These 10 Hacks Will Make You Thrive at Work
These easy changes to your daily routine will increase your productivity at work.
Unless you’re born to Prince William and Princess Kate and/or have a huge trust fund, everybody has to work. For some, it gives their life meaning and purpose. For others, it’s simply a means of survival.
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. Here’s a list of hacks you may want to consider to make the most of your job:
Start the Day Right
I 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.
And if you need to clock in at 8:00, you shouldn’t be grabbing a bite of breakfast or taking a bathroom break at 7:59. Make sure that you take care of all personal matters far enough in advance so that you’re both on time and ready to work. Want to really make a good impression on your boss? Show up before him/her … even if it isn’t verbally acknowledged, it won’t go unnoticed.
Dress for Success
As the old saying goes, dress for the job you want — not the one you have. This will not only boost your confidence, but also will show others that you take pride in your professional image. What’s also true is that when you look good, you feel good.
Whether you’re just starting or already have established your career, you have to come to an understanding that dressing up for work is important. When you walk into work, your outfit speaks to your boss before you do.
When you’re having a bad day, know that your choice of clothes can uplift you. Compare it to days when you didn’t think it was important to look like an executive. Your clothes help to dictate your mood and have an influence on how people act towards you. That’s why it’s important.
Treat Your Body Right
Looking the part goes beyond what you’re wearing; not slouching while you’re on your seat is also important. Appear active when you’re in the office. Be alert so that you don’t miss any detail, whether it’s on a proposal you’re working on or just a casual discussion between you and your colleagues. You don’t want to be known as the one who dozed off, right?
Speaking of dozing off, studies have shown that even mild dehydration can cause your body to slow down in performance and make your brain get sluggish, tired, 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!
Filter 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.
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.
Working on an empty stomach just sounds like a recipe for disaster. Not only should you eat substantial meals before and during the workday, but also healthy ones. Instead of eating a bag of potato chips for a midday snack, consider sliced veggies or a handful of nuts (not sugary or salty nut mix though!) This will keep you energized as you go through a long, tough day.
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 Summary, Get Abstract, or BizSum.
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.
Your workspace should be inspirational. I’m not saying that it should move mountains, but it should make you act towards your goals. So dress up your desk to your preference and always have something that will remind you what you’re working for.
You can make a “manifestation board” and put it on the wall you face while you work. Attach a picture of a place you’d want to visit, your favorite quote, your family, or anything that makes you smile! If you are near a window, get some cute pots of flowering plants. Just be sure to keep your desk tidy, professional, and conducive for work.
Act the Part
Face it. There are times when you’re going through the crappiest days at work, but there are also days when you find yourself celebrating with your colleagues over champagne for deals closed and more. Understand the fact that it’s nature for any working individual that there are high and low points in one’s career. When going through the low ones though, what you need to do is to pull yourself together and have the spirit to hold on to things and not be a baby. Doing so gives way to personal growth and if you stick it out longer, upper management may just provide you with the ways to professionally grow in the company. When the going gets tough, the tough get going!
You may have undergone heated arguments with bosses and colleagues alike while inside the boardroom, but keep in mind that you should stay cordial, positive, and most of all, professional with them while you all work for the same company. In doing so, you’ll be in the loop of things. You stay on top when it comes to important happenings in the office and you maintain working relationships with colleagues, making them respect you for handling disagreements well. They will know that you’re a professional, and they will value your opinions on various matters in the company.
Surviving in the workplace is tricky. Whether you’re in a corporate setting or not, politics is a game that often must be played.
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!