7 Psychological Principles to Improve Productivity in the Workplace 78

7 Psychological Principles to Improve Productivity in the Workplace

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.

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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.

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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.

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Becoming Your Own Boss: Tips on Getting a Business Off The Ground 8

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Becoming your own boss is a complicated process, and not everyone does it the same way.

I got lucky. I was still working when I got my business off the ground, so I had a source of income while I was working the kinks out of my business. I did most of my work for the new business when I got home or on the weekends. I asked for a change in job responsibilities at the office so that I didn’t have as much on my plate.

This all gave me a chance to start earning money without going into debt. When it was feasible, I stopped working my regular job and transitioned into working for myself full time. It took about a year and a half.

Establish clear boundaries.


Sometimes people don’t take you seriously when you tell them that you work for yourself. They think you are always available to chat or have lunch.

I had a number of friends that would call me at all hours, assuming I was available because they wanted to talk. Granted, it was nice to have that freedom at first. But, I soon realized that if I was going to be successful, I couldn’t let those kinds of distractions interrupt my workday.

Save before you start working for yourself full time.

I was in pretty good shape when I made the transition, but looking back, a few more months with a paycheck would have been wonderful.

When you start your own business, money can be very tight. You never know what you are going to make month to month.

I had one customer that initially made up most of my revenue. That customer only paid on a quarterly basis, which meant that times were tough in between payments.

I had to spend money to build the business, which meant there wasn’t a lot left over. If I didn’t get a payment right on time, it was very difficult to deal with.

There were times when I had to ask for a loan from family members simply to pay my bills.

Reach out and build a support network.

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It can be really difficult to adjust at first. You have great days and you have terrible days. You meet goals some months, while other months you are left wondering where you went wrong.

If you make a mistake, you alone are responsible for it and your business and reputation can suffer. It is easy to feel depressed at times. You may even start to feel like you can’t handle running a business and that you made a big mistake when you left your office job.

Remember that you are not alone. All entrepreneurs have these moments, which is why it is so important to connect with others in the field.

Take time for yourself.

I had a honeymoon period of about half a year. It was really exciting to see the business get bigger. Each milestone that I met was a reason to celebrate.

However, heading into the second year, it was more difficult. I was tired. Things weren’t as exciting because they weren’t new anymore. And then, year three came along. I was done with working such long hours.

I was done with having no time off. Burnout is certainly an issue in this business, so you have to figure out how to balance your personal and your professional needs.

It took me a long time to get where I am today. I had to do a lot of research. I had to educate myself on business. I had to find an SEO expert. I had to figure out who my main competitors were and keep an eye on them. I also had to stay current with what was happening in the field so that I didn’t fall behind.

No matter how hard I worked, it seemed like I could never get caught up. Running a business is a big responsibility.

If you are interested in starting your own business, you want to set yourself up for success. Try to cut back on your living expenses. Make sure you have substantial savings. Set up an area in your home where you can work, free from distractions.

If you are married, get your spouse on board. He or she can help pay bills while you are getting your business off the ground.

Your business is only as good as you are.

Make sure you have a support system of other business professionals. These people can help you acknowledge your weaknesses, encourage you to keep moving forward and advise you on common mistakes.

You can try and go it alone, but it will be very difficult for you. As with anything else in life, your support network has a lot to do with your success. You are probably strongly invested in your business; after all, it is something that you created. Make sure you have people that you trust to help you along the way.


Grace Lee has been practicing in the field of digital marketing for several years now. She has already brought numerous sites in search engines’ first pages in search results. In her spare time, she loves listening to podcasts about Google algorithm updates and other matters related to SEO.