We’ve all been there: it’s 2 p.m., you’re halfway through the workday, you’re swamped, and despite feeling like you’ve been working forever, you’ve barely even made a dent in your work. Before you end up sitting at your desk for the next two hours wondering “How did I get here, and how do I get myself out of this mess?” take a look at the following seven tips to ensure that tomorrow, next week, and all those hectic workdays that follow are infinitely more productive.
1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Of course, you want to establish yourself around the workplace as someone who’s hardworking and capable of taking on multiple projects and tasks with no problem. But at the same time, it’s important not to take on more than you’re actually capable of, because then your work will suffer no matter what. Recognizing that you can’t do it all will allow you to dedicate the scope of your focus to one or two projects you’re passionate about. Only then will your labor turn out the best possible results.
2. Set your own deadlines.
Even when faced with an open-ended project or task, impose your own personal deadlines for finishing it. Maybe one portion of the project requires that you compile data, and another requires a proposal or presentation – compartmentalize each facet, prioritize accordingly and set a timetable for completion. By doing this, your assignment will feel less overwhelming and downright feasible.
3. Eliminate any and all distractions.
Whether it’s Facebook, a packed inbox, or even gossip around the watercooler, tuning out distractions as often as possible is essential to being your most productive self at work. Turn off your phone, exit your email, and avoid Chatty Cathys around the office. If popping in your earbuds to listen to music helps eliminate those or other distractions, then it’s worth your consideration.
4. Dedicate yourself to one task at a time.
If you find yourself drowning in assignments at work, avoid multitasking at all costs. While it may seem like the best way to get everything done, multitasking will only serve to hinder your productivity at work. By devoting your energy to one assignment a time, you may find that you finish each more efficiently, and aren’t compromising on the quality of each.
5. Take periodic breaks.
Take a breather when you’ve been hard at work, because you deserve it! Whether it’s a 5-minute walk or 10 minutes of meditation, periodic breaks taken in 90-minute intervals, can clear your head, reduce your stress levels, increase your focus and even make getting your work done easier.
6. Make sure to have a balanced breakfast.
There’s nothing worse than trying to get work done on an empty stomach. But even so, simply eating is not enough. Things like pop tarts, caffeine and sugary cereals will only lead to a mid-morning crash, so you should always make sure that every morning, before heading to work, you’re eating a balanced breakfast that will give you enough energy to help you power through the morning until lunch.
7. Get a good night’s sleep every single night.
Ultimately, you can eat a balanced breakfast, eliminate distractions and put yourself on a schedule for completing tasks – but none of this matters if you aren’t getting a full eight hours of sleep each night. Restful sleep is the absolute best way to keep you from dragging through the workday and workweek, while allowing you to maximize your productivity around the office.