You’re at work. This morning all you could think about was food and how much coffee a human can drink before overdosing. Now, it’s afternoon and all you can focus on is how comfortable your bed is and what you’d do for a nap. It’s not that you want to be unproductive, but you just can’t get your big brain to get itself together enough to work.
Time to boost that productivity and go home having actually accomplished the majority of your work goals for that day. Take some baby steps, follow these 10 rules, and watch yourself go from longing for 5:00 to losing track of time because you’re so focused.
- Turn those tunes up: Research suggests that music positively affects mood and increases the desire to get work done. Make sure to have a playlist with songs you actually enjoy, because if you try to listen to classical music without being a classical music fan, you may find yourself snoozing on the desk. Streaming services like Spotify and Pandora have pre-created playlists to choose from, so you don’t even have to worry about taking the time to collate all your preferred tracks.
- Grab a healthy snack: If you have the rumbles in your tummy, it’s nearly impossible to focus on the task at hand. It’s human nature to prioritize survival over that Word document. So bring some fruit or nuts from home or raid the company pantry, but make sure to put healthy items down the tube or else you’ll just get more tired and antsy to go home.
- Put your phone away: This one is a tough one, but it does help. Instead of leaving your personal phone on the desk, where it can easily distract you with notifications and texts, try putting it in a drawer for an hour or so. Out of sight, out of mind. That Instagram story can wait, I promise.
- Go off-site for lunch: Pick yourself up off your office chair and leave the area for lunch. Just going outside and switching your environment will give you a natural boost in energy and refresh your mind. And work will seem less like jail when you can voluntarily leave at lunch and come back.
- Make lists: The amount of tasks we need to do on a daily basis can be overwhelming. Get in the habit of making a to-do list in the mornings while you’re having that cup of coffee, and prioritize the most important projects. It’ll keep you from stressing out about forgetting something throughout the day.
- Just say no: If something gets brought to you at work that isn’t your problem or responsibility, just say no. It’s a hard habit to get into, but once you do, suddenly your productivity is through the roof and you’re getting your tasks done on time.
- Get some sun: When you take that lunch break outside of the office, try to sit outside (weather permitting, of course). Sunrays have been known to improve mood, help sleep habits, and reduce the likelihood of sickness.
- Sleep more: Studies have shown that most Americans are sleep deprived, and the aftereffects can be more severe than we think. Strive for those full 8 hours or more—and no, 7 hours is not close enough. You’ll notice the heavy eyelids will go away.
- Early and later: Leave for work a little early, avoid that stress-inducing traffic, and have some peace and quiet to start your morning. Or hang around a little past 5:00 and miss the traffic jam going home, finish up your tasks, and feel better about the next day.
Enjoy what you do: If you absolutely hate your job, even following these rules won’t make you want to work. You have to like what you do at least most of the time in order to devote yourself to your projects like a professional. So find a position you enjoy and you’ll see a huge difference.