Staying alert and productive all day, every day seems like an insurmountable task. With instant access to e-mail, YouTube and Facebook, the challenge becomes that much greater.
It's easy to fall into a monotonous 9-to-5 routine, but consider the expense. First, you (and your company) will lose out on productivity if you're less than engaged with your tasks.
If you're a manager, your employees will likely catch on that you're not wholly present. If you're an employee, your manager will sooner or later pick up on your laziness.
But productivity is possible. In fact, being attentive to—and even captivated by—your work is a lot easier after a few subtle adjustments to your routine and work style.
Do crossword puzzles before tossing the newspaper
Doctors recommend mind games, like crossword puzzles, to combat memory loss associated with aging. But filling in those blanks means more than staving off dementia.
If you spend just 15 minutes a day stretching your brain this way, your reasoning skills and memory capacity improve. And when you can effectively reason out problems and quickly remember important facts, you'll be a more effective, focused worker.
A key way to make sure you're making progress (and hold yourself accountable, too) is to set specific goals. Rather than broad, overarching goals that might apply collectively to everyone at your company, set aside some time to personally evaluate yourself and your objectives.
Set reasonable but challenging benchmarks and strive to attain them. Having a clearly defined path with key achievements outlined along the way will help you avoid that impossible, daunted feeling and ensure forward motion.
Even if your work isn't the most invigorating, it's up to you to prevent boredom setting in.
Set goals for yourself, pick out your preferred tasks and pepper them throughout your day. Get up to loosen your limbs and take a stroll through the office. However you can spice up your day, do it. You'll be plugged into your work, and it'll show.
Saturate your diet with healthy foods. You'll be amazed at how you feel better mentally, as well as physically. If your body and brain have the nutrients they need to operate at their best, your output will reflect it.
So what do you need? Research shows that foods high in antioxidants (think hardy veggies like cabbage, broccoli and spinach, and fruits like blueberries and tomatoes) provide a blast of nutrients that our brains crave.
Especially in the morning, a dose of sugar (in the form of fruit or even, yes, a doughnut) can provide the jolt you need to start the day. Your morning Joe can work wonders, too. Caffeinated coffee delivers a boost that will get you ready to get things done. Just don't overdo it—too much caffeine can have the opposite effect.
Be a morning person
People whose productivity peaks in the morning hours are more proactive, effective problem-solvers, according to a study by biologist, Christoph Randler.
Night owls, though often more creative and outgoing, can't shine the way morning people do on a typical business schedule. Try adjusting your sleep patterns so that you rise early—getting that extra jump on the day can amplify your output at work because you'll be more tuned into your tasks for the first half of the workday.
Because morning people tend to perform better in the workplace, they often have more successful careers with higher pay.
Take your power back
Maintaining a sense of engagement with your work and your coworkers is up to you, says Sybil Chavis, author of Stop Complaining & Start Living. However you can stay engaged, do it.
Don’t let yourself fall into the easy trap of blaming your colleagues, your office, your workload, your daily tasks or your routine for your lack of focus or direction.
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