This is a guest post by Yazi Jepson, a freelance writer.
Productivity is a hot button topic in today’s workplaces. As digital tools make it increasingly easier to get more done faster, it is tempting to simply pursue this approach.
But productivity is not as simple as cramming more work into the same workday. It is critical that the work being done is also optimized to meet organizational and personal worker goals more rapidly and effectively.
This requires both physical and psychological adjustments. It is the latter we will be discussing in this article as we explore seven psychological ways to increase productivity in the workplace.
1. Plan ahead for each fresh workday.
When you were a kid, did you lay out your school outfit for the next day the night before? If you did, you probably slept more soundly knowing that task was off the next morning’s to-do list.
As this article from Entrepreneur points out, the same holds true for pre-planning your workday.
Psychologically speaking, the best time to plan out your goals for the next workday is right after you finish today’s workday. This is when your ideas are most fresh in your mind and your planning will have the most mental and emotional continuity.
2. Take breaks strategically.
Gone are the decades where workers were required to take set breaks at set times throughout the day, whether they wanted or needed them at those times or not.
Today, workers are increasingly encouraged to take breaks when they need them, which is when they are feeling stuck, stymied, stressed out or psychologically stretched.
As Psychology Today highlights, researchers have now pinpointed a strong brain-body connection that is being called the “science of creativity.”
In other words, when you get up and move about, your body will help your brain get unstuck, resolve obstacles, generate fresh perspectives and move you closer to achieving your goals. Together, your body and brain will show you new ways to increase productivity at work.
3. Wave goodbye to multi-tasking.
Are you the type of person that is suitable to multitask? If your goal is reliable productivity, multi-tasking is not going to be your friend.
This insightful post from Forbes about the myth of multitasking highlights just how deadly multi-tasking can be to productivity.
In fact, trying to multitask your way through the average day will give you the opposite of what you are trying to achieve – more mistakes, adds more time to each task and generates less desirable results in general.
4. Maintain a clean and organized workstation.
This post from The Huffington Post states that the typical worker will spend an estimated 60 minutes per work day just trying to locate lost or misplaced items!
This can include invoices, digital and hardcopy files, memos, emails and (of course) that all-important stapler.
An organized work station helps you get more done. It starts by giving you space to actually work, guiding you where to start and what to do next, instead of stacking new work on top of old ones. This can also be applied to the space on your laptop. Keeping files on your laptop organized is as important as keeping your desk clean. This way you can easily locate the files you need quickly. Your workflow will not be stopped, the flow will be going smoothly.
Clearly, a lack of basic organization in the work area is no friend of productivity. You may think you work best in “creative chaos,” but the data suggests otherwise.
5. Eat to energize your brain.
Shape magazine highlights an interesting fact about workday eating patterns. When surveyed, workers state they mostly start with a healthy breakfast and even a healthy lunch.
But guess what happens when the mid-afternoon munchies hit? It is all downhill from there, these respondents report.
Work stress definitely plays a part in food choices. Higher stress tends to equate to less healthy meals and snacks. Psychologists call this “emotional eating” and it can set up a vicious cycle that repeats day in and day out.
To overcome emotional eating at work, tune in to what your brain needs rather than what your temporary emotional state is demanding. Your productivity will improve and your mood will likely follow.
6. Say NO to distractions.
There are more distractions in today’s workplaces than at any other time in history. Many such distractions come from smart devices, which seem to be continually beeping, chiming and buzzing to grab our attention away from what we are working on.
But these distractions are stealing away more than just a moment of your time. They are stealing away your productivity and they aren’t even trying to hide it!
Turning off your phone, setting specific times to answer emails, even closing your door when you are working towards intense deadlines can all be respectful ways to guard your work time and your productivity.
7. Keep your goals in sight – literally.
One of the hands-down best ways to ways to improve productivity in the workplace is to keep your goals in front of you – literally.
Whether that means taping them to your bedroom ceiling and on the walls of your office or making your goals into computer screensaver and phone homepage images, keep those goals within your sight if you want to achieve them.
By following these seven tips to ways to improve productivity at work, your workday will become more enjoyable and more successful as well.