Hands up if you’ve experienced this. You are on your third cup of coffee and you have cleared all your emails and menial tasks. But somehow or another, you just cannot get into the zone to complete the really important work.
Combined with the post-lunch food coma and the looming pressure of deadlines, there’s no way that you will be able to complete your work today without having to do overtime.
But don’t worry, we are here to help. Here are 9 exceptionally effective workplace hacks that will transform your workspace, change your mindset and help you implement better work habits. We hope that when you read these tips, you take the time to mindfully implement them in your life, as let’s face it as because deep down, nobody likes to do overtime.
EDIT Away The Clutter at Your Desk
Unless you have been living under a rock, you would have heard about Marie Kondo by now; some of you might also be konverts. We are fans of her methods but for this organizing desks, the EDIT method works best. Studies have shown that physical clutter negatively affects productivity for most people as: ‘A cluttered desk or office can negatively affect your mood, resilience, and ability to work productively, and disorder creates stress which can cause low moods.’ To counter this, use the “EDIT” method to clear the clutter for increased productivity!
E – E for empty. Clear out all your drawers, desk and start afresh with a clean desk. Throw out all the wrappers, fading receipts, non-functioning stationery and the rubbish you would have accumulated over time.
D – D for Dump. Dump all the things you have cleared out from your drawer in one large accessible box. Keep this box near your desk and drawer and when you find the need to use an item, take it out and place it in the first drawer. This can be done over two days for the best results. After two days, you should get rid of all the items left behind.
I – I for Identify. Identify which items you need the most. Generally, these are the items you have taken out the fastest during the previous step. In order words, find the items that spark joy and place them in your most accessible drawer. Thereafter, put the remaining stuff into another drawer.
T – T for Trial. Give different storage organizers a trial run on your desk. Everybody’s needs are different, so there’s no one size fit all storage solution for your desk. For some, office stationery is used the most while others may have to deal with a lot of paper forms. Whatever your needs may be, IUIGA has you covered. Check out our extensive range of Office Supplies & Stationery and the many types of storage organizers we have. Best part, we have a thirty day return period so you can return it if it is not working for you.
Optimize Coffee Drinking Time
Once you have cleared your desk, you’ll have more space to put your coffee cup. This tip is for those who can’t do without coffee (Don’t worry you are not alone). For those who like their early morning cup of coffee, I have bad news. According to the research done by Steven Miller, a Ph.D. candidate at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, the early morning kopi reduces the effectiveness of the energy boost given by caffeine as your cortisol levels (the hormone which keeps you alert) are highest from 8am to 9am. You may even develop an increased tolerance towards it. So the best time to drink your coffee is actually from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30am and 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m as this is when your cortisol levels need an extra push. This will give your productivity that boost it needs.
Use The “tag” System to Organize Your Notebook
Even in this age of smartphones and computers, I still use a notebook to jot down important ideas on the go as inspiration can strike anywhere. However, keeping the whole notebook organized is not easy. Most of the time, you will end up splitting your notebook into categories and not make full use of the space or it may take too long to find where you wrote down this specific idea. Enter the ‘tag’ method an amazing method taught to the folks over at HighFiveHQ by a Japanese salaryman. Here’s how it works. The last few pages of your notebook will function as an index, each time you create a new entry at the front, you are going to ‘tag’ it. For example, you may be collating a book of recopies so the Index will contain the types of cuisine. When you record a recipe on the front pages make a small visible mark that can be seen on the side of the page in alignment with the index. Now you will have multiple tags visible on each side. To find the recipe from the cuisine that you wanted simply flip to the corresponding tab. For a complete explanation and visual representation check out HiFiveHQ.
Keep Track of Things
Although this may seem a bit of a hassle, keep a running list of tasks your boss asks you to do. On this list, include the date when your boss gave that instruction, the steps you need to take, the expected date of completion and your progress. In addition, When you see how much you have achieved, you are able to gather momentum to keep going.
This has three main benefits. Firstly, you will not miss out on important tasks when it gets busy. Secondly, you are able to track what you have achieved so that you have something to show during performance reviews. Lastly, you will be able to tell your boss what you are currently working on to show that you are being productive and that you have everything under control. I found that Trello really helps with this.
2 Minute Rule
When you start your day at the office and you are planning what tasks to tackle first, follow the 2-minute rule. The rule states that if you can do these tasks in less 2 minutes or less just do it! Unless you have something urgent to rush in the morning, this should be your first priority. The more you procrastinate on these tasks, the more they will snowball and prevent you from leaving on time at the end of the day. Completing these 2-minute tasks will also give you momentum to finish more complex tasks as well. A quick email reply? A phone call to arrange for a delivery? Do it now!
Do the Pomodoro
When working, you can only effectively focus for so long before your mind starts to drift or the quality of your output drops. Taking breaks will make it better but you might end up working for hours if you don’t specifically plan for them. Enter the Pomodoro Technique. Instead of taking infrequent breaks, you work for 25 minutes at a time and take a short five-minute break after. This is called a Pomodoro To make this work, you will need to fully focus during the 25 minutes. If you feel the need to do something else during a Pomodoro, note it down and address it during the next one. The more you practice this technique, the more productive you will be during the Pomodoros. Here’s how this works.
- Start a timer for 25 minutes.
- Fully focus and work during this 25 minutes
- Relax and take a quick 5-minute break.
- For every four Pomodoros (focus periods), take a longer break— usually 15-25 minutes.
Although there a lot of apps for this, we really like Focus Booster which has Mac, Windows, Apple, and Android versions
Add some moisture to your dry office with a water humidifier.
Although Singapore is really hot, we are blessed with air conditioning in most of our offices. However, air conditioners lower the humidity in a room significantly, leaving the room high and dry. Dry rooms can cause many problems for people which includes things like breathing difficulties, sore throats, chapped lips, and dry skin. In addition, when a room is too dry, it can be really uncomfortable. This will really put a dampener on your productivity as you will have to deal with this discomfort.
The obvious solution would be to turn off the air conditioning, but we are sure this will make you a few enemies. Thankfully, we have a less drastic solution for you to consider. The Nano Ultrasonic Aroma Mist Diffuser we sell for just $19.90 sends water into the air, allowing you to breathe just a little easier and really focus on your Pomodoros. Plus, it’s super quiet so your less observant colleagues won’t even know you have one!
Add a Plant to Your Office Space
Researchers at the University of Queensland have discovered that having plants in the office will lift the mood of the staff and increase productivity by around 15 percent.
Co-authored by Professor Alex Haslam from UQ’s School of Psychology, the study found that adding plants to an office also improved employee satisfaction and quality of life. Professor Haslam said that “a green office helps employees to be more physically, mentally and emotionally involved in their work.”
So keep a plant or two at your desk for growth in productivity!
Researchers at Stanford University found that the act of walking stimulates creativity. The study concluded that walking either outdoors or indoors leads to a boost in instances of creative inspiration. The study also found that it was the act of walking and not the environment itself was the main factor. In comparison to participants who were sitting, the walking group’s creativity levels were consistently and notably higher.
Other studies have found that any type of aerobic exercise will improve cognitive processes, this means that it will help you think better.
For example, if you’re a writer and you have a case of writer’s block, a long walk to lunch will provide much-needed inspiration. Similarly, any office worker would know about the post-lunch food coma Your attention is slipping, the harsh lighting is not doing any wonders for your concentration and getting another coffee seems risky. It may seem like a very normal thing to do but walking instead of taking the bus or the MRT for a short distance will do great things for your productivity.
That’s it. Here are the 9 awesome tips you can implement to boost your productivity so you can leave on time, for the more important things in life. As the saying goes, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together” (Vincent Van Gough). At the end of the day, it’s the small changes and improvements that will amount to a lasting positive change in your life.
For all the other small changes and improvements you can make to your desk, check out our full range of office supplies and stationery that will add color to your work life and make you that bit more productive.