Even if you love your job, work can become so routine that it’s easy to feel like you’re stuck in a rut. When you start to feel like you’re in a funk, your brain may start to have trouble concentrating and even getting the most menial tasks accomplished. This brain fog is especially frustrating if your work requires creativity. Here are some ways to keep your workday productive and on-track.
Get to Work Early
They say the early bird catches the worm, and that’s true when it comes to getting to work too. Getting to the office early will give you uninterrupted time to accomplish big tasks when you’re still fresh. If you are able to arrive before your colleagues, you’re likely to spend time focused and productive, plus you’ll earn a reputation for being a hard worker around the office.
Make a List
If your brain feels muddled or you feel overwhelmed by your work, take the time to make a list of different projects you need to accomplish. Then, mark them by priority. Using lists will help break your work into smaller increments that will make tasks feel more manageable. Crossing off items you’ve accomplished can be very satisfying as well, even if it’s small tasks that you’ve completed.
Get Enough Sleep
It’s much easier to get to work early and motivate yourself to make an organized list when you’re getting enough sleep. Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep. Sleep also has other benefits to your productivity, and getting the right kind of sleep matters too.
When you sleep you spend time in REM, deep and light sleep. REM sleep and deep sleep are the time that your body restores and revitalizes. Things like drinking alcohol and eating heavy meals before bed will keep your body from getting restorative sleep, meaning you’ll feel less rested and ready to take on the workday. Having similar sleep and wake times and avoiding blue light before bed can also affect the quality of your sleep.
Make Sure You’re Getting the Right Vitamins
What you put into your body can affect your productivity in ways beyond your sleep as well. If your body doesn’t get the right vitamins, minerals and fuel it needs to support brain and physical body function, you may find yourself lagging and having a hard time concentrating while at work. Micronutrients, minerals and antioxidants like those offered in supplements created by USANA Health Sciences will keep you energized in body and mind to get through your day.
Just like supplements, food fuels you. That means what you eat can be important to your productivity throughout the day as well. If you eat heavy meals, high in carbs and fat, you’re going to feel those mid-morning and midafternoon crashes as your body processes the carbs. Foods like sweets and bread-based meals leave you feeling sluggish and unfocused because your body has to produce more insulin to process the foods. Crashes can leave you feeling anxious, tired and irritable, making it difficult to concentrate. To avoid these crashes, avoid simple sugars and eat a variety of foods high in vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
Even when you’re eating right and getting enough sleep, there are days when you’ll feel unfocused and unproductive. To fight these feelings, take breaks throughout the day. Breaks can do a lot to refresh your mind. Taking a moment to breathe deeply or meditate will help rest your overworked brain.
Go For a Walk
If you’re struggling to focus on a big project, getting up and walking around is another way to help your mind refocus. Taking a walk has shown to improve the mood of the walker and get the creative juices flowing. Not only will a walk increase productivity, but it will leave you feeling more positive about your work. One study found that walking at lunch three times a week left the walker feeling less stressed, more relaxed and more motivated to finish tasks.
Make Exercise a Part of Your Routine
In fact, walking, and exercising in general, helps forge connections between brain cells, making exercise another way that you can be more focused and productive at work. Exercise also stimulates neuron growth, meaning amplified brain power.
Revel in the Unstructured Moments
It may seem like these types of breaks would decrease productivity. After all, if you’re not working you can’t be productive. That’s not necessarily true though. Whether you’re on a walk or chatting with a coworker in a common space, these unscheduled and unstructured moments are often where big ideas happen. At some forward-thinking organizations, they have intentionally spent up common spaces where staff take breaks and chat with each other, because they’ve found that’s where the creative juices really get flowing.
Taking breaks, exercising and making lists may seem like things that take away from your work, but forming some of these positive habits will result in better productivity overall and leave you feeling less stressed and more accomplished.