We have all faced the challenges a busy work day can bring. There is a lot to do and time is limited (unless you want to move to the office and dedicate your whole life to your work). Stress levels are slowly rising during the day, followed by waves of panic. That is definitely not how you want your day to look like. It’s not healthy and will make you burn out quickly.
Luckily, in this day and age, there are a lot of hacks that can help you to organize your day properly, save you some time, boost your productivity, and actually enjoy a day at work.
1. A Good Day Starts With a Good Morning
Getting enough sleep is one of the most important prerequisites for a healthy life generally, but also for a productive day at work since it helps improve your memory boosts your creativity and sharpens your attention.
Getting up early is equally important as getting to bed early. Snoozing your alarm until the last moment and getting ready for work in 5 minutes while running to your car will only start your day off with stress. If you are one of those people who snooze their alarm every morning, you should try alternative waking-up methods like Early Game Alarm app that is actually an advanced alarm. You can’t just turn the alarm off or press the snooze button; you have to play a mini-game in order to stop the alarm. This is a great way to actually get out of bed when you originally intended and wake your brain up in the process.
Also, make enough time in the morning to have a proper, healthy breakfast. Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast have more productive workdays, better problem-solving skills, and mental clarity. Ran out of breakfast ideas? Try out Breakfast Recipes Free app.
If you manage to squeeze an exercise routine in the morning, you will likely be a lot less stressed at work and feel a lot more empowered and happy, due to endorphins (the feel-good hormones) being released during a workout. You can make your morning exercise more fun and useful by riding your bike to work. However, if you are an app-addict here is one to try out – Sworkit.
2. Save Time Spent on Simple Tasks
You would not believe the amount of time at work we spend on things like checking our emails, phones, social media, etc. Pushing deadlines would not happen that often if only we cut down the time we spend on these, sometimes unnecessary, activities.
Some studies have shown that we check our email 96 times a day! So basically, we check our email every 5 minutes and in most cases we didn’t even have to, but the habit is just too strong. Even if we do get a lot of emails during the day, just going through them and organizing them is a time-consuming process. If you are looking to save time on this seemingly ordinary task, there is a great tool called Hiri, which is basically an email client to replace all other email clients with. Hiri will actually remind you NOT to check your emails so often and to wait some time. Also, with an easy drag and drop option, you can organize your emails to Actionable and FYI filters and prioritize them this way. With full calendar, reminders, tasks and ability to delegate, this email client is definitely something you should try out and see how much time it saves you.
If you do not have enough self-control to avoid checking your social media or blogs that are not work related, don’t worry, there is an app for that as well. It’s conveniently called SelfControl and it lets you enter distracting websites and block the access to them for a certain amount of time. No matter what you do after you activate it, your browser will act as if it’s offline for the URLs you have chosen.
If you’re scared you will succumb to temptation and grab your smartphone to read some tweets when you’re not supposed to, maybe it’s time for OffTime. Next to being able to block distracting and time-consuming apps, OffTime will also show you how much time you spend using your smartphone and believe me, you will not like it. This is perhaps a wake-up call we all need.
3. Take Regular Breaks
Just because you have a lot to do doesn’t mean you can’t take a break; it’s actually very good for you, your health, and your productivity at work. When you have most to do, take regular breaks even if you feel guilty and you’ll see how much easier it will be for you to get back on the task.
There are a lot of reasons you should take breaks:
- Breaks keep you from getting bored and unfocused. After a refreshing few minutes you will be able to get back to your task with no problem, so whenever you feel like you’re losing focus, take a break!
- They help us re-evaluate goals and retain information. Brain activity increases when our minds wander. Psychologists found that brain areas associated with complex problem-solving are highly active during the daydreaming and relaxing episodes.
- Getting of your chair and stretching few times a day will get your blood flowing and prevent you from developing back problems. Don’t forget, sitting is the new smoking.
- Taking your eyes away from the computer every 20 minutes is highly recommended. Instead of watching the screen the whole day, try changing your focus to an object 20 meters away for 20 seconds. This way you will reduce headaches caused by staring at the computer non-stop and will even help save your eyesight.
- Use your break to relax and get rid of all the stress accumulated during the day. A few minutes of meditation will get you through the rest of the day. If you don’t think you’re skilled enough to meditate on your own, there are apps that provide guided meditation sessions. One of them is Calm and it offers you to choose everything from the length of your session, to music and sounds you want to hear in the background. Sit comfortably in your chair, back upright, put the headphones on, close your eyes and relax.
4. Choose Your Food for The Day
What we eat will not only affect our weight and health but also our productivity during the day. Not every grocery is a good choice for the work lunch or snack.
If you eat high fat or high sugar meals and snacks you will feel sleepy and have low energy levels during the day. High-fat food takes more time and energy to digest, while food with high sugar levels will give you a “sugar rush” but that rush is followed by a crash.
The ideal workplace meal is conducted of proteins and healthy fats, with a low level of carbs. If you feel the need to snack during the day, chose fruit, dried fruit, almonds, yogurt or protein bars. There is no need to feel sleepy after lunch just because you had a burger. Eat smart and stay productive! Hey, check out SnackNation and order your healthy snacks within minutes.
5. Don’t Forget to Drink Water!
A lot of people simply forget to drink enough water during a workday and to stay productive you also need to stay hydrated. Even mild dehydration can affect us and hurt our ability to reach full productivity levels. Optimal water levels to get you through the day depend on your body type and the kind of food you eat – if your diet consists mainly of fruits and vegetables, you need less water than a person who eats a lot of meat and dough.
Also, don’t overdo it by drinking too much water; over-hydrating can also cause you a series of problems.
If, however, you are one of the people who forgets to drink water until your mouth dries out, there are apps made to remind you. You can, for example, use Water Drink Reminder or even set up reminders on Google, but that will take you some time and you will probably forget to set the reminder. Having an app that does the thinking for you, however scary it sounds will be very useful in this case.
6. Listen to Music and Focus
If you’re having trouble focusing on a certain task because you’re working in an open space, or the music coming from the speakers is not helping you, put on your headphones and start your playlist.
However, you might have noticed that even your favorite songs will not help you if the work you’re conducting requires a lot of “brain power”. Highly demanding tasks require something that will stimulate those brain waves.
Luckily for you, music and science have joined forces in order to create focus@will, music service based on human neuroscience. It helps you focus, maintain your productivity and retain information when working with the help of specifically chosen music.
All of the hacks listed above, from getting up early to using apps that save you time and help you focus, will definitely help you get productive and stay productive during the day. Every advice is really easy to implement in everyday life and will not take much of your time, but you will get a lot in return. These are not just productivity tips; these are also tips for a healthy lifestyle.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.