The office. It’s that place you go every day where you’re supposed to get all your most productive work done, right?
Not to be confused with THIS epic office. Who else wishes Michael Scott was their boss?
And yet, one of the biggest complaints most employees have about their work environments is, in fact, how unproductive it can sometimes feel.
Between tempting office birthday cake that induces everyone into sugar comas and frequent meetings that take too long and manage to accomplish so little, it’s easy to feel depleted and lethargic by the time you manage to make it back to your personal desk.
Try these 4 tips next time you need to kickstart some massive productivity:
1. Do your most creative and important work first.
With the exception of established night owls, most people feel their sharpest mental clarity in the beginning of the day after a healthy breakfast and a cup of their morning joe. When writing out your to-do list, find the task that will either require the most creativity OR is the one thing that you can do to bring you the biggest results on your project.
Schedule this first. Then, when the afternoon slump kicks in, you can use that time to knock off the other less energy intensive to-do’s on your list.
2. Begin practicing the Pomodoro Technique.
If you aren’t familiar with this technique yet, I recommend reading up on this massively efficient time management system. In a nutshell, you learn to work with time instead of against it and manage all those pesky distractions.
This system has been known to literally change lives. Give it a try!
3. Distraction proof your space.
When it comes down to it, there are usually three major distractions that prevent you from doing your best work: your computer, your fellow employees, and your desk space.
To distraction proof your computer, there are a plethora of awesome tools that you can download that range from limiting social media usage to blocking out unnecessary windows on your screen, etc.
Personally, I love Hey Focus because it allows me to switch between different productivity modes and takes care of all the mechanics to make that possible.
Dealing with employees and co-workers, on the other hand, can be a bit trickier but isn’t impossible! Consider an office ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door/back of chair.
Also, try putting your phone on silent, generating an auto-away message for texts, and activating an appropriate ‘get back to you later’ voicemail.
Finally, make sure your desk is optimized for maximum productivity. A clear desk can contribute to a clear mind.
That being said, it’s good to have a few things here and there that serve to inspire you. For example, have you had a chance to check out Arrtapi’s new desk mat?
The desk mat can be used as your mousepad or placed next to your keyboard, which means it doesn’t contribute to any desk clutter and serves as an excellent break from all the dreary, soul sapping mundaneness that a job can sometimes invoke.
And...hello….colouring?! YES. This is surprisingly STILL fun, and when it comes to finding focus, colouring has been scientifically proven to be an excellent tool. These make awesome secret Santa gifts for your next Christmas office party, too.
4. Create a mindfulness backup plan.
Inevitably, there will be moments when no matter what, you just can’t seem to focus on the task at hand. In these situations, the best thing to do is to just get up, go for a short walk and practice a simple 5 minute meditation.
I love the app Headspace. You can download it onto your smartphone, and it comes with a free beginners 10 day tutorial. The guided meditations are 5 minutes and can really help you find your inner zen.
These are a just a few suggestions that you can start implementing today to help you chisel down your massive to-do list.
What techniques do you use to help you find focus at work?