Don’t you just hate those unproductive days when you’re sitting at your desk searching for an inkling of motivation as you stare at a blank computer screen?
No matter what you do, you just can’t maintain focus for more than 30 seconds. You keep looking at the clock but time seems to be moving backwards. Your anxiety starts to build as assignment after assignment is thrown onto your desk.
Having an unproductive day is rough.
Staying productive throughout the course of an entire day is difficult. In fact, it is proven that your willpower depletes as the day goes on. Luckily, there are some tricks that you can use to give yourself a productivity boost in the middle of a long day at work.
Break Tasks Into Smaller Steps
Sometimes you are assigned a huge project that could take up a lot of time. Even though this assignment is important, you choose to spend your time browsing social media. This project is always on your mind, but for some reason you can’t get it started.
You choose to procrastinate because you don’t have a step-by-step plan on how you are going to complete the project. For example, let’s say that you want to write a book. This is a huge project, and just thinking about it might make you nervous. Let’s say you break it down into writing each page. Now that book doesn’t seem as scary, and you’ll make productive progress toward completing your book.
It’s crucial that you write down each step you will take to finish the assignment. That way the project will seem much more manageable, and your productivity won’t decline.
Organize Your Desk
Nobody likes a desk that is loaded with clutter. Clutter can distract you, and it’s difficult to get work done when there are unorganized papers everywhere.
Cleaning your desk also presents an opportunity to step away from that dreary task you’re working on, and still do something productive. You’ll feel good about completing that task, and a snowball effect of productivity may ensue.
Normally you would consider drinking coffee or an energy drink to give yourself a boost. It turns out that you increase your productivity by 14 percent when you drink water.
When you aren’t hydrated, your brain sends signals that indicate thirst. You can fulfill these signals of thirst by drinking water, which gives your brain more energy to focus on the task at hand.
Plus, an already unproductive day won’t benefit from a sugar crash later. So throw that Red Bull in the garbage and make your way over to the water cooler!
Take a Break
There is nothing more characteristic of an unproductive day than staring at the same computer screen all day and getting nothing done. Although this might sound counterintuitive, taking a break can help you boost your productivity.
When you hit a mental roadblock in the middle of the day, you tend to develop a bad mood. This bad mood can decrease your productivity by 10 percent.
It’s best to step away from whatever you are trying to complete, and take a 15-minute break where you don’t even think about work. Listen to music, go for a walk or watch a few funny cat videos. Taking this time to improve your mood is essential for your productivity.
Do Breathing Exercises
By performing simple breathing exercises at your desk, you can lower your stress level and gain focus. The oxygen flow to your brain will enhance concentration.
There are many breathing exercises you can try, but here is one that is simple:
- Inhale through your nose for 5 seconds. Feel your lungs fill with air and focus on your breathing.
- Exhale for 5 seconds. Focus on the air leaving your body.
Doing this can help you relax and get to work. At the very least, it can keep stress from making your unproductive day even less productive.
These days are tough, there’s no denying that. Having a negative attitude will only make the day more unbearable to get through. Try to stay positive and remember that Netflix will be waiting for you when you get home!