5 Hacks to Help You Thrive at Work - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog


5 Hacks to Help You Thrive at Work

Easy ways you can improve your productivity at work.


Working, whether at home or in the office can be tiresome and stressful. But since work is something that we can’t really escape—and it’s something that we’re supposed to do as mature adults, we’re left to fend for ourselves and find life hacks that can help us get through a work week without feeling too drained in the process. Nobody likes the feeling of spending the day in front of a computer yet getting very little done. Conversely, productive days feel great! Good thing there are a lot of good ideas and inventions out there that are proven to help you keep your work performance high and your health on track.

Prep Your Body

5 Hacks to Help You Thrive at WorkI always make sure to start the day with a fruit and veggie smoothie, and snack on foods that are rich in antioxidants. It’s a good way to reduce inflammation and get my energy up. Studies show that veggies can also reduce your anxiety. So if you have that important meeting today or you just want to keep your body in tiptop shape, reach for foods like sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, carrots, citrus fruits, broccoli, pepper, brussel sprouts, nuts, and avocados. It can help support your brain function and keep you going through the day. Here are a few more foods and supplements that are good for boosting brainpower.

Studies have shown that even mild dehydration can cause your body to slow down in performance and make your brain get sluggish and moody. Also, by the time you are feeling thirsty, it’s already your body’s way of telling you that hey—I’m parched already. Just stay hydrated! Always keep a pitcher or a container of clean water on your desk. I like to add some frozen berries to my water in the summer, or make tea in the winter, but always make sure you use the right water filter!

Block Blue Light

Working for long hours in front of a computer is never a good thing for your health! But it’s something that we can’t do anything about because we live in the digital age and we breathe and live life in digital. I’ve certainly experienced a migraine or two because of staring at a computer for too long. Not only that, but studies have shown that computer and mobile screens emit blue light that can result in poor sleep and macular degeneration. What’s worse is that it can harm cells by damaging DNA directly and causing mutations that may lead to cancer.

5 Hacks to Help You Thrive at Work

Me in my Felix Gray blue light filtering glasses (Nash in Whiskey Tortoise)

My solution? I use Felix Gray’s blue light filtering glasses whenever I’m bound to work long hours in front of my computer. They make me look smart sexy and they’ve significantly reduced the number of headaches I get from staring at my computer and mobile screens.

Stay Up To Date

Just because you’ve been working in your field for quite some time now doesn’t mean that you can afford to get complacent. To keep advancing you’ll need to keep learning new things. Whether it’s about new ways of doing research, encoding data, or scheduling —it’s always good to improve your skillsets. Believe it or not, learning new ways to get things done can reduce the stress or anxiety that you are feeling. Plus, it can help you get things done twice as quickly. If things are done fast, that’s more time to spend on Facebook learning even more new skills!

Here’s a list of websites that offer free or cheap courses on lots of useful topics, and a list of books that will help give you an edge at work. If you want to be even more efficient, sign up for a service that offers business book summaries, like SummaryGet Abstract, or BizSum.

5 Hacks to Help You Thrive at Work


Each evening, I make an action list for the next day. I write it on a pad of paper that sits on my desk, always in view. I love the feeling of crossing items off that list, and it helps me stay focused on the important items I need to get done. When I get sidetracked, I just look at my list and re-focus until I’ve checked them all off. If some tasks are too large, or are on your list every day, I recommend dividing up your time. I made a daily schedule for myself and I try really hard to stick to it. Here’s what it looks like:

  • 8am-9am: Drink smoothie, stretch, and meditate. Make detox/herbal tea.
  • 9am-10am: Stretch and breakfast. Check emails.
  • 10am-12pm: Edit & write articles for that week.
  • 12pm-1pm: Lunch and check emails and personal social media.
  • 1pm-3:30pm: Turn off all distractions and focus on big projects & stuff on my daily list. (I have a sub-schedule for this).
  • 3:30pm-4pm: Check @urbanette social media and emails, and reply to reader comments.
  • 4pm-6pm: Plan new articles, take photos, finish up stuff from my daily list.


Social media is the ultimate time suck. Just when you get in a groove, you notice that familiar ping noise and can’t help but look. Next thing you know, you’re multitasking between work and a convo with your bestie about her breakup. Not good! Both deserve your dedicated attention — and the breakup talk can wait until that evening (it’s best had over a glass of wine, anyhow). Show some restraint and get more done at the office by turning off notifications on your phone (or uninstalling the apps) and installing productivity management software like FocusMe, Freedom, or Cold Turkey.

That said, pushing yourself too hard can create negative feelings and may lead to poor performance. It’s never wrong to give yourself a break when you think your brain had already stopped working and all the juices have dried up. Set an alarm to remind yourself to take a break every 90 minutes. Don’t hop back on social media though! Go for a walk, feed the birds, get a healthy snack, chat with a colleague, and remember to enjoy your life, because you only get one!

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she spends most of her time in France, NYC, London and Switzerland, and travels extensively around the world. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She’s always looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 84 Comments

  1. I am working at home and it is a very big help for me to be productive every single day! Big thanks! 🙂

  2. May Baker

    Nothing is more motivating than reminding yourself why you’re doing the work in the first place. Whether you’re building a product you love or simply putting food on the table for your family, it’s crucial that you remain in touch with what inspires you. 🙂

  3. Sasha Smith

    If you don’t love the things on the to-do list in front of you, try incentivizing yourself with basic bribery. Think along the lines of: “If I finish this report, then I can go get a cupcake from the place down the street,” or “I can go to happy hour with my friends tonight, but only if I finish making this presentation.” You could even create a rewards jar to stay motivated for weeks to come!

  4. abigael fisher

    You are the only person who can make the conscious decision to be happy at work. Even in the face of negative aspects of the workplace, you need to think positively. You can do this by looking for those things that are good and not dwell only on the bad. Stay away from negative people and associate with those who are happy at work; it will rub off on you.

  5. Kimberly Shaw

    One thing I try to do is mentally prepare myself to face the day at work. First off, I start with a good nights rest and get up in plenty of time to do the things I like before I have to head out the door. I get up, make myself a pot of coffee, and sit down at the computer with a nice hot cup.

  6. Luthi Sanders

    Thanks for the tips Hilary. These tips are easier said than done (except for the glasses, which I’m going to get ASAP) but I am sure that they will really help.

    • Marina Josef

      Yes! good job Hilary. Thanks for these tips! I was sitting at work feeling unmotivated, and they helped.

  7. Marina Bozek

    Healthy food, enough sleep, water, and exercise are the most important. How would you thrive at work if your body does not have enough energy to move and your mind is blank half the time? Sometimes vitamins help too.

  8. Jesse Wyss

    Our health is the most important for us to be able to work productively. It is better to have a healthy lifestyle and eliminate bad habits that can affect our physical and mental condition. Choose to be healthier by eating more homemade dishes rather than fast food. Have a little time off from your busy schedule to jog or hit the gym. The healthier you are, the longest you can work.

    • nicole

      I’m a secretary in an office an I am working right now! I was so lazy but thanks, Hilary, you are so great! It actually help’s me today hope it would be effective in the long run 🙂 I inquire about the glasses!

  9. Jessie Fernande

    Well, I guess all the people know the importance of water in our life in general But thanks for the reminder Hilary. Sometimes we tend to forget even the simplest thing like this because of all the chaos happening.

    • Caroline Soloviev

      I would need a daily reminder for water, I know I need to drink more but I always forget, and I rush on coffee instead…
      Guys, are you like me? Also, I prefer flavored water…

      • Justin Carter

        I prefer coffee than water actually. What I do is I download an app for water reminder. You can search the app store you have on your phone and choose what suite for you. Water is important we need to take it often.

  10. Lana Wiliam

    Pushing ourselves in the most of our capabilities is not bad at all given that you know when to take a pause. I guess, everyone wants to excel at work and in life. And having a goal this is completely normal and good but if you always push yourself too much then you might just suffer your social life and personal welfare. All I am saying is you have to keep your sanity all throughout the process and you have to make sure that you take care of yourself to be able to reach your goals in life.

    • Chanelle Gregory

      I think motivation is the key. Regardless if your healthy and have 8 hours of sleep, if you don’t like the environment you have at work I don’t think you’ll excel or put an effort to excel at work. In my case regardless if my salary is low or I don’t have enough sleep if I love my work and I’m happy with the environment I’m good. I’ll do everything for my job then.

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