Productivity and productivity-focused studies and initiatives have always been hot topics, but the pandemic and the large-scale transition to remote work have prompted companies and employees to search even harder for productivity-maximizing measures.
Whether you work from home or in a physical office, there are certain things you can do throughout the day to fully utilize your inputs and maximize your output. Below are 5 activities to boost your productivity at work.
Put Together a To-Do List
Many people need to see their daily chores and tasks laid out in front of them to have any hope of getting through it all. Visualization is an important part of being able to face the day, but having it written down and in front of you is what really lights the fire.
If you have used a to-do list in the past or use one in your personal life, whether to do things around the house or get through errands on the weekend, and have noticed good results, there is a reason for it: the human brain loves ordered tasks. The psychological research backs this up, which is why planning your day out on paper, or using one of the many free day-planner apps is a good habit to get into.
Set Aside Time to Stimulate Your Mind
This is usually best incorporated into the post-lunch part of your day when productivity is almost always at its lowest. Games and other activities that put your brain through its paces are a good way to jumpstart a weary mind and get back into the zone.
Games like Scrabble activate the language center of your brain and force you to rely on your verbal intelligence. If you find yourself struggling for words, tools like Unscramblex will help you find all possible combinations.
Schedule Exercise Breaks Throughout the Day
Again, this applies to those working from their kitchen table as much as it does those in an office working a 9-5. If you want to avoid burning out, which is the quickest way to absolutely tank your productivity, then recharge with exercise periodically throughout the day.
If you are working from home, this could be a 15 or 20-minute walk around the block, some push-up or sit-ups on the floor, or a bike ride to the corner store to grab a snack. If you have a lot of control over your workday and how you spend your time, you could even try and fit longer workout sessions in if you know it won’t throw you off. There is plenty of scientific data backing up the assertion that people think better after exercise, and you need your mind sharp and nimble to remain productive.
Stick to a Single Task
Certain people are better at multitasking than others but all of us perform better when we do less of it. Multitasking is a drain on productivity because it forces us to constantly switch gears and deal with distractions. Every time this happens, we lose momentum and have to build it back up.
Maximizing productivity means getting into the zone, or a flow state, and harnessing that energy to get as much done as possible. This applies to all areas of our lives, but at work, it has a marked impact on our performance and what we are able to achieve with our time.
Take Hydration Breaks
A 2018 survey of 1,000 working Americans done by PR company Cision found that roughly 80 percent of people don’t drink enough water throughout the day. If you are under-hydrated, you are underperforming, pure and simple. Not only is the human body predominantly water (with the brain nearly three-quarters), but it needs water to function.
One of the best things you can do to remain productive throughout the day is to make regular trips to the faucet or cooler to refill your glass or water bottle. Proper hydration is necessary for a healthy organism, but it is also a prerequisite for a high-performing, focused, alert brain. If you don’t have that, your chances of being productive are slim.
The business world is trying to deal with the prospect of permanent work from home arrangements for a significant part of the workforce–something most companies had never considered prior to the 2020 pandemic.
There are a few different schools of thought on what constitutes productivity and how it should be measured, but one thing is for certain: incorporating the above five activities into your workday will help you maximize how you use your time.