Let’s face it, no one’s perfect. Everyone crashes and needs a boost—whether every day or every once in a while. Regardless of which one you are, here are some relevant habits you can develop to make you more effective at work.
Get More Sleep
Picture this: You’re fast asleep when your alarm blasts you awake. You snooze for the next 45 minutes, knowing you should get up. And once you’re up, you shower (or not), pick out a mostly coordinating outfit, throw a couple snacks in your bag and call it lunch, and head out the door. And then you come back in because you forgot your travel coffee mug on the counter.
That’s not exactly the morning routine that sets you up for success, is it? Instead, it leads to nodding off during meetings, yawning at your desk, and brain fog as you try to complete your assignments for the day.
As of a 2013 Gallup study, 40% of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep at night even though they need an average of 7–9 hours to feel their best.
Make sleep a priority, and you’ll see your work performance soar!
Aside from all of the amazing health benefits, did you know that being physically active can help you keep your focus at work?
Exercise stimulates the areas of your brain responsible for focus, concentration, organization, and planning.
If that’s true, then why do only 17% of adults report exercising daily? The next time you have brain fog, go for a jog or a walk around the office. The exercise might help pull you out of your funk.
Prioritize Your Tasks
If you’re anything like the Type-A personalities in our office, you love to-do lists. Having a to-do list written out is even better, because then you can cross off each task as it’s done. It’s Type-A heaven, really.
And while this method isn’t for everyone, there are some definite benefits to thinking through the day’s tasks before you start. When you have in mind the tasks you need to get done today, this week, and this month, you can better prioritize—whether you write them down or not.
Have a to-do list for the day, and maybe even break it up by hour. Think: I’m going to get this much of a project done by noon, and then switch to another project after lunch.
And don’t forget to take advantage of your most productive time of day!
Take Focus-Boosting Breaks
There are so many great ideas for break time at work, but for this post, we’ve chosen two of our favorites:
- SLLS. Recently, we read an article written by a former sniper, and it immediately caught our attention. After spending the first part of his career on the battlefield, he now spends his days glued to an office chair behind a desk. How can he possibly stay focused at work?
He recommended a trick he learned in the army—Stop, Look, Listen, Smell. He said that when focus is lost, you should stop what you’re doing, look around, listen to your surroundings, and smell your environment.
The purpose is to take a break and refocus, while still being mindful of your environment.
- Fidget. Yes, you heard us right. According to this infographic, sometimes a little distraction is good for your brain, so give your brain some mind-numbing, yet mind-enhancing stimulation in the form of a fidget spinner.
Just one short microbreak—a pause of 30 seconds to five minutes—improves mental sharpness by 13%.
Plus, moving your hands and taking breaks can alleviate your forearms, wrists, and hands from discomfort or pain.
Don’t expect these changes to have an instant effect. It typically takes a month to create a new habit. Start small, and gradually increase your goals to reach them at the end of the month. And be sure to get rid of distractions! Let your office mates in on your goals, and make sure you turn off any unnecessary notifications during the workday.
A Universal Problem
Is workplace focus an issue for you? Are you excited to try any of these ideas? Let us know in the comments below!
Plus, here are some annoying—and super distracting—habits to avoid in the office.