Management February 12, 2015 Last updated February 11th, 2015 517 Reads share

Turbocharge Your Productivity Without Chaining Yourself to Your Desk

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Keeping up productivity throughout the work day is no easy task. Not only is it pretty difficult to keep concentrating from 9am to 5pm, but there’s loads more distractions ready to fill any lapse in work. You might try some techniques such as hiding your phone away or blocking Facebook on your computer, but in fact, getting away from your desk might just save the day.

Getting exercise

Being sat at your desk for hours on end isn’t healthy, but that’s not exactly news. We know that exercise is good for us, but it has other benefits too. Not only does it release endorphins putting you in a good mood, but it’s also great for productivity too. On top of that, it keeps you healthy and fit, so what’s not to love?

Whether it’s before work or during your lunch break, a quick jog, workout, or even a brisk walk will help you out. If you have a gym nearby it would be great to squeeze in some treadmill time or even a swim during your lunch break. It might even be worth convincing your employer to try and strike a deal on membership if there’s enough of your co-workers interested.

Once you’re back to work you’ll find you have some extra mental energy to finish off the day with. So, try not to get too comfy, staying at one place all day isn’t going to help. 

Resting your eyes

Looking after your eyes is pretty important. Considering so many of us work with computer screens a lot then it’s worth looking after them.  As you need to take your eyes off the screen regularly, take this time to get away from your desk for a bit. Even if it’s just to get a drink of water from the kitchen, it’ll do you good.

While a short two minute break won’t do huge amounts for productivity, it’s what it prevents that’s important. By taking you attention off your computer monitor, you’re going to lower the risk of headaches and other ailments which will stop you getting work done.

It’s worth learning the 20-20-20 rule. This includes taking your eyes off the screen for 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away, do it for 20 seconds. That’s nice and easy and won’t interrupt your work too much either. Best to avoid staring at colleagues though, they might find it a bit uncomfortable.

Take your work or meeting outside

Being stuck inside the same four walls day in and day out aren’t going to do much good for productivity and inspiration. In this aspect of life, consistency isn’t great and it can make you feel sluggish and disinterested, meaning your work will suffer.

If you’re able take your work outside or to a different environment, then do so. This won’t be possible for everyone, but if you can, then getting your head down in the park or meeting a client in a café can make you feel stimulated, focused and refreshed. A bit of a change of scenery can do great things for the mind!

Your client might even appreciate being taken out somewhere (as long as you’re paying). Taking them to try the best coffee or juiciest burger in town is a nice touch and will help them feel more at ease during the meeting.

Go for a walk with an audiobook

We’ve already mentioned exercise, but what about if you’re not in the mood? Well, shorten the walk to a nearby park or café, sit down and switch on an interesting audiobook. It’s a good way to clear your mind and relax, while also having some fun.

By the time you get back, your mind will be rested and you’ll be ready to concentrate once again. The book you listened to might have even given you some news ideas to apply to your next project. Here’s a few suggestions for some decent audiobooks to try out:

  • Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy
  • The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss
  • Purple Cow by Seth Godin
  • The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

These are all titles that that will teach you something and provide some work-related inspiration, although in the case of Jordan Belfort’s The Wolf of Wall Street, it’s more about showing you what not to do. You don’t have to stick with serious or business-related books. No one’s going to judge you for listening to Harry Potter – mostly because no one will know.

Have lunch with someone from outside work

Finally, while it’s nice to chat and get on with your co-workers, there’s always the tendency to talk shop meaning your brain won’t get some much needed downtime. That’s why, every so often, you should plan a lunch date with a friend away from the office.

It’s another way to take your mind off things and blow off some steam if needed, providing an opportunity to refresh yourself. You can get any office annoyances off your chest, catch up, and generally relax. It’s also gives you a chance to break up your usual routine with something different, which is perfect as doing the same thing day in day out at lunch can quickly become a rut.

It can be good even if you can’t take your mind off work. While your friend might not be interested and never meet for lunch with you again, you can try bouncing some ideas off them to get a new perspective. If you can coax an opinion out of them, it could make you a hero back in the office. Just ensure that you’re not sharing any sensitive information with them, especially if they work in a related industry.

One warning though, try not to get carried away – especially if your friend isn’t on a lunch break. It can be only too easy to lose track of time. Getting back to the office late is unlikely to lead to improved focus, particularly if it means you risk missing a vital deadline or call.

Productivity isn’t simply about working harder. Allowing yourself time to revitalise yourself mentally and physically is more likely to lead to more focused, quality work than simply piling on the hours.

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S. M. Nelson

S. M. Nelson

S. M. Nelson is a freelance writer based in the UK. With over 8 years experience in the tech, business and lifestyle industries, she's written for Huff Post, ThinkProgress, Salon, Tech.Co, Tweak Your Biz, and many more.

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