Written by Alyne Lowell
Are you struggling to stay awake at work? Do you often work through your lunch break? Are you always the last one to leave the office? Are you constantly staying up late to meet project deadlines? Do you have difficulty concentrating while at work? Are you easily distracted?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, it’s likely that there’s something wrong with your work habits. You might be working ineffectively. Even worse, you might be sabotaging your own health or your personal relationships for the sake of work. Read on to find out how you can work more effectively and stay healthy while doing so.
Take More Breaks
It may seem counterintuitive to take more breaks when you already feel like you haven’t got enough hours in the day, but the truth is, the longer you sit at your desk, the less productive you’re going to be. Yes, you’re staring at the screen, and yes, your fingers are typing, but if your head’s not in the game, you’re not being productive. Take a five-minute break every hour or every two hours to get some air, go to the bathroom, or drink some water (dehydration can kill your concentration).
Don’t Check Email First Thing in the Morning
What’s the first thing you do when you get to work? A lot of people get coffee and start checking their work email. They get caught up in replying to questions (most of which are trivial) and end up sapping their own energy and wasting their whole morning. Email is usually used for less urgent communication; most people pick up the phone or text when things get really urgent or if they need an immediate answer on something. Therefore, the best thing to do when you first get to work is map out a plan for the entire day: go over your pending tasks for the week/day and prioritize them. Figure out what needs to be done today and get started on it as soon as possible. Save the email checking for times when you are less productive, such as just after lunch when your brain’s not quite ready to focus yet.
Make Lunch Appointments
Instead of working through lunch, make it a point to lunch with some of your co-workers. Get out of the office. Check out new cafés or restaurants nearby. Stay away from work subjects during the lunch hour, and also stay away from office gossip. Talk about your hobbies or what you’ve been doing lately. Build new relationships and get to know your colleagues as people. This will help you feel more like part of a team.
Learn to Delegate
Maybe past experience has taught you that delegation is not a good idea. Or maybe you’re a bit of a perfectionist and you feel that you’re the only one who can get things done right. Either way, delegation is one of the most important skills you can use to get things done on time. Sure, other people may not do things perfectly, but for some things, “good enough” is all you need. Save your time for the really important projects or the big clients and delegate the minor tasks to others.
If you feel like you need to get a better handle on work, following the tips above can help you work healthier and more effectively. Change your work habits today and watch your productivity soar!