Let me start with a disclaimer, I am not pretending that I am a guru of some sort who knows how to handle work pressure in any situation. I am writing this as I think this may help you if you are in a similar situation as I once was. It was becoming difficult for me to increase productivity, I wasn’t able to concentrate and wasn’t producing the results I wanted to produce. Then I made these small adjustments.
It’s not that I practice all of the days in and day out, but I follow most of them every day. In a way, this is similar to the other projects I mentioned before, how to be a better person in 15 ways and how to feel good and increase productivity.
Believe me, if you are happy with your work environment, you can get things done fairly quickly and feel more satisfied. Needless to say, you get noticed for your work and dedication.
It is of utmost importance that you increase your earning potential to take better care of your finances. Ultimately it’s your work that pays your bills.
20 tips to be productive at work
1. Cleanup and decorate your cubicle – A clean and uncluttered workplace has a connection with my efficiency. I like to start my day with a clean desk, I make sure to arrange things properly before I leave work. I believe that a cluttered workplace may result in a cluttered and unorganized thought and ideas.
2. Check your eyes – I didn’t have classes till 2007. I noticed a lack of concentration and headaches before realizing it’s due to eye power. I had serious issues at work that year. It may happen when your eye power fluctuates. Don’t miss the yearly eye checkup. Also do some eye exercises like frequent blinking, making ‘number 8’ with eye movement, etc. This is an excellent resource for eye exercise.
3. Use an anti-glare screen if you use a computer at work – Especially if you work on a computer as I do. Glare from a computer screen can cause fatigued and strained eyes. If I can’t look at a computer screen for long, how can I do my work? In my list, this has a very high priority.
4. Stay hydrated, drink water. Over time, drinking water has a far more positive effect compared to tea or coffee. Plus, the occasional trip to the water cooler, coffee machine, or copy machines is a great way to stand up and move around, as well as socialize with other coworkers who are also on a break.
5. Stretch few times during off calls and meetings – It relaxes your muscles. Do a few sit-ups and some physical exercise while at your desk. I raised a few eyebrows at first, now I see others doing it frequently too.
6. Drink water continuously – Stay hydrated, drink water. Over time, drinking water has a far more positive effect compared to tea or coffee. Not that you should stop drinking tea or coffee, in-fact tea helps me a lot during afternoons and early mornings. Just increase your water intake.
7. Go outside a couple of times – At least once a day, take a walk. Sunlight and physical activity are good for focus, mood, and memory retention. I am fortunate to have a lake right next to our office which makes my outing more pleasurable.
8. Use a headset – If your job requires you to use your phone frequently. Specifically, use a blue tooth headset for that matter. Holding on to the phone receiver while working on the keyboard is an extremely difficult proposition. I often take a walk near my cubicle while talking. A wireless headset makes it possible.
9. Set a specific time for checking emails – this is about time management. I found it takes a solid couple of hours to read, understand, and reply to emails. When I try to combine with other work, it takes much more time to focus and refocus. I now set two hours, in a chunk of 30 mins each, and check my emails 4 times a day.
10. Do hard and difficult tasks first – Procrastination makes a difficult task more difficult, apparently when you are under time pressure. Some critical tasks, when completed, gives mental stimulation and a sense of achievement. I do difficult tasks as early as possible, leaving aside less important tasks.
11. Wish as many passersby as you can – at the end of the day, we are social animals, be in a good term with people at your work. Be cheerful and spread happiness. And, do you remember Newton’s third law?
12. Keep a family picture at your desk – Purely for mental peace and to maintain calm. To get reminded of people you love and care for. Especially beneficial when you work under pressure or while facing a bad day in the office.
13. call your spouse/significant other/children at least once – This is also another psychological booster. Call your loved one and ask about the day. It will make both of your work life better. Earlier, I told SMB not to call me at work unless there’s an urgent matter. I was a fool, now I call her every day and talk for a few mins, it’s a morale booster for sure.
14. Help one colleague – I get mental satisfaction and recognition when I help someone else. Whether it is finding a solution to a problem or showing someone where the printer is, you can always help a colleague if you wish. It may boost your energy and self-respect even with a trivial effort.
15. Take breaks to relax and converse with colleagues – I work for more than 10 hours each day. I haven’t yet seen a person who can work at a stretch for that long, it’s humanly impossible. Take breaks, mingle with your colleagues, ask about their family or their weekend plan, share a joke.
16. Take a group lunch, if possible – This is another example of maintaining social work life. Lunchtime discussion increases your awareness of the things happening at work. It takes your mind away from work pressure and problems temporarily which is good for the brain.
17. Keep fruits for late afternoon – It’s good for your health as well. My empty stomach doesn’t let me be fully concentrated on work problems. I fight a mental battle to keep my mind away from food. So, I decided to keep an apple or a few grapes with me. I was addicted to salted nuts but, the growing belly made me switch over to fruits now.
18. Sit properly – At the age of 36 I am having back problems. It’s scary to think about the consequences I may face a few years down the line. It is due to not taking care of proper sitting arrangements, not adjusting my adjustable chair. You shouldn’t do the same mistake, back pain is a terrible productivity drainer at work.
19. Don’t use a speakerphone – You will surely annoy someone if you do otherwise. Sound pollution is as bad as any other pollution.
20. Use as less instant messages as possible, use the phone more often – at my work, we use Skype and Slack for interoffice instant messaging, it helps when the person is sitting 9,000 miles away, but I get annoyed when someone within 50 feet sends chat messages. Chatting, as opposed to a phone conversation, takes time. To manage your time better, pick up the phone and call the other person rather than sending chat messages.
21. Try to keep plants and stare at them occasionally – Staring at Green is good for eye health. Looking at a plant surely soothe your eyes.
I found it works great if I stop by other co-workers, I get a far better result and it saves a lot of time, and most importantly, my fingers get rest.
Readers, are you happy at work? Do you want to share your tips and thoughts about being more productive and enjoy the work environment?
Daisy @ Add Vodka says
I totally agree with lots of these. I find when I have a clean desk, I’m more productive. Also, if I get up and stretch every once in awhile. I think it’s important to also only check emails during specified times, too, otherwise it’s possible to get caught in the email trap!
Jai Catalano says
These are good points. I use a bunch on here. Stretching the legs. Eat out with a group. I don’t sit properly… Not because I can’t but because I found comfort in the uncomfortable.
Christopher @ This That and The MBA says
I have to check my email anytime my little reminder pops up to tell me a new one is there. And i am with Jai, I sit more for comfort rather than ergonomics. My feet are up on an empty crate under my desk and I am laying back in my chair. Being 6’4 I can reach everything on my desk in this position. The Ihome playing Ipod is within reach and keeps cranking out the music all day. Speaking of that I need some new music
Sitting properly, drinking a lot of water and taking a little walks in a day are my way to at my best in office
PB @ EconomicallyHumble.com says
i use a timer at work and love it. A friend recommended program that track time and reminds you to take stretch breaks in addition to a timer but I have yet to research and buy one.
I also recommend water breaks to dilute the gallons of coffee I love to drink
Joe @ Retire By 40 says
I think having a good relationship with your coworkers is the best way to keep work from being tedious. If you have a good time with friends, it’s much easier to endure crappy works.
Marissa @ Thirty Six Months says
These are fantastic tips. My favourite tip for being happy at work is finding something you love doing everyday!
Tie the Money Knot says
Really good tips. It’s not natural to sit in a chair for hours on end and stare at a computer screen. We must try to remember our eyes, muscles, and social needs – among other things. Like anything else, balance is important at work, and that includes balancing intense focus with periodic disengagement and consideration for our immediate health and happiness!
Money Infant says
When I was still doing the cubicle thing I followed all of these except #16. I was always the guy eating lunch at his desk, usually because I was working on the blogs 🙂
And because I was in a support position I can tell you that #19 is annoying not only to the people around you, but also to the person on the other end of the line. Please stop with the speakerphone and follow suggestion #8!
Good tips here.. I like that you chose to focus on the social side of the coin at work.. Having friendships with your co-workers is so important to job satisfaction.
Julie @ Freedom 48 says
You’ve got some great tips there! I think talking to passers by can be beneficial AND detrimental though. Yes, it fosters better relationships with your colleagues, but it also encourages them to stop and chat with you… therefore interrupting your work countless times each day.
hmmmm i think these are some really good tips,,but if your job is your passion,as in if u make money outa a hobby den u l not need d cheer me ups:(but den in reality its rare and dificult to pursue a hobby or passion as a career:)thanks for sharing
[email protected] Budget Big Dreams says
19 is so true and so frustrating for me. Although I have a private office, I never use speaker phone (the walls aren’t soundproof). I don’t want to hear your conversation and you don’t want to hear mine. What’s particularly annoying about our phones is they automatically go to speaker from the front desk. So when the front desk calls me to let me know I have a client or a call it’s automatically on speaker. I don’t have the option to let it ring, or not pick it up. “Beep…Kari? I have a call on line 3 for your”. It’s horrible. Ditto for if I’m meeting with a client and one of my co-workers calls during the middle of the meeting. I can’t silence it or let it ring, I’m automatically on speaker. Makes you careful about the conversations you’re having with people 😉
Aloysa @My Broken Coin says
I have to admit that number one tip works like a charm. I got behind at work, papers started to pile around me, my cubicle became a mess. A big time mess. It took a day to clean it. Can you believe it? But I have to admit, it was the best thing I did at work in a long time. I am so much more focused and productive. Clean up, people! It works! 🙂
As you pointed out, maximizing your own productivity at work is crucial to your wellbeing and, let’s face it, your sanity. All of these things that you pointed out are techniques you can implement yourself, yet it doesn’t , nor should it, stop at the individuals actions. While all of these things assist in making your life on the job easier, one of these, I’m sure you’ll agree, is commonly blocked by companies and that’s #15. What if you’re not the socializing type? What if all you want to do is check your facebook page or get the latest update on the NCAA scores but in the end, you can’t because your company blocks those sites.
The thing is, companies can do so much more than the individual at making the workplace more relaxing and, in turn, more productive. By releasing these blocks and allowing the employees themselves to dictate when they work and when they break and how long they do each, they become more responsible with getting the job done by the deadline. Putting productivity software, such as WorkMeter, that allow employees to break wherever they want on the net, monitors the amount of time they spend, and then shows them their productivity level grants them more control. More control, as you guys know, makes for happier and more productive people.
For me it is music! Nothing beats music when it comes to productivity!
Chris Gold says
These are really great tips. I love to get out of the office for a walk but my scenery isn’t so great which is a bit frustrating. A little music doesn’t hurt as long as it’s accepted. I find that it actually increases focus and certainly makes the more tedious aspects of any job bearable.
Josh @ Live Well Simply says
Great list! Noticed a typo on lucky number 13. I think you meant spouse, not souse. Cheers!
See I gave you one reason to comment here, isn’t it? Thanks for pointing it out, corrected now.
Joe @ Retire By 40 says
Drink the company’s Koolaid and don’t question the corporate culture. That will keep you happy. 😉
Oh, what a wisdom! Coming from heart Joe?
Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin says
One of the best things I started doing at work was waiting until I had a block of 2 hours where I knew nobody would bother me and get all my hard and tedious tasks done. Before and after this time block I made a point to go socialize/network with coworkers. It has brightened my day severely.
Jonathan Craig says
Great tips here — been struggling the last few days. Gotta gear back up!
being happy in a job can also be about the people you work with, management and core values of that business. If you work in a toxic workplace this may have a huge impact on wellbeing and job satisfaction. Thanks for sharing these useful tips!
Mac | Finance Care Services says
To stay productive at work requires a more mental and physical booster.
I read your tips it can help me in my office to stay productive throughout the day.
Thanks for sharing…
Emmah Williams says
These are really great tips.I have to admit that number one tip works like a charm. I find when I have a clean desk, I’m more productive.Sitting properly, drinking a lot of water and taking a little walks in a day are my way to at my best in office.
Gyan Ranjan says
Thanks for your amazing tips which brings happiness in life. Plantation and gardening are really a good way to get happy for whole day.
calling your children while work break seems a great idea i will try out and thank you
for this wonderful article it was really helpful
NW Maids says
I love tip number 6 – drink plenty of water.
I usually keep a large gallon of water right by my work desk. It’s great to stay hydrated, but I also end up running to the bathroom a lot!
It’s also very important to drink a lot of water if you’re doing chores like house cleaning!
Jeff Fang says
Totally agree with the stretching point. I’ve always had back issues from sitting in one place so much but getting up every hour or so and stretching it out has always helped. Great post!