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How to stay productive throughout the workday

You’re not the only one who reaches a certain point in the day where you “just can’t” anymore. Everyone experiences it. Some people just know how to deal with it better than others. Obviously, it’s important to stay productive throughout the entire workday. So, if we manage our workday routines, we’ll be able to be more consistently productive throughout the day.

Start a new work week with these practices and see what difference it makes to your productivity levels. You may need to change things up frequently in order to maintain productivity, but first, you need to find out what works. Here are a few things you can do to stay productive throughout the workday.

Have a plan for the day

It’s easy to go with the motions of the day and tackle workloads as they come in. But wouldn’t it be more motivating to get things done if you start the day with a list of things you want and need to complete? This way, you’re setting deadlines for yourself. And, in most cases, when there’s a deadline, it’s easier to push through work and make sure it’s done in time.

At the end of every day, you should be creating a to-do list for the next day. Then, when you get into the office, you check your list, organise yourself and get straight to work. Tick things off as you go along, it’s good to track your progress because you can then see and feel how you’re achieving goals and being productive.

If your tasks can’t be easily quantified onto a list, then the next best thing you can do to plan for the day is set some goals and make sure you reach them by the day’s end. And by creating a plan for the day, you’re also less likely to becomes overwhelmed by the work the day brings in as you can prioritise your list of things to do and not forget about anything. As long as you’re realistic about what you can get done within a day, it will be easy to motivate yourself and maintain your productivity.

Take that coffee break

While you’re working through your to-do list for the day, you mustn’t forget to take a break every now and then. Stretch your legs and make yourself a cup of coffee. Get your company to invest in a Nescafé Alegria coffee machine where all it takes is a touch of a button and, voilá, you have a cup of caffeine ready to give you that much-needed boost. If your office has an outdoor section, ask your employer if they could consider adding some plants and outdoor décor to help employees relax their minds for a bit.

But don’t underestimate the power of a mini-break. Just give yourself five minutes to step away from the computer, get some fresh air from outside and move your body. After those five minutes, your mind will be ready for the next round of hard work. Don’t forget to drink water too. You can’t live off only coffee in the office. Your body needs the hydrating, energetic, flushing and nutritious properties of water as well.

Have a “power hour”

If you want to be incredibly productive in the day and tackle as much of the workload as possible, you need to fit in at least one “power hour” at some point of the day. Now, what exactly is a power hour, you ask? It’s a full, uninterrupted 60 minutes of work. And “uninterrupted” means no email checking, no Skype or instant messaging (internal office communication and personal communication included), no talking to anyone else in the office, no internet browsing or using your cellphone, just working.

Put your earphones in if necessary, mute all your conversations and put a “do not disturb” sign up if you really have to. Set a timer so that you don’t end up checking the time every 10 minutes and risk being distracted. It’s only one hour of an eight-hour workday, you can afford it and you’ll be surprised at how much you can actually get done.    

Know when you’re in over your head

There is such a thing as too much work for one person and it’s important to know what your limit is. You can’t keep saying yes to work that you know you’ll either never get done on time or do to the best of your abilities within the time constraints. The key to productivity is witnessing your progress, but when you’re in over your head and feel like you can’t get anything done, it’s easy to lose focus and motivation.

There’s no shame in asking for help or saying no when client service sends a new, non-priority project your way. For the sake of your productivity and performance, you need to learn when to say no. Master the management of your daily tasks before you try to undertake any ad hoc tasks.

It is possible to stay productive throughout the workday, you just need to set your realistic goals, give your body the caffeine, hydration and break it needs, and put your head down for an hour at a time.