Having good working habits is important, but so is rest. Stressing yourself out for longer periods of time will result in you being totally burned out and exhausted. Thus, you’ll work less efficiently and it will only take longer for you to complete your daily tasks and chores. So, here are some five strategies on how you can improve your overall productivity and work performance and have some fun while you’re at it.
Get some shut-eye
Chronic sleep deprivation is usually the main reason for people having huge lapses in concentration during working hours. In order to be as productive as possible the first and most important thing is to get enough sleep before the working day begins. Apart from exhaustion, lack of sleep also causes stress, moodiness, potential heart-failure, and is generally not good for your health. While we sleep our brain ‘recharges’ itself during REM phase and repairs our neural pathways, our muscles regenerate and our bodies secrete necessary hormones for proper bodily function and so on. Set up a routine, calculate when you need to go to bed to get the optimal eight hours of sleep, and don’t watch movies or play video games late at night. Turn everything off an hour prior to bed and get a warm bath to relax your body. Stop thinking about tomorrow’s chores, clear your mind and focus on your breathing to fall asleep. Tomorrow can wait, get some quality sleep first.
Take a break
Another reason why people’s work performance drops is due to burnout. Overworking causes a lack of motivation and productivity with so many workers nowadays. Generally, this is because taking a break is considered taboo in today’s business world. However, Tim Ferriss, a successful entrepreneur, explained in his book “The 4-Hour Workweek”, how people are increasingly inefficient when you give them more time to complete a certain task. Cutting the daily working hours in half would most likely increase employee productivity, not lessen it. The idea is to work smarter, not harder. Take a short break every half an hour, and then focus on your work 100%, don’t get distracted until it’s time for your next 5-minute break, and repeat. These small breaks serve not only as a sort of reward for your hard work but as a means to vent some steam, just don’t expand your break to more than five minutes and you’ll do fine.
3. Stimulate your brain with music
Music, especially classical music, has proven time and again that it goes hand in hand with work productivity. Even plants grew faster and taller when scientists played baroque music in their greenhouses. This is because music stimulates both the left and the right hemisphere of the brain and thus improves our cognitive abilities, problem-solving skills, creativity and more. Not to mention that it cancels out the noise of a working office and all the distractions that come with it. This is why investing in some quality in ear headphones can be a good idea, because that way, you’ll be able to listen to your favorite tunes while you’re working. A word of caution though, be careful not to get carried away by the melody and start daydreaming, as your productivity will plummet.
Let off some steam
Although procrastination has a more negative connotation, it can also be a good thing. Starting work when you’re all stressed out won’t amount to much and you’ll quickly end up searching for funny cat videos and fresh memes on the internet. You need to have some fun before work to recharge your batteries. In short, don’t take your work home with you. When you get back home from work focus on enjoying yourself to the fullest and don’t think about what tasks you’ve left undone at the office. Learn when it’s the right time to procrastinate and then use it to the maximum. Watch your favorite show, play your favorite game and let some steam off, work can wait. If you work from home, divide your work in 2-3 hour blocks two or three times a day and do other things in-between. Set a timer if need be and focus solely on your work for those 2-3 hours; after the timer is up, continue with your procrastination until it’s time to get back to work.
Pull an all-nighter
Now, this should be used only as a last resort. Under no circumstances should this be used on a regular basis, we’ve already established why this is so. Nevertheless, a lot of people put off their work until the very last moment and then have to work during the night. While it may work better for some people, it’s still not good for your overall health. Pop some heavy caffeine into your bloodstream and get that project completed before the Sun rises. The good thing about this method is that people generally work better under pressure (for a short time), as it pumps up their adrenaline to an all-time high which helps them finish their work right on time. Just try not to switch your standard day-night routines and get a good reset tomorrow.
In conclusion, organizing yourself is the key to being extra productive. Set up a healthy routine where you can both rest and have some much-needed fun before focusing all of your attention to work.
Oscar Waterworth – a digital nomad, writer and senior editor at BizzmarkBlog. By working with product development teams for nearly a decade now, he has gained a great deal of insight on remote team management and project operations in the startup sphere.