It is the unspoken law of the workplace: a happy worker is a productive worker. For a lot of people, the nine-to-five grind can become quite mundane. Routine is one of the biggest destroyers of human ambition or innovation. This happens because the human brain loves the idea of excitement and thrill, which an office or work routine might take away from you. And by the time you are done from work, you are far too exhausted to try anything else.
Sometimes you feel like a work day has exhausted you completely, but you still have not been very productive. The feeling is quite common, actually. Productivity has been the cause of many a survey and statistical research. Economic growth is tied to worker productivity in the corporate sector, and much thought goes into how productivity can be increased. An example of this is given by this article by Statistics Canada, where productivity and its importance is explained in great detail.
Oftentimes this feeling of not being very productive despite the hours you put in comes from a lack of ownership of your workplace. Many people in the world often feel ‘stuck’ at work, or that they do not fulfill their potential. This can be changed by taking care of a few things in life and at work. This feeling of not being able to give your best can arise due to a lot of things in life. Stress can be a huge factor in unproductive hours.
Sarah is a designer at her firm. Been on the job for the past three years, she loves working in the design field in a corporate environment. However, she was starting to feel like she was not doing well in her job. She faced a lot of exhaustion at the end of the day but felt like she had nothing to show for it. It was starting to take a toll on her creativity and mental health.
If you feel like you can relate to Sarah, or know a friend who is going through a similar situation, read ahead to see the myriad ways you can make yourself more productive in the workplace.
Starting every morning in the usual haze can get truly taxing. It is necessary for you to begin a new day with clear objectives in mind. Planning out your day helps your mind become more organized. You would think that a schedule would confine you, and leave no room for spontaneity, but that is never the case. Beginning a day with a planned schedule can help you achieve tasks efficiently.
One of the reasons people often feel unproductive in their workplace is that they do not prioritize objectives, they set for themselves. People are the most active and alert in the early hours of the day, and that is when the most important tasks should be achieved. Once you have decided which task needs to be done when and for how long, do not beat around the bush. Get to it in the morning, when the mind is the most alert. The feeling of accomplishment after getting an important task out of the way with so many work hours remaining is unrivaled. It sets the mood for how the rest of your day will go, energizing you to get to other smaller tasks.
Multitasking is a farce! In a study by Earl K Miller, a neuroscience professor, multitasking is humanly impossible. The brain cannot focus on more than one task at the same time. What we call ‘multitasking’ is actually the brain shifting from one task to another very fast. That rapid shifting saps away the brain’s energy, leaving very less room for innovative thought. We know that on very stressful days when you have a great deal of work piled up, it’s tempting to try to do everything at once. But this never helps. So prioritize your tasks. Do one task, let the feeling of completion wash over you, and move on to the next.
This is a close companion to the previous tip. Most people feel that taking breaks can affect their workflow, but it actually has the opposite effect. Your brain needs rest, and your body needs movement. Statistics have shown that most office-workers develop low back pain problems because of the lack of movement in their workplace. Chronic back pain is often a given for those who have been working the nine-to-five office hours for years. More information on that can be found in this report.
Even if it’s a notification on your phone or a quick chat with your friend in the next cubicle, it can disrupt the flow of work. It seems harmless, looking up from your screen to ask a co-worker how her weekend went. We often don’t realize how interruptions break our train of thought. So put your phone on silent, and just get your head in the game. Reward yourself with occasional social breaks.
Eating healthy not only puts your body in shape but also freshens your mind. A healthy diet and a good sleep cycle let your body function at optimum capacity. Just the way a battery works, your body needs to recharge. At Pillars of Wellness, we often ask visitors about their diet and sleeping habits. Oftentimes just a well-made and well-kept routine can make your mind and body function many times better.
Meditation and yoga therapy can help you with getting that extra bit of relaxation after a tough day at the office. Meditation gives your brain that quiet space it needs after a trying day. This is the kind of therapy that you can invest in at any point in your lives. All it does is give you an added advantage to combat that stressful workplace routine.
Often, we forget about how a good chair is important. Especially, if you seat on it for 8 hours a day! Most employers do not invest in good chairs unless it's for themselves. Why? It's expensive. A good chair cost between $500 to $800. So, what are you left with? A desk, a computer screen, your mouse and a keyboard. Don't despair yet. You can still have a good set up and reduce chances of injury at work. You can either do your homework and set up your workplace by yourself or ask your employers or if you are the owner, you can hire an occupational therapist specialized in ergonomics. It's worth it and the benefits outweigh the problems that can arise with a bad set up.
So get out there and defeat the workplace blues! Remember to always take care of your body and your mind. The more you take care of them, the more productive you become.