This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)
In many of my articles you could read about what you should do to be more productive in the workplace. And often a program, the starting point of my recommendation: calendar, todo list manager, mail program, etc., was a program I had to use.
However, the basis for making the best use of the above mentioned tools is a system that should enable you to collect, organize and process tasks, appointments and notes quickly and easily. Processing” is also the only action that can make you more productive. Not collecting or organizing in nicely polished programs. No – the work must be “done”.
Programs should only inform you at the right time, or in a specific place, about what to do next. But they are not meant to keep you inside the tool all day and not get the job done.
Still, I can understand that it might take you longer to implement your own system, select and set up the right programs, or reprogram your habits.
Today I will tell you how you can increase your productivity with little tricks without having to put your whole focus on programs.
- Please take short breaks more often
Perhaps you are familiar with the situation: You have been working on a difficult task for some time now and you have the feeling that the more time you invest, the more complex it seems to become. Time for you to give your brain a little time out. 5 to 10 minutes in which you direct your thoughts to another topic. This can be a walk to the coffee machine, a short conversation with a work colleague, or a short walk on your own. Often the many turns are then unknotted and the task seems clearer, so that you can work it off bit by bit.
- Drink plenty of water
A tip that I myself should take more seriously. Water gives you energy. But don’t wait until you are thirsty before your body switches to “economy mode”. If, like me, you drink a lot of coffee during the day, try drinking 2 glasses of water with every cup of coffee you pour.
- Practice regularly
Sport helps the body to become resistant. Especially in the winter time, when many of your colleagues are sitting snugly in the office, good defences help you not to get sick. Usually you have a lot to do and even when you are ill you cannot afford to waste time by staying at home to get well. You know what I am getting at? 15 to 20 minutes of regular exercise will help. I try to realize this 3 to 4 times a week. But decide on the basis of your daily planning: If you have a lot to do and a lot of appointments, you should perhaps choose another day. I go jogging with our dog for lunch 2 days a week when I am in the home office. You get a good dose of fresh air, exercise and in the end, after a hot shower, you feel ready to tackle the tasks ahead. Sport should help you to reduce stress and improve your condition. However, do not allow yourself to feel stressed if you do not exercise. That would be counterproductive.
- Make sure you eat the right food
Heavy and fatty food can be a real brake. All your energy goes down after such a meal and you literally notice how tired you are in the afternoon and how little drive you have. Try light food: …rice, chicken breast strips with salad, etc. Unfortunately, many canteens and restaurants offer rather bad food during the lunch break – too much sugar, fat, processed food etc. Why not cook a little more of your healthy food at the weekend and take it with you to the office during the week. It saves time because it’s already prepared, it’s tasty and above all it’s healthy.
- Change the place where you work
By this I do not mean that you should terminate your current employment – only in case of emergency. However, if you have many interruptions from colleagues, a noisy open-plan office, or sick employees around you, sometimes moving to a home office, or a focus room is a good idea. Block time in your calendar and get your work done. Give your annoying fellow men office hours. This has two effects:
- you finally get to do your work in peace (and in good quality)
- people take you more seriously if you are not always available immediately and for everyone. Your opinion, your knowledge and your willingness to help others should never be taken for granted.
- Sleep sufficiently much
Imagine having a whole day to yourself. No one would bother you, there would be no calls from customers or urgent mails to answer. Your tasks are clearly formulated and priorities are set. And now imagine you are infinitely tired in the process. Your thoughts are circling and you simply lack the strength to concentrate for a long time. Lack of sleep can be poisonous for your productivity and for interpersonal relationships. Insufficient sleep makes you agitated, aggressive and therefore unable to be productive. For me, about 6 hours is a good value, so that I am fit and awake the next day. 7 or more hours make me in a much better mood, more energetic and ready for the day.
With these tips, which you can implement without much effort, your productivity will increase quickly. You will start the day in a friendlier, calmer and more energetic manner. You will be more motivated, with other people getting infected.
And my last advice: Don’t try to implement all tips immediately. Give yourself time and start with one (or two) items from the list above. If you try to change all your habits with one big bang, you will inevitably fail and feel bad afterwards.
Start by drinking a little more water a day and taking more frequent breaks in your working day. Next month you will go to bed 30 minutes earlier. And so on and so on.