by G. John Cole
It seems like everybody is overworked these days. Automation in some sectors just increases the possibility of what can be achieved, and the competition to get and keep a good job is ever stronger.
If you do your best to stay on top of things but often find yourself fighting through the exhaustion barrier to get a task completed, you’ll know how frustrating it can feel to sense your productivity waning just when you need it the most.
There’s no substitute for maintaining a healthy work-life balance, but it’s good to know that when the chips are down there are many productivity hacks you can use to help make that last push.
Productivity Hack #1: Prioritize
Making a tiered to-do list that ranks your tasks from most to least important can help ensure you have your best energy when you need it most.
Get the important stuff done early in the day while you’re still relatively fresh. You can also think about saving more ‘mechanical’ tasks such as updating databases until later in the day – that way, you use your creative energy on more thought-intensive jobs.
Productivity Hack #2: Take a break
You may be on a tight deadline, but when you work without taking a rest you just get slower and slower until you finally realize you haven’t got anything done for the past 20 minutes.
Think ahead and set a timer to remind you to take five every 50 minutes. It’s just a quick breather, but can make all the difference.
Productivity Hack #3: Notifications off!
Ever noticed how the more tired you get, the more attractive your smart phone looks in comparison to your workstation?
It’s easy to get sucked into Facebook when you just set out to respond to a single notification. Better to switch those notifications off altogether – and hide your phone. You can count up all your Likes as a reward when the job is done!
Productivity Hack #4: Stretch
Even when you think you’re exhausted, forcing yourself to do some exercise can be beneficial – it gets the blood pumping, boosts the flow of oxygen to your brain, and takes your mind off your worries for a few minutes.
We don’t all have a gym nearby or the luxury of an office ping-pong table (or a willing opponent!), but try some desk stretches or a spot of yoga to remind your mind it has a hardworking body to look after, too. It also increases your breathing and thus oxygen to your brain.
Productivity Hack #5: Coffee, but for superheroes
Have you already built up such a tolerance to coffee that you barely notice each cup going down?
You can power it up, though, by adding coconut oil and butter – or cut out the middleman, and just add coconut butter. It gives your mind a cognitive boost right when you need it.
Productivity Hack #6: Get a change of scenery
It isn’t very inspiring to sit staring at the same four walls when you’re working 12-hour days. Finding a fresh environment has been shown to help boost creativity and concentration – and you can use your walk to a nearby café as that exercise boost we were talking about earlier.
Productivity Hack #7: Track your water intake
You’re tired. You have no idea how much water you’ve been drinking – but if it’s not enough, you’re going to wind up completely fatigued.
Use a marker pen to measure out how much water you need to drink by 10am, noon, 2pm etc. More water = more focus. Best if at least eight cups a day.
Productivity Hack #8: Stand up
Standing workstations are all the rage, and for good reason. Working while standing up can reduce risk of obesity and cancer, understandably giving you a longer life expectancy.
It also boosts your brain power and puts you in a good mood – you’re gonna need it if you’re going to get through the rest of the work day!
Productivity Hack #9: Listen to something new
Experiments have shown again and again that moderate ambient noise improves productivity. Ask a friend to make you a playlist, or click through to your recommended tunes on Spotify, to freshen things up and prevent yourself from getting stuck in a rut.
Productivity Hack #10: Move next to a window
Daylight is your friend. Oxygen is your friend. Invite them in.
Natural light has been shown to improve job performance, while fresh air is always good for keeping you awake. Move your desk to a window, or at least open the blinds and let the air circulate.
Productivity Hack #11: The power of peppermint
Essential oils seem to speak to our very souls. In particular, peppermint oil has a way of waking you up and boosting your alertness. Keep a bottle open on your desk, or rub some on your wrists when you need a fix. Kaboom! Or chew some sugar-free peppermint gum.
Finally, think about saving this new infographic from STL to your desktop – it’s a great resource to refer to when your energy is low and you need a quick productivity hack to get you through the day.