In times of stress at work, the impulse can often be to cast everything else aside and throw yourself into the business of getting stuff done. It ain’t pretty, but sometimes buckling down just feels like the best solution to crank up the productivity.
But actually, you work better when you refuse to give in to stress and anxiety. And one way to do so is to enforce the regularity of rituals and habits to keep yourself oriented within your schedule.
If your daily schedule resembles a plate of jelly the way that it just about holds together without any obvious structure and tends to wobble when tested, it’s time to start figuring some productivity rituals into your routine.
It starts as soon as you get up.
Freelancer cheat: if you work from home, this one can give you a boost right after lunch, instead!
Taking decent breaks is one of the first rituals to go when you’re stressed.
This is pretty counter-productive when you think about it. Perhaps the problem is that you don’t value the breaks you take.
Use your coffee or cigarette break to complete a short mindfulness task. Counting your breaths, or naming every sound you can hear, are great ways to bring your feet back onto the ground and ensure you’ll be more productive when you get back to the PC.
If that’s too intangible for you, try keeping a journal.
Writing stuff down by hand helps your brain to process it, as well as providing an ongoing record of what you’re actually achieving when you’re deep in the fug of a deadline.
Try it on your lunch break, and just use bullet-points if you’re not ready to get into deep prose. Even that much can start to improve your memory and comprehension skills.
And you may already have rituals that are in need of some tweaking.
If the first thing you do when you switch on your computer in the morning is to sink into that swamp of emails, congratulations: that’s a ritual. Unfortunately, it may not be a very productive one.
Instead, maintain a ‘to-do’ list and promise yourself to get one item ticked off before you even access your inbox each morning. It’s a great way to buoy your morale and, guess what, to get stuff ticked off your ‘to-do’ list.
You’re not a robot – and acknowledging your human nature with a daily ritual can help you to become more fulfilled and successful in the work that you do.
This new infographic gathers nine such productivity-boosting rituals so you can try a couple each week and see what works best for you.