In this fast-paced world, getting high-quality work done efficiently in a short time, is an absolute requirement. The more work done, the better chance of survival in the work jungle.
With limited work opportunities and excess skill set, holding on to a job and being productive and top of the game is stressful and tough.
Given, the cut-throat competition, survival of the fittest and smartest has dictated the way of life. There is a constant expectation to offer top quality work. All this expectation causes a lot of unwanted stress and anxiety that slows down one’s productivity.
In order to beat this stress, human brain seeks escape through social networking sites and procrastination. The result being low productivity, increased stress, and feelings of chaos and frustration.
However, a team of psychologists have researched and studied this aspect and have come up with some excellent suggestions thereby making it easier for you to hold fast to your job and increase your productivity and performance.
Let us have a look at the list of these 10 top psychological tips.
1)Meditate: The very first thing we do on waking up sets the tone for the entire day. And our days often begin with the use of phone/iPad or television.
We are bombarding our minds with external stimuli, when we reach out for these devices, the first instant on waking up. This leads to feelings of stress and anxiety at the very start of the day causing us to lose focus and get distracted easily.
Meditation, according to several studies is a great relaxation technique which helps improve your focus and increases your productivity.
Waking a few minutes earlier than your usual time will help you set aside some quiet moments for yourself. I know many of you may be frowning already after hearing this suggestion after all who would not want to get a few minutes of extra sleep.
Waking up early according to several studies has been linked to overall feelings of optimism and increased well-being. When you feel good about yourself you are sure to be productive and creative.
Meditating may be hard initially, after all, it’s difficult to let your mind be still when you have so much happening around you. Regular practice will help you control your thoughts and stop your mind from wandering.
Meditation helps you to stay focused and enhances your creativity, thereby greatly increasing your productivity.
2) Reward: According to research and studies the human brain is greatly stimulated at the idea of reward and can learn to attach the concept of reward or a prize to almost anything. Using this knowledge to our benefit can help us greatly to increase our productivity. Here is how we can do it: Firstly, make a list of the most important tasks you have to complete during the day. For e.g. it can either be completing a presentation or reading through a document or making a phone call etc.
After you make a list of the “most important” tasks for the day, set aside a reward and then indulge in it when you have completed the task.
For instance, you have an important presentation to make but are just not in the mood to do it, instead, you are tempted to go through your Facebook account and see what’s happening there.
Instead of giving into your temptation and whiling away your time on FB, motivate yourself to complete the presentation by choosing to look through FB, after the task has been completed.
3) 8 hours of Sleep: Getting a good night’s sleep is essential in improving one’s productivity. Working late hours and rising early to complete work can make you foggy, anxious and unsure, causing your productivity to dip real low. According to research, people who oversleep or sleep less tend to take more number of sick leaves.
Getting the required amount of sleep, on the other hand, helps prevent burnouts, refreshes you, helps you focus, increases your ability to concentrate and helps complete tasks quickly
4) Prioritize your Time: Studies state that it is impossible for humans to operate on peak performance throughout the day. We all have that best time of the day wherein we can accomplish a lot. Some individuals are morning people i.e. they can get a lot of work done early in the morning. Some, on the other hand, are evening people i.e. they accomplish a major chunk of work in the evening.
Find out what type you are and set aside a good 90 minutes with absolutely no distraction ,devotedly just working during that time. This way you will feel less guilty about whiling away the rest of the day because you have already completed a major chunk of your work.
5) Delegation: Humans excel at tasks at which they are naturally good, whereas may have to put in extra effort and time on tasks in which they struggle. Focusing on tasks in which you are naturally good and delegating the tasks which slow you down is a great way to increase your productivity.
For e.g. you may be a great writer but an average photographer, if you have to compile an article with great pictures, you could increase your productivity by focusing on the writing and delegating the job of photography or photoshop to someone else. This way, you get to produce an amazing article with apt pictures in a short period of time.
Delegating the tough parts of your job to someone else, will let you focus your precious time on your strengths. It is human tendency for our mind to wander when it is challenged with tasks that are difficult or uninteresting. Therefore, make the most of your attention span by focusing on tasks you naturally excel at.
6) Autosuggestion: Empowering yourself with positive self-talk according to research is a great way to increase your productivity. Constantly encouraging yourself to stay focused and positive can help weed out negative thoughts and keep you focused.
Statements like “I can do it”, “Life is good to me”, “I am good at my work”, “I can do anything I set my mind too” are great ways to uplift and motivate yourself.
7) Diet and Exercise: The food we eat greatly affects both our body and mind. Overeating and under-eating greatly sap down our productivity. When you over-eat, you tend to feel groggy and sleepy and are less likely to focus on work, similarly, trying to get work done on an empty stomach is difficult.
Have you noticed that your performance suffers most post lunch hour? Having fast food like cheeseburgers and French fries for lunch can be time-saving but may later cause you to feel stuffed and groggy through the later part of the day.
This happens because our stomachs take a longer time to digest these foods causing less supply of oxygen to reach our brain, thus causing us to feel sleepy and distracted.
The best way to beat this problem is to eat before you are very hungry. For instance, choosing to eat at 12.30 in the afternoon and not waiting until 2.00 wherein you are very hungry and are more likely to binge eat can cause you to ward off over-eating and stay full and still be focused.
Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and nuts like almonds and walnuts is not only good for our body but also our brain too. They not only satisfy our hunger but also help increase our productivity to a great extent.
Exercising is another great way to enhance physical well-being as well as work productivity. Studies state that regular exercise is a common factor among all top-notch executives and businessmen. Exercising even twice a week can be extremely effective in increasing your energy levels, overall health and improve work performance.
8)Decluttering: A tidy workspace is a big plus point when it comes to increasing your work productivity. Increased work structure and limited time may leave you physically exhausted and mentally drained, leaving you with absolutely no energy, to clear the clutter on your desk.
Moreover, you may convince yourself to not clean the clutter, with the excuse of finding it easy to obtain what you need, if you have it all on your desk. The clutter may be convenient at the moment but in the long run, affects your ability to focus and may cause you to feel frustrated.
Studies state that a cluttered desk is directly related to low productivity because several stimuli are competing for your attention at the same time causing your mind to be confused and more prone to distraction.
An opened file, an unread book, a half-eaten apple scream out for your attention at the same time, causing your mind to wander to a thousand different places before it can focus on one thing.
It can be best explained as having ten children around your desk, all calling out for your attention at the same, leaving you flustered over whom to answer first.
Similarly, a cluttered desk, causes your senses to be bombarded with just too much information, leaving you feeling anxious and stressed. There is this constant pressure of having too much work left to be completed, which saps out your creativity and makes you view your work as a heavy burden, which is a major blow to your productivity.
A clear desk that is uncluttered, causes you to stay focused for a longer time and promotes a sense of optimism which are key factors in boosting your work productivity.
9) Taking Breaks: Staring at the computer for long hours may cause you to feel tired and groggy. According to a 2014 study by a Stanford Professor, John Pencavel, those who put in 70 hours of work had the same productivity in comparison to those who put on 56 hours of work.
Working continuously for a long stretch of time can leave you mentally exhausted and dampen your work productivity. Taking a break every 60 minutes refreshes your mind and can serve as a great creativity boost.
A short 10-minute break like getting up to get yourself a cup of tea or a drink can be very rewarding. Taking a quick walk around the floor or moving up and down the stairs, gets the blood flowing and pumping across to your brain and the entire body. Indulging in social-networking sites or indulging in an online game may not be a good idea of taking a quick break, as leaving a social site or a game mid-way may cause to pay less attention to your work afterward.
Sitting for long hours at your desk can lead to physical problems like backaches, weight gain and sluggishness. Any kind of physical movement or a quick exercise by the desk to relieve your back from the constant sitting, takes off your mind from the stress, allowing you to get a new perspective and return to your work with a renewed zeal.
Studies also state that looking at pictures of nature, or glancing outside your window and exposing yourself to some sunlight can be a great way to get a quick mental boost. There is something soothing about nature that immediately revitalizes your body. So, make sure you take short breaks to refresh yourself and boost your productivity.
10) Productivity Zappers: According to a 2015 survey conducted by CareerBuilder, the top five attention destroyers in any workplace are:
- Social Media
It is very easy to indulge in these distractions when you are stressed out and bored. Constantly reminding yourself to focus on your goals and use of certain apps like Freedom and LeechBlock will help control your constant urge to check your phone, emails and visit social networking sites. Avoiding gossip-mongers and switching your phone off sometimes, can also help.
Paul Meyer rightly quoted “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort”.