Rather than actually focusing on what we should be doing, we end up tidying the house, browsing social media, or watching cat videos on YouTube for hours. We know it’s wrong, but it just becomes oh so tempting whenever there is work to be done.
A drab workspace may be hindering your concentration at work. A study found that the colour red helps to increase your attention to detail, while blue sparks your creativity. Add these colours to your workspace to create an environment that’s more conducive to productivity.
If you’re a serial procrastinator, you probably get the majority of your work down hours before it’s due. To motivate yourself to get it done sooner, set yourself deadlines for when you need to complete tasks by and try to stick to them.
If you work from home, try to create a space that is dedicated to work so that you can separate work from home. If you work on the sofa or in bed, you’re more likely to relax and let your mind drift off your work, or into a nap. Take your work to a library or café if you can.
Assign a colleague, supervisor or family member to keep track of your work habits and punish you whenever you procrastinate. Whether this is a verbal telling off or a forfeit is up to you. Imagine a swear jar for procrastination. Are you willing to pay to waste time browsing Facebook?
Our smartphones and other devices can be very distracting. If all your favourite apps are at arm’s length, the temptation is strong. Think about how many times you check your phone in an average day. This takes a lot of time away from your work, so try removing your phone from your desk to minimise interruption.
Preparation is a great strategy for improving productivity. Prepare everything you need for work the night before and you’ll be less likely to forget things and more likely to stick to your plan. If you’re trying to eat healthy lunches at work, preparing it the night before will prevent you from being too lazy to do it in the morning.
Exercise releases endorphins in our body which make us feel happy and energised. Fitting a workout in first thing in the morning has been found to make you more productive for the rest of the day. You don’t have to spend an hour slogging away at the gym; try this 10-minute workout at home.
Big tasks can be overwhelming, making us more likely to put them off. Make your tasks more manageable by breaking them down into smaller ones. Create a checklist of these mini tasks and take them one at a time. Ticking them off your list will give you a sense of accomplishment, motivating you to tackle the rest.
Motivate yourself to work hard with inspirational quotes. Pinterest has boards filled with them. Pin them up on your wall or write them on a board in your office so that they are there to motivate you whenever your mind starts to wander.
If you’re prone to wandering off to look for food regularly at work, stock your desk up with snacks so that you don’t get too distracted every time you get peckish. Healthy snacks like fruits and nuts will keep you feeling productive.