If you find yourself struggling to stay focused at work, and as a result, your workday seeps later and later into the evening, these tips might help you complete more during your 9-5 stretch. Beyond tackling your to-do list, we've included steps that can help you better manage your office time.
- Plan your day on a curve. Start off easy, complete your hardest projects between 10AM and 2 PM and finish your day with housekeeping tasks.
- Address projects first and email later. We all spend hundreds of hours a year reading our email. Every time you choose to read a new message rather than continue what you are doing, you prolong the total time it takes to finish an assignment. Try to ignore your inbox while you are mid-project and instead, check it afterward or limit this distraction to every 20 minutes.
- Stay organized. I know I'm guilty of shying away from a chore to organize my desk. Keep your space clean and clutter free, so you can focus your attention on your work rather than feeling anxious about the mess around you.
- Keep water and snacks nearby. Even though you are sedentary in the office, it is still crucial to stay hydrated and keep your blood sugar level. Otherwise, your brain's activity will drastically falter. According to Diagnose Me, "A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page." Store a reusable water bottle and your favorite munchies at your desk.
- Watch a funny. A recent study recommends taking a break to watch a comical online video to release anxiety, which in turn will make you more productive when returning to work.
- Use stress to your advantage. Stress creates adrenaline, which causes the body to become more productive, intelligent and speedy. Try channeling your stress as a means to stay focused and complete your work faster.