Having trouble staying motivated? Productivity declining rapidly at work? Everyone goes through that at some point, but there’s no reason to panic. Here are 7 different ways to help you remain motivated and productive in the workplace and ensure that you are doing your job successfully!
- Start your day well
Believe it or not, your level of productivity for the day may be determined before you even reach the office. The way you start your day makes a massive impact on the way you carry on for the rest of the day, and that includes how productive you end up being.
Starting your day well, relaxed, and energized can practically ensure motivation for the rest of the day and a desire to tackle all the tasks on your agenda. Waking up late and tired, being in a rush, and arriving grumpy is not conducive to productivity.
Here are some things you can do to brighten your day and ensure your success:
- Go to sleep early to ensure that you get at least 8 hours of restful sleep. Getting proper sleep not only gives you the necessary energy for the next work day, but it also contributes to your creativity and problem-solving skills, both of which are essential.
- Leave enough time before work to enjoy a relaxed morning and a stress-free commute. Take some time to drink your tea or coffee in peace and read the news or watch a funny cat video.
- Have a positive mantra for every day or something positive or joyful to look forward to; that way, your entire outlook for the day changes and you will be more eager to start and do well.
- Identify your peak work hours
The 9 to 5 work day may be traditional, but it’s not what works best for everyone. We each have a different circadian rhythm and our most productive time is different. While some people may be the most energized and productive at 5 am, others will do better during the late afternoon. You can also make sure you have your meetings at the time when you’re most productive.
Obviously, not every workplace will allow for working around one’s personal productivity peak, so you have to try to make the most of your most productive hours. Studies show that employees are only productive for an average of 3 hours per work day, so make sure that you make them good ones!
If you find that you do your best work first thing in the morning, but you’re pretty useless after lunch, then power through those first few hours and do the bulk of your work, then. You can then leave less labor-intensive tasks and admin jobs for your least productive times.
- Optimize your environment
One of the major challenges of working in a shared office environment is the fact that there are a lot of distractions to contend with. People are talking and laughing, phones are ringing, there are always people running back and forth, the photocopier is making a lot of noise, and something always smells like coffee. It can be a bit chaotic, so it’s understandable if you find it difficult to focus in these circumstances.
That’s why it’s important to optimize your environment in any way you can. If you’re easily distracted, there are some things you can do to force yourself to pay attention to the task at hand:
- If noise is an issue, then invest in a pair of headphones or earplugs and wear them while working. That can make a massive difference to your concentration levels, and in addition, it signals to your colleagues that you are not to be disturbed.
- If facing the window is distracting, move your desk around.
- If your office allows it, get some curtains or a space divider to block out your glass walls and add some privacy; sometimes, not being able to see everyone else can give you the atmosphere you need to do your work in peace.
- Make your space inspiring
Did you know that your surroundings can impact you psychologically? We’re not just talking about office noise and distractions; but about the actual physical space you work in and the way it’s decorated.
A drab, grey office space can demotivate you and depress you tremendously, because it’s not inspiring in any way. Imagine staring at the same blank wall every day, for 8 hours a day. It’s not stimulating, and it gets very boring, very fast.
If, however, you take some liberties and organize and decorate your space a bit (bring in some plants, display some photographs, put up some inspirational quotes or images that make you feel creative and inspired), you may find that you feel much better about being in that space and accomplishing great things.
- Make a list
Making a list can be an excellent way to keep your productivity levels high, because it helps you by giving you a clear picture of the tasks that you need to complete for the day. Sometimes, all you need is something small to motivate you and keep you going through the day, so the simple gesture of ticking off tasks after you’ve completed them can do wonders.
Do remember to keep your list realistic, and only set as many tasks as you can complete in your given amount of time. Let’s say you set just three major tasks for yourself – you are much more likely to be able to successfully complete them and end the day on a high. If you make a list of ten different tasks, you are less likely to make much progress, and that can actually have the opposite effect, demotivating you.
- Use a productivity method or tool
Sometimes, the shortest path to productivity is to “cheat” by using a tool or method that is meant to keep you in check and increase motivation. There are a lot of different things you can do:
- Pomodoro – The Pomodoro technique relies on working in short bursts with breaks in between. You can use a kitchen timer or the timer on your phone. All you need to do is establish a working period that allows you to remain productive and not get bored or strained (it can be 20 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.) – set your timer for that time, and start working. Once it rings, you can take a 5 to 10-minute break, and then set your timer again for another increment.
- Personal Kanban – This is more of an organization method, than anything else, and it helps you visualize your tasks and where they are in the process of completion. You can do this physically, on a whiteboard and with post-its, or you can use a platform like Trello, which essentially does it for you.
You’ll have different columns for your workflow: To Be Done, Doing, and Done, and different cards with the tasks that need doing, that you are currently doing, and that you’ve already completed. Move the cards from one column to another as you go, and you will always know what your workload is like.
- Don’t break the chain – This method is more of a psychological exercise, than a productivity tool, but it relies on your personal motivation. You only need a calendar and a pen. It works like this: once you successfully complete your tasks for the day, you mark an X on the calendar for that day. Then again, the next day, and the next day, and so on. Your goal is to continue to mark Xs for every single day and not break the chain by failing to complete your daily assignment on any given day.
- Automate tasks – Tools and software can be great ways of helping out with tedious tasks that slow down your productivity and kill your motivation. And this doesn’t apply only to office jobs, either – if you’re working an office job, a task management tool may help, but something like pest control software or workforce software can make your life easier, even if you’re working a blue-collar job.
- Utilize incentives
If no other productivity tools are working out for you, perhaps it’s time to scale it back and opt for a much simpler concept: task completion and reward. Yes, just like you would train a dog or a child, you can set incentives for yourself to motivate you and increase productivity. These incentives can be bigger or smaller, according to the task.
For example, you can allow yourself a piece of chocolate or a 10-minute YouTube break for every hour of work that you complete, or you can treat yourself to that new Apple gadget you’ve been eyeing for successfully completing your project for this quarter by the given deadline.
If inner motivation is lacking for you at the moment, then external motivation can work to give you something to look forward to.
Remaining productive day after day can be a real challenge, because sooner or later, motivation starts dwindling and you are left scrambling to get work done. Everyone falls into a slump once in a while, but hopefully, these 7 tips will help you regain your motivation and increase your productivity levels.