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How to be productive during the whole working day

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Productivity is perhaps one of the most important aspects of any career. It doesn’t matter if you work in an office, or if you run your own business, or even if you are a self-employed freelancer, your work depends on how much you can accomplish throughout your day.

And by that we don’t necessarily mean for employees to be chained to their desks, working by counting seconds until the day’s end. It’s practically impossible (and very inadvisable) not to separate yourself from your work, even when in the office. People are entitled to stretch their legs, greet their colleagues, and even deal with additional work duties that might not directly impact their own jobs.

Productivity is not related to simply sitting out your work hours. It depends on the individual, as well as the environment. Some might even say the person’s character has some impact as well. However, in order to help you grasp a better understanding of what influences employees and might hinder or improve productivity, in this article we will present some advice you could implement in your career.

Known When You’re Most Productive

Perhaps one of the simplest and most common advice is to know when you are most productive. Some employees may be more active in the morning, while others could find it better to work in the afternoon. This can be related to a variety of factors, such as sleeping schedule or personality traits. For example, if you often feel sleepy in the morning and need coffee as a way to enhance your concentration, perhaps it’s best to leave difficult tasks for when you feel more awake, such as the second half of your workday. Alternatively, if you find the second half of the day drag on for you, then it could be safe to assume mornings are when you are more concentrated.

The main reason why productivity time is important is fairly obvious – this is the optimal time for you, ensuring your tasks are fulfilled in a timely manner and with great attention. This not only helps you tackle the difficult assignments but also increases your credibility in front of coworkers and clients alike. If you manage to pin down the time that’s most productive for you, you can increase your efficiency, making the rest of your workday easier. This ultimately can reduce the strain you feel, and make your job more enjoyable overall.

Productivity is perhaps one of the most important aspects of any career. It doesn’t matter if you work in an office, or if you run your own business, or even if you are a self-employed freelancer, your work depends on how much you can accomplish throughout your day.

And by that we don’t necessarily mean for employees to be chained to their desks, working by counting seconds until the day’s end. It’s practically impossible (and very inadvisable) not to separate yourself from your work, even when in the office. People are entitled to stretch their legs, greet their colleagues, and even deal with additional work duties that might not directly impact their own jobs.

Productivity is not related to simply sitting out your work hours. It depends on the individual, as well as the environment. Some might even say the person’s character has some impact as well. However, in order to help you grasp a better understanding of what influences employees and might hinder or improve productivity, in this article we will present some advice you could implement in your career.

Known When You’re Most Productive

Perhaps one of the simplest and most common advice is to know when you are most productive. Some employees may be more active in the morning, while others could find it better to work in the afternoon. This can be related to a variety of factors, such as sleeping schedule or personality traits. For example, if you often feel sleepy in the morning and need coffee as a way to enhance your concentration, perhaps it’s best to leave difficult tasks for when you feel more awake, such as the second half of your workday. Alternatively, if you find the second half of the day drag on for you, then it could be safe to assume mornings are when you are more concentrated.

The main reason why productivity time is important is fairly obvious – this is the optimal time for you, ensuring your tasks are fulfilled in a timely manner and with great attention. This not only helps you tackle the difficult assignments but also increases your credibility in front of coworkers and clients alike. If you manage to pin down the time that’s most productive for you, you can increase your efficiency, making the rest of your workday easier. This ultimately can reduce the strain you feel, and make your job more enjoyable overall.

Additionally, if you are a freelancer and work from home, you may use the 2 hours after you wake up. While, as stated above, the optimal productive time might depend on the individual, studies show that majority of people think the 2 hours after they wake up are their most productive. If you have the ability to arrange your work around these early hours, you might see your productivity increase with each task.

Mobile Distractions

Nothing kills productivity quite like distractions. And there’s a whole ‘treasure trove’ of them: some people are distracted by noises, others constantly find a way to get up and leave their desk, but perhaps one of the more common distractions is the mobile phone. It’s undeniable that in this day and age, it’s impossible to go without one, and even turning it off can be detrimental, depending on your duties. However, as much as mobile phones liberate us, they can quickly become the worst distraction. Maybe you want to check if you have received any messages and then unexpectedly stray into social media territory. Or maybe you want to check up on some additional information and suddenly find yourself reading a third unrelated article in the row.

Of course, before you argue it’ll never happen to you, we agree that distraction depends on a person, and there’s no one size to fit all. However, it should be noted that the possibility of distraction shouldn’t be taken lightly. One of the best ways to resist the pull of your mobile phone is to keep a strict schedule; for example, you can decide to only check your phone for messages when you get up to stretch your legs (so you can do things at once!). Or, if you know you won’t avoid opening your phone for work-related reasons, you may invest in additional programs to keep you on track. Ad blockers can stop popups on Android or iPhone, alarm clocks may help you set limits on your browsing, or you may use the built-in browser protections to block out the colorful ads. These solutions are not perfect, but it can be enough to keep you focused when using a mobile device for your work.

Quite honestly, the same issue persists when using a computer as well. The internet can open up many doors, but not all of them lead to where you want to. And the more distracted you get while browsing a random website, the more time you waste. You take more time to finish tasks and your productivity suffers for it, which can lead to additional problems. So, it’s up to every employee to restrict their access to distracting media and similar elements, especially during work hours. It may seem like a simple rule, but to many, it can become a slippery slope; luckily, there are ways to get around it!

Planning

Planning is an essential part of any job. Whether you are a leader or an intern, you have to plan your workday. There’s the obvious benefit of having the steps laid out for you, and you know which tasks to complete before taking on new ones. However, there’s additional planning you can go to be more productive.

Prepare for your workday beforehand. This means readying your clothes the night before, and while it may seem like a small detail, it can save you some time in the morning. Those minutes can then be used to concentrate and prepare for the day ahead.

Planning also entails making lists. It doesn’t have to be a grand scheme of the things you need to accomplish for the project’s success. Instead, focus on smaller things. You can divide your day into segments, and assign each of them a timeframe. So, maybe you could have a 15-minute coffee break at the start of the day, then some time will be spent on emails, after that you can move towards other tasks and so on. Each person knows their work schedule the best and should plan their days accordingly.

In some cases, an alarm clock can be of help. It will inform you when to move from one task to another, so you won’t be too pre-occupied with your current task. The alarm will help to work on all the areas of your project, without neglecting anything in your schedule.

Other Occupants

Now, no workplace is complete without your team. Perhaps you have a large group of people you get along with, or maybe you closely interact with several co-workers only, either way, interacting with your team and friends can be crucial as it allows you to catch up on projects that you’re not involved in, it broadens your perspective or simply strengthens the workplace relations.

But it can also do more harm than good. Think of it like this, if you get up every five minutes to greet a colleague, or leave your workspace to get a cup of coffee each time someone asks you to, how productive will you be? Every time you will need to shift your focus, forget the project you are working on, and focus on the personal interaction. And once you get back to work, it’ll take time to return to the state of previous concentration. You may think a minute here and there might not matter, but let’s look at a scenario, where you leave your desk on three separate occasions for a quick chat with a colleague. If we say it takes 10 minutes on average, that’s 30 minutes of conversation. Add this number to the time it’ll take you to return to the working mood, and you could have spent more than half an hour not getting anything done.

If you work from home, there are additional challenges you have to face. For one, you might have family members interrupting your work, however unintentionally it may be). Such distractions interrupt your concentration, and your productivity suffers, especially if you give in and choose to interact with the person. Of course, there are times when these interruptions are the priority, but more often than not it’s advisable to state that your workspace is off-limits. This can help set boundaries for both your and other occupants in your home, ensuring there’s an understanding that the work from home is just as legitimate, and should be treated as such.

Unsuitable Space

Now that we discussed who distracting (even if unintentionally) people can be, we have to mention the workspace as well. Consider which place seems more productive to you: a clean desk with the essential necessities on the side, or a cluttered desk with piles of papers creating a wall from the outside world. Your workspace largely depends on personal preference, and we in no way suggest you refrain from personalizing your space, but you have to make sure you obey the rules set by your company. Usually, you cannot have a cluttered desk because it can be detrimental to you and your neighbors since they would also have to look at and work near your desk. Being mindful could keep you focused.

The less distracting things you have in front of your eyes while working, the more likely you will be able to stay on your task. Your workplace could also be an indicator if you need to improve in certain areas. For example, if you have documents that are sitting on your desk for a week, it can be a sign you need to focus on that area of your project.

Last on our list is the person’s health in general. First up, makes sure you know how to manage stress (because every job has it) since it will help with your mental health and overall mood. The less exhausted you are by your everyday tasks, the better you will perform; in this case, the saying about happy workers being more productive fits perfectly. It’s inherently human to do better at tasks that you actually enjoy (or, at the very least, the ones that don’t wear you down).

Of course, a healthy mind has to reside in a healthy body. And no, we don’t mean that all the employees have to obey strict eating regiments or entertain similar notions. Instead, this part is aimed more towards the office employees. The majority of their workday is spent sitting down, which can affect the posture. You should look into the sitting techniques which could alleviate the strain. Additionally, take a break from your work and move around. It will engage the muscles that might otherwise be in a locked position while sitting. Taking care of yourself during the workday, you could leave the workplace feeling more energetic. This also can help with maintaining focus. No one can intently work all day without lifting their head off the documents. Taking breaks will recharge your brain and might help you get a new perspective.

Lastly, you might think that some of your tasks can be done simultaneously. You may want to check your emails while chatting up with a colleague on the side. But studies show multitasking is a lie. Workers are more productive if they concentrate on one thing at the time. Research shows that in order to jump from one task to another your brain needs to basically rewire. And if you wish to juggle two things at once, your brain is working overtime because it constantly goes back and forth, while maintaining the information of two topics and helping you come up with new additions. Simply put, it’s exhausting – both to you and your brain. So, you are better off taking on one task, finishing it, and moving towards a new one. This will ensure you do your work properly and avoid some of the essential mistakes that might otherwise be overlooked.

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