We’ve all been there; you wake up, set off for work thinking “I’m going to be really productive today!”, sit at your desk…and the motivation to even so much as begin working simply isn’t there. Maybe it’s a big project that will require a lot of time and focus, or maybe it’s just reading a document to sign off, whatever the task, it happens to all of us.
Whether it’s just a one-off day here and there, or a little more regular throughout the week, there are a lot of different factors that can contribute towards demotivation and lack of productivity, but one of the most important factors that can be managed is…
Health and Wellbeing
When you’re not feeling great, physically or emotionally, work can seem daunting, and task lists can seemingly stretch out for miles ahead of you. Getting the motivation to start making a dent in your daily tasks becomes much more difficult, whether you are struggling through a cold, feeling a little blue, battling a headache, or stressed.
Take a Break
Keeping on top of your health and wellbeing is important, particularly in office or desk-based work. If you are working at the office, make sure to take regular breaks; stretch, walk around, get some fresh air, and give your eyes a break from the screen. Little things like this can give you a moment or two to refresh and reset, and help to avoid the build-up of stress, eye strain, and fatigue.
But what about working from home? Over the past couple of years, working from home has changed from an occasional nicety, to recommended, all the way up to mandatory. We all know that, while it’s much easier to work from home (no commute traffic to worry about, no managers hovering over your shoulder, the kettle is much closer etc), it’s also easier to fall into a laxer method of working. There’s a lot of distractions that can take your focus away from your work, and while this is good every now and again (as mentioned above), it’s important not to get too carried away. Try to limit your screentime while working; for example, changing out television for music to help keep focused on your workload.
Once you have finished work for the day, it is important to make time to relax and unwind, whether it’s through sports, exercise, hobbies etc. Spending your afternoons thinking and worrying about the next day’s work is going to make all of your free time seem like work, and everyone needs a break sometimes! Exercising, eating regular healthy meals and getting a good night’s sleep makes a huge difference with workload-related stress. With a busy lifestyle, it can be difficult to eat at the right times, or even get enough sleep on occasion, however taking steps forward to implement a healthier lifestyle is definitely a good direction to move in to improve productivity and mental focus while at work.
The Right Tools for the Job
Productivity and efficiency can only go as far as the tools you have available will allow; a carpenter can only do so much without a saw! The right tools, and with the right training, can make all the difference between hitting and missing a deadline.
Hardware and Software
While this might not come up very often, it is still a hugely important part in keeping workflow moving. Having the correct hardware and equipment for the task at hand will allow you to work much more streamlined and effectively. For example, running email reports, database editing and balance sheets on a mobile phone might be possible, however it is much faster, easier, and a lot more convenient to perform these tasks from a laptop or desktop computer. Graphic editing and design? Try a tablet and digital editing software. Accounting and payroll? Software such as Sage is hugely quicker, and much more streamlined than pen and paper. Get in touch with your manager or your tech team if you feel you haven’t got the tools to maximise your productivity.
Working at a cluttered desk isn’t the greatest way to start your day, especially if the space isn’t large enough to accommodate your day-to-day workload. Keep an eye on your available space, how comfortable your seating position is, your computer and/or monitor setup, and if there are any issues be sure to raise them with your manager. The sooner the problems are raised, the quicker a solution can be implemented, and being comfortable and having breathing room at your workstation can help to reduce stress and improve focus.
These starting points can give a good foothold to improving personal and office efficiency, and well-tailored implementation can help to boost productivity in times when it is needed most for the business. Stay safe!