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How to find Zen in your work day and achieve productivity improvement

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During moments of chaos and stress the “happy space” you go to might be somewhere quiet and beautiful in nature – not the boardroom. Keeping calm and collected under pressure is crucial for getting the job done as well as your state of mind. A calm mind is also a productive one. By incorporating some simple habits into your work routine, it’s possible to experience measureable productivity improvement.

Work should be a series of short sprints, not a marathon.

You might think that productivity improvement involves working harder and longer, right? While everyone has their own work pattern, working for extended periods can be counter productive. It’s been scientifically proven that working in short bursts followed by a few minutes break improves concentration. Try the Pomodoro technique: set a timer and work for 25 minutes followed by a three minute break (try get away from the screen during this time). After four rounds, take a longer break of half an hour. With 25 minutes being a manageable chunk of time, with the end always in sight, you’ll be able to focus and remain motivated. 

Lunch hours aren’t just an indulgence; they can help you work better too.

A change is as good as a holiday, as the saying goes. Taking a lunch hour – or lunch half-hour – and leaving (if not the office then your desk) is a great way to refresh yourself physically and mentally. Get some exercise by taking a walk and soak up some natural light and fresh air to take your mind off whatever is going on inside the office. Taking a break is a guaranteed facilitator of productivity improvement: you’ll return with fresh perspectives and a clearer mind to tackle whatever challenges the afternoon throws at you.

Taking a few minutes out to call a friend and off load will boost your spirits.

Sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees, especially when it comes to your work. If you start to feel flustered, take a few minutes to leave your desk and give a friend a call. Not only will it give your mind a quick break from the task at hand, hearing a comforting voice will help calm you and you’ll benefit from an outsider’s point of view, too.

Email and social media are notorious for taking up time and headspace.

While email may be the primary way your company communicates internally and externally, it can make you unproductive if you spend more time replying to emails than you do on actual work. Checking email every fifteen minutes interrupts your work and destroys your ability to concentrate. The same applies to Facebook, Twitter and the like. Instead, try setting two slots aside each day when you check and reply to emails. Set an auto-response message notifying people that you are checking email twice a day. Provide your phone number so they can call you if the matter is urgent.

Filing systems are the unsung saviours of office sanity.

Creating an organised filing system might sound like too insignificant a task to have a major impact on your state of mind at work, but think again. When pressure is running high and deadlines are looming, small tasks can seem huge and insurmountable. Trawling through stacks of paper trying to find one critical receipt might waste twenty minutes you just don’t have. Not to mention costing you in stress. 

All this can be avoided by spending a few minutes a day setting up an organised filing system. First, go through all your paperwork and divide it into broad categories (finances, invoices, newsletters). Next go through each category and subdivide these further. Each broad category gets a different colour and each sub category is filed in alphabetical order within its broad category. Exactly the same logic can be applied to electronic filing systems on your computer.

Decluttering your work environment will allow you to declutter your headspace and positively impact productivity improvement, not to mention create a great impression on any clients visiting your office. OfficeBox can advise you about how to create more order in your office. Contact us to find out how.

Image credit: www.flickriver.com

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David Adams
06 August 2015
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