How to Stay Organized and Productive at Work
The change of seasons always brings about a change in how you feel and think about your work life. Spring is the season of renewal and growth. What’s better than longer days and warmer weather to motivate us toward a fresh start?
If you ever come home from work and realize that you spent the entire day checking emails and bouncing through marathon meetings without getting any of your “real work” done, you may need to reassess your productivity. Check out these gentle productivity hacks to spring clean your work life.
Clear Your Desk of Clutter
Your physical environment impacts your productivity. A desk littered with papers, photos and tchotchkes drains your energy, causes your focus to waver and negatively impacts your brain’s ability to process information. A well-organized workspace not only saves you time looking for things but eliminates distractions to free up your mental resources. One way to prevent the accumulation of clutter is to adopt the “one-touch rule”. This simply means that you only touch every item that crosses your desk once – to file it, throw it away, or act upon it. The one-touch rule can also apply to your inbox. Respond right away or move the email to the appropriate folder to file it for later.
You may be thinking, what does drinking water have to do with being productive? A lot, it turns out! A 2014 study in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism found that even mild dehydration (water loss of less than 5 percent of your body weight) can disrupt blood flow to the brain leading to reduced cognitive performance in areas such as short-term memory, attention and reaction time. So, keep a custom water bottle by your desk and stay hydrated to improve your productivity.
You know that urge to read the email notification that just popped up on your screen while you’re working on that boring sales report? You might think you’re multitasking by checking out the email, but experts agree that what you think is multi-tasking is actually just your brain moving back and forth between two tasks. Constant interruptions are at the core of your flagging productivity. University of California scientist Gloria Mark found it takes an average of 23 minutes to recover from such trivial interruptions. Turn off popup notifications on your desktop and mobile devices when you’re working on something of priority.
Dress for Success
You know that the way you dress impacts how successful others perceive you, but it turns out what you wear can actually impact how you will perform at work as well. Dr. Karen Pine, professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire argues wearing your weekend attire causes your brain to feel as though it’s off the clock and be less focused. Professional work attire can help you to get into that work mindset. Employers who want a team of focused workers may want to consider investing in custom apparel for their staff. Embroidering or screen-printing your company logo on custom apparel not only helps employees to identify themselves as part of the team to promote a sense of team spirit and belonging in the company but may in fact, improve productivity!
Reduce Meeting Times by 25 Percent
Many companies have found 15 minute meetings are more efficient than half hour ones. The reason? If you shorten the period of time you have to get something done, you’ll spend less time on banter and discussing issues unrelated to the meeting topic and focus more on the task at hand. You’ll get the same amount of work done with more time to spend on execution.
Spring is an ideal time to start a walking ritual. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is famous for heading outdoors to drum up ideas. A Stanford study showed walking outdoors boosts creativity by an average of 60 percent. But there’s another reason to enjoy the great outdoors. Staring at your computer screen all day actually depletes your brain’s attentional resources, causing you to be less productive. Simply put, you aren’t providing your brain with any new stimulus if you’re sitting in the same surrounding all day long. Going for a walk outdoors gives the brain different sights and sounds to process, re-energizing the brain, elevating blood flow and improving your focus once back at your desk. Oh, and don’t forget to take a pen and paper on your walk. Sir Richard Branson argues writing things down is key to his success. Why not stock up on custom notebooks and custom pens for your office. When a great idea pops into your head on your walk, you can quickly jot it down and act upon it when you return to your desk.