There are many factors that can lead to having a less than productive workday, but there are also some simple solutions to improve your day as well. Read on for six simple habits that will improve your workday.
Start the day with something that makes you happy.
The way you begin the day sets the tone for how the rest of the day will progress, so it’s best to start with something that makes you happy. If that’s checking your emails first thing in the morning while you’re still in bed, then keep it up. Chances are, that’s not what makes you happy but it’s what you do out of habit. Jumping into work mode the literal second you wake up isn’t the best way to start your day.
Dedicate at least 10 minutes to doing something that puts you in a good mood. That could be savoring a cup of coffee on your patio, reading a book, drawing, meditating, doing yoga, exercising, or playing with your kids or pets. Whatever it is that you do, be sure that it’s something you enjoy. This way you’ll start your workday in a good mood. Doing the following things will help you maintain that mood throughout the rest of your day.
Do the most frustrating task first.
There’s always at least one task on a to-do list that makes you groan just thinking about it. Get that task done and out of the way first. That way it’s not lingering on your mind and taking up precious mental space, and you’ll be able to relax knowing that it’s done and out of the way.
How many hours a day do you think you spend sitting down? Whatever that number is, you’re probably underestimating it. Sitting for extended periods of time is not only bad for your health, but it impacts productivity too. Just getting up and moving for a minute can help re-stimulate your brain and help you regain focus. If possible, don’t sit for longer than two hours consecutively.
Set alarms to remind yourself to get up and move. Most fitness trackers have built in alerts that go off every hour to remind you to get up, so be sure to make use of that if you have one. Simply get up, walk around your room, dance, or do a quick yoga sequence, then settle back in for work. This can be as short as a 60-second break or something a few minutes longer. You decide what works for you – just get up and move every hour, or at least every 90 minutes.
Stay hydrated and eat proper meals.
Perhaps one of the simplest productivity hacks is staying hydrated all day. Dehydration, even in its mildest form, negatively impacts cognitive function, performance, and energy levels. Keep a pitcher of water at your desk so you can refill your mug as soon as it’s empty. If you find yourself forgetting to drink regularly, set reminders on your phone every hour to remind yourself to take a drink. Some fruits and vegetables have a high water content, so those are a smart choice for a snack as an added boost of hydration.
As for eating, it’s easy to simply graze your way through the day or skip meals altogether, especially when working from home. Preparing food takes time, and sometimes you just don’t feel like cooking. The allure of having a fully stocked kitchen can also lead to grazing throughout the day instead of eating a proper meal. Eating proper meals ensures that you’re getting ample nutrition, and when it comes to lunch, helps you step away from your work for a short break.
Set times for checking email and messages.
Rather than answering emails as they come in, set aside specific times during the day to check and return emails and other messages. Every time you look at your inbox or Slack, it breaks your concentration and takes your focus away from the task you were working on. Each time this happens it has a larger impact, eventually leading to full on distraction.
Have an end of day routine.
You need to have a routine that signals that the workday is over. This lets your brain switch from work mode to home mode. It’s especially important when working from home, when your home and office are exactly the same place and the lines between the two often blur together.
A good routine includes a final round of checking emails and messages, tidying up your workspace, and making a quick list of what tasks you’ll be working on the next day. Take note of anything important you need to take care of the next day so you don’t forget. Then close your laptop and mentally clock out. Your work day is over, and you can switch back to home mode.