You may love your work, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to be as productive as you’d like to be. Distractions vie for our attention, stress eats away at our focus, and an overabundance of tasks challenges even the best prioritizers.
You’ve probably seen one of the thousands of articles telling you how to increase productivity from task management tools, getting more sleep, and from blocking all the entertaining websites. Well, why not try one of these eight ways to boost your productivity, the FUN way?!
When the doldrums of the daily grind get you down, strike up a competition, either between a few coworkers or against yourself.
How fast can you (accurately) complete that expense report? Who can get to inbox zero the fastest? Consider a small wager or a reward if you “win” (i.e. winner gets to choose where to get lunch that day, or start a points system.).
2. Stand Up
Standing for three hours a day may be as beneficial as running 10 marathons a year, but even if this claim is overblown, the statistics about the benefits of standing are beginning to pile up. Sitting for long periods of time is a contributing factor to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
You don’t have to buy a fancy standing desk to take advantage of this research. Stand up during all your phone calls, or stand while you wait for your morning cup of tea to finish steeping. Find little ways to add standing into your daily routine to increase productivity. You’ll feel better: healthier, happier, and more productive!
3. Hard Stop
Running a small business can become a 24-hour-a-day job, if you let it. But setting boundaries will actually help you become more productive, in less time. Set measurable, specific goals for what you are going to achieve in a day or a week, then stick to them. Write down everything you need to get done at some point, but then only commit to what you know is doable within a given time frame. THEN STOP WORKING! Do something fun, or leisurely once you end work for the day.
This way, when you’re not working, you’re truly not working (even by stressing about things you can’t get off your mind). Relaxation becomes actually refreshing, making you more productive when you get back to work! It’s that simple, stop working past closing time to increase productivity.
4. Chat up your coworkers.
Having friends at work matters a lot. No need to put pressure on yourself to make a new forever best friend, but chat up your co workers- the simple act of conversation will help you de-stress, and collaboration between different employees and minds is one of the most powerful tools of innovation and problem solving. AKA- something they say could start you one a whole new train of thought!
Studies also show that lunches with others relaxes us, and increases the productivity of the subsequent afternoon work hours. Did you know that if you have just one “good friend” at work, you’re 50% more likely to feel happy at work? If you have THREE or more “good friends” at work, your 96% more likely to feel satisfied with your life overall!
5. Watch Cute Cat Videos
Japanese researches found that we’re better at tasks that require attention and focus after viewing cute cate videos. We’re not kidding- that’s a real scientific finding!! In general, if you break up your work with fun breaks, doing something you like such a watching videos of your favorite animal or looking through Pinterest- you’ll increase productivity and feel more engaged. Five minutes won’t kill you— you can tell your boss WE said so!
6. Go Outside
Did you know that trees save the United States more than $6 billion in health costs every year? Trees improve concentration, lower stress, and alleviate mental fatigue. Go for a walk outside to capitalize on these benefits! If you live in a city, take a day trip to the suburbs for some fresh air. Your brain will thank you.
7. Listen to Your Jam!
You’ll feel energized and from a mental, standpoint, hearing your favorite song is like jump starting your brain. Music may not work with all tasks (like writing for example, unfortunately for this editor!). An added bonus is that music will also likely block out distractions and will help you stay super focused!
8. Laugh it up!
Laughter gets your heart rate up and increases blood flow to the brain. Some jokes even require a little mental output, which is great exercise for your brain. You’ll feel happier, and if you make “laugh break” a regular part of your day, you’ll start looking forward to it and it will become a regular source of joy. Giving yourself “treats” increases feelings of content-ness and satisfaction. A comedic break is healthier than a candy break (but that works too!).
These are a little less fun, and more just true. The road to increased productivity has many paths!
Use Keyboard Shortcuts. The time you invest in learning essential keyboard shortcuts will pay out every single time you use that app or program. Do you constantly need to open new blank tabs in your internet browser? Do you bold or un-bold text in your email client multiple times a day? Do you switch between windows frequently?
Pay attention to the tasks you complete most often on your computer, and then learn how to shorten them. Or download AutoHotKey to set up your own keyboard and mouse shortcuts.
Get a Plant. Sometimes less is just less. If your office is minimalist or bare, you’re not engaging with your surroundings, which makes it easier to zone out. Studies have shown that a few house plants in a bare office have measurable effect on both morale and productivity. Grab a cactus, and then get back to work!
Share Your Goals. Sharing your goals, both short- and long-term, is an effective way to hold yourself accountable for them. If you’re going to take care of those parking tickets on the company van this week, and your business partner knows this, you’re more likely to follow through. Remember that sharing your goals and plans also means you have someone to help you celebrate when you’re done!
Keep it up, don’t stop the productivity hacking now!
- The Surprising Science Behind Productivity Hacks
- Decorating The Office for Greater Productivity
- How to Be More Productive: What to Put off & What to Do NOW
- Building Productivity Skills Without Breaking the Bank