Rain or shine, Monday or Friday, we spend the majority of our waking hours at work. Try these simple tips to make your 9-5 as productive as possible.
We’ve all experienced it: a workday that just feels off. Whether we’re tired, stressed, hungry, or distracted by problems at home, it’s okay to have a rough day every now and then—but it shouldn’t become a regular occurrence. These quick tips will help you get back on track and enhance productivity, fight fatigue, and reduce stress, all in a day’s work.
1. Have a leisurely lunch break
Tempting as it is to pack in lunch at your desk, taking a short break can help you refresh and restore, increasing your productivity for the rest of the day. Step away from your desk and take time to enjoy your meal. If weather permits, head outside for a 15-minute walk or short, sweat-free workout.
2. Pack some protein
Protein powers up your body for a busy day, warding off a dreaded afternoon energy crash. Try a Mason jar-friendly Mediterranean Chickpea Salad with 12 g of protein per serving for some serious lunchtime satiation, or try a homemade frozen breakfast sandwich to kick your morning off on a nutritious high note.
3. Practise mindfulness
Mindfulness is a traditional Buddhist practice that can help us to live thoughtfully and consciously in the moment, by tuning in to our bodies and surroundings. Research suggests that mindfulness can improve decision-making and productivity. To give mindfulness a go, try the STOP method.
- Stop what you’re doing.
- Take a deep breath.
- Observe what’s happening in your present moment, without judgment. (Are your shoulders tense? Is your heart beating fast?)
- Proceed with what you were doing.
4. Minimize multitasking
It might feel like second nature, but reaching to check Instagram while you’re working on that big PowerPoint (while blasting Taylor Swift from your headphones) only serves to fragment your focus and reduce your productivity. While at work, focus on the essentials; replying to Facebook messages (and that overstuffed email inbox) can wait.
5. Banish bad thoughts
Negative thought patterns—along the lines of “I’m not good enough,” “I totally messed up this project,” “I don’t deserve to be here”—hampers our performance and self-esteem. The next time you feel yourself heading down that slippery slope, learn to recognize, debunk, and improve irrational thoughts using this journal technique.
6. Sit up straight, and stretch it out
Subjecting our bodies to poor postures and long hours of sitting seriously affects our health. Check out our guide to going ergo for tips on setting up an ergonomic work station, or set up a standing desk to combat the dangerous effects of a sedentary lifestyle. If you’re feeling stiff, these easy office exercises offer a boost of mid-day movement to beat back pain.
7. Catch up on ZZZs
Sleep: we can’t have a good day without it. Poor sleep is associated with higher stress levels, increased blood pressure, attention lapses, and reduced efficiency. If you’re having trouble hitting the hay, talk to your health care practitioner about supplementing with melatonin to help regulate your sleep cycle.