You arrive at work coffee-buzzed and ready to get to business. Then sometime after lunch the caffeine wears off and the end of the work day seems further away than it did in the morning. Even if you love your job, it can tough to stay motivated and productive. Here are a couple of ways to stay on-task and focused during the day.
Do: Take regular short breaks
It may sound counterproductive to take breaks in order to be more productive. However, a quick walk around the office or chat at the water cooler helps break up the day and gives your mind a rest. No matter what, always take your lunch break to refuel for the afternoon.
Don’t: Reach for another cup of coffee
Drinking coffee in the afternoon can affect your quality of sleep, causing you to wake up feeling sluggish and drinking more and more coffee to compensate. This creates a vicious cycle of poor sleep and caffeine consumption. Studies show that the optimal time to consumer coffee is three to six hours after you wake up. If you wake up at 6:00 in the morning, drink coffee between 9 and 12, but cut yourself off in the afternoon.
Do: Create a to do list and stick to it
At the beginning of each work day, spend a few minutes creating a to do list. Assess how long each project will take and be realistic about how much time you have to complete your list. A checklist can help you remember all the little things you need to do and keep you on track throughout the day.
When you start a task, make sure you finish it. Do not go back and forth between different projects or try to do multiple things at once. Nobody can truly multitask and it will just leave you feeling burned out. You’ll most likely spend more time working trying to multitask than if you start and finish one item at a time.
Do: Avoid distractions
Keep your work area clear and don’t open up browsers unless you need them. You might say you’ll only check social media for five minutes, but that can easily turn into half an hour. If it helps, there are browser extensions such as Work Mode for Google Chrome that can block websites for a set amount of time. This way you won’t be tempted to check your feed or watch the most recent viral video.
Don’t: Stay late
Finishing up a project after normal work hours once in awhile is okay, but don’t make it a habit. You should have a set time where you pack up and leave everyday. You’ll be more productive and realistic about how much work you can get done in a day if you give yourself limits. If you work from home or have a flexible schedule, make one for yourself and stick to it.
Need more help staying productive? Take Next Step Academy’s “Time Management” course!