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5 Ways to Improve Productivity in your Work Day

coffee_beansWhile many of us have to work five days a week, it isn’t a natural thing for the human body to do. We’re not designed to sit down and concentrate for hours at a time – we have evolved for bursts of activity, chasing prey, interacting with others, napping when we are tired. The modern working day puts a lot of strain on our bodies, and it can be hard to keep going with the same energy levels all day. Still, if you want to get ahead, there are some things you can do to improve your productivity in the office. Here are some tips:

1. Set yourself targets and tasks on a timescale

Sitting down at the beginning or end of each day and writing a list for the upcoming day of work is a great way of focusing the mind and setting goals for yourself. Plus, writing the list is a relatively easy job, and so it’s a good start to the day or a way of winding down in the evening. By following your list, you’ll be able to plan ahead and manage your time more effectively, too.

In addition, setting goals for each day and an overall goal for the end of the week will give you a sense of achievement when completing a task.

2. Value taking a break

When you’re up against it or struggling to meet a deadline, it can be easy not to take a break, skip lunch or work late. But in the long-term, this is damaging to your productivity. Be sure to utilize breaks to refresh – for the best use of the time, go outside in the fresh air break and walk around. The air will wake you up and the light exercise will stretch you out to help keep you comfortable throughout the day.

3. Get rid of distractions

If where you work isn’t quiet and you find it hard to concentrate, wear a pair of noise-cancelling headphones (even if you don’t have anything playing in them) to get instant concentration. Turn off your email and even your phone if you need to at certain times to get things done. You can always call people back later.

4. Time things right

Think carefully about when you are in the mood to do certain tasks – for example, when you are most alert for a phone call or doing tricky sums, or when you are in a bit of a slump and can do little else but read. Our metabolism naturally changes throughout the day depending on when we eat, drink and sleep, so this is normal.  Keep a ‘work diary’ for a few days and write down how you’re feeling at certain points of the day. You may well start to see some patterns emerging, and then you can start to schedule things for the time at which you are most naturally suited to doing them.

5. Avoid stress

Becoming stressed is a killer to productivity. Stress can be caused by procrastinating and then having to rush through tasks at the last minute. Hopefully, by following the steps above, you’ll largely avoid this.

Article courtesy of Automatic Retailing Vending

Post By Praveen Rajarao (463 Posts)

Praveen Rajarao is a Software Tech Lead and in his spare time blogs on his website –http://www.dailymorningcoffee.com and http://www.techivy.com. His topics range from blogging to technology to affiliate programs and making money online and how-to guides. Daily Morning Coffee is also accepting Guest Posts from Professional Bloggers at this time, take a look at “Write For DMC” page for more details on the same.

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20 Responses to " 5 Ways to Improve Productivity in your Work Day "

  1. Leora says:

    Time things right sounds good – I do heavy duty thinking working items first thing in the morning. Avoid stress is impossible – it’s just part of life. Handle it well is another story.

    Take a break is a perfect idea – I am going to do just that right now.
    Leora recently posted…Familiarize Yourself with CSSMy Profile
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    • Leora – Glad you liked the post. Yes, when you are doing the ‘heavy duty thinking’, i am sure you always need to ‘take a break’.

      Stress is un-avoidable, you are right, there are ways to handle it, there are lot of quacks out there who come up with a new way to handle stress, but I think it all depends on the subject in question. Each person has to handle it differently, so i really do not believe in group therapy for stress :-)
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  2. Important topic for discussion Praveen!

    Ah…I can so well relate to this, even though I think most of us really don’t for those ’5 days’ per week! I think we are working ALL the time, unless we really learn to take a break ourselves. That’s how the online world is, which is where I often miss the offline world, where after you return from your workplace, you don’t have to take care of working at least. :)

    I agree with all your mentioned tips to improve productivity, and the best being to avoid stress because you can’t really work efficiently when you are stressed or tensed. And distractions are something we all need to learn to say a huge NO to and just close off things (esp. the social networks!) when we are working – isn’t it?

    Also, I think when you make small achievable goals, they are easier to accomplish and make you feel good too, rather than aiming for the sky and not reaching anywhere.

    Thanks for sharing these with us. :)
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    • Harleena – Absolutely, it makes a lot of sense to make your goals into smaller chunks, the same concept has also been implemented in the software development as agile methodology. It is easier to manage and achieve.

      Avoiding stress is the most important factor to be more productive, stress can really take its toll and come in your way. There are distractions even, it is hard to say NO to some :-)

      Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend.
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  3. Mayura says:

    Hi Praveen,

    An excellent post I’d say :)

    I’ve never used to list down what I need to do if you ask me few years back but now I’m really love the way it is. I use a notepad to list out what I need to focus on erase once I done with it. I break out long-term and short-term ones, so I can easily focus and prioritize my goals.

    I do care my health a lot in this year, so I do take breaks though I spend like 18 – 20 hours in front of the PC :) Health is wealth and when you are weak enough, nothing you can do about it then. So prevention is better than cure Praveen :) That’s a MUST.

    Distractions are one of main obstacles we find when we work :) I think though to-do list help with what to focus, we need to get rid of distractions as much as possible. First work and then play with saved time, right? :)

    Oops… I’m not sure what’s behind courtesy mate :) But whoever wrote this, a great topic.

    Cheers…
    Mayura recently posted…Save Web Content or Pages to View Later with PocketMy Profile

    • Mayura – 18 to 20 hrs in front of the pC???? u must be joking right? That is just too much for anyone.

      Taking care of one’s health will of course result in better productivity, regular excercise and stretching will help to a great extent, which we never realize and tend to laze around through out the day (of course i am speaking for myself) :-)

      Thanks for leaving your comment here dude…
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      • Mayura says:

        Not everyday if I have to go out mate, but it’s my regular day :) That’s why I say my mother is helping much more there. Many neighbors haven’t seen me much for sure ;)

        Anyway it doesn’t mean I’m working all 18 hours continuously and have productive 18 hours :D I take my meals in front of PC while watching a part of a movie or so. All I do is watching my monitor screen all day :D lol… Not when sleeping though.

        I’m not exercising yet as I’ve glued into PC but take breaks for few minutes though. Just simple walking and other healthy habits such as drinking lot of water.

        You know, if I’m a married guy this is just impossible ;) I used to being awake overnight and go to classes in the morning without a sleep. Never slept in classes though. Am addicted, eh? :D

        Cheers…
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  4. Atish Ranjan says:

    I think distraction does more destruction :P. I am avoiding distractions like FB and other social media while working. good post Praveen
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  5. Distraction is the major cause behind my failure as a blogger due to which i can’t concentrate on my work.
    Julia Strauss recently posted…moroccan oil careMy Profile

  6. These are indeed great tips to enhance one’s productivity. I personally believe in setting targets, and making sure I achieve them by the end of the day. Many people think that taking breaks in between the work, is equivalent to sheer wastage of time, but it is of great significance to realize that such breaks act as a great booster for the productivity. Thanks for sharing these great tips.

  7. #6 stop reading so many blogs! ;-)
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  8. gazebo perth says:

    I take short breaks, stretches, yoga calming breaths, and stick to my timetable. At the end of thhe day, I feel fulfilled that i have done something good and productive. And then later on I’d share drinks with friends and say, ‘to jobs that pay the rent!’

  9. I think avoiding social media at work can make you more productive than ever. I agree with you that we should always avoid stress. Good post Praveen.

  10. Philip from Niche Site says:

    Hi Praveen,

    What I found to work best for me is using the Pomodoro technique.
    Each 25 minutes of work is one Pomodoro. After each Pomodoro I take a 5 minute break. When I finished the task I was working on I count how many Pomodor it took me.

    I’ve noticed that I can better manage my work hours using this tactic.

    Email is my biggest distraction, definitely. If I’m waiting for an important email to arrive I’m constantly checking my inbox every 10 minutes. I think it’s my biggest productivity killer.

    I really enjoyed reading your post, have a great day.Cheers.

    ~Philip
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  11. cable tie says:

    I have been very unproductive the past couple of weeks. Maybe it’s because I feel demotivated. But I’m going to try your tips before I psych myself out.

  12. ubud villas says:

    I hope this helps. I have been very lousy at work lately. It’s just getting too routine for me. Nothing exciting.

  13. These are really good tips. I’m going to try to apply them in my workplace tomorrow. And better yet, shat it with my co-workers. Thanks for the share!

  14. Guillaume says:

    Hi Praveen,
    An excellent post I’d say

    Guillaume a french blogger ^^
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