beneficial and will help you to concentrate and be more productive during the day.
Live in the Moment
Decide that you’ll enjoy every moment of your working day, no matter what that moment brings.
Don’t spoil one moment by worrying about what could happen later on in the day or tomorrow or even next week or next year.
Just focus on each moment as it arises and then go onto the next moment. If worrying thoughts come into your head, just imagine they are a cloud and let them float away.
This is easier said than done! But, if you’re able to live in the moment for at least some of your working day, you’ll find it much easier to concentrate on the task at hand and your productivity will increase.
It’s normal for your productivity to fluctuate from day to day and over the course of a single day. However, there are some non-work-related things you can do to improve your overall productivity.
Try one or more of these suggestions and let me know how you get on. If you have any other productivity-boosting tips, please share them.