Hello, Superstar! Super-Easy Ways to be Successful Every Day
Keep a To-Do List
Each day, write a to-do list… the night before. Let’s face it, you’re not at your most productive in those ten minutes before home-time so use this time frame to set out your tasks for the next day. Then when you walk into the office fresh and ready to go you won’t waste any time figuring out what to do and can get stuck in straight away.
Our two tops tips? Firstly, prioritise tasks in order of importance and work through the list in that order. You’re at your best first thing when your motivation and energy are at its peak. Secondly, include all those menial tasks which are so quick and easy to complete that you know you’ll get through them. Crossing things off a list is psychologically satisfying, making us feel accomplished and giving us a motivational boost.
Make Your Desk Look Pretty
If you were looking for an excuse to decorate your desk, here it is – a desk containing pictures, plants or souvenirs makes its occupant 15% more productive. Basically, when we look at aesthetically pleasing things it triggers positive emotions in our brain, which in turn makes us feel happier and more motivated.
Keep it neat though! While clinical, empty spaces depress us, an excessive amount of clutter negatively affects our ability to focus. If you don’t already have one, invest in an in-tray and stationary holder. Not only will that document or stapler actually be easy to find when you next need it, you won’t find yourself distracted by all the mess on your desk!
Only Check Your Email 2x Per Day
How often do you check your email? Apparently, the average is a whopping 36 times an hour.
The problem with constantly flicking your eyes to your inbox every time it beeps is that it takes your mind off the task at hand, after which it takes you an average of 16 minutes to fully refocus on what you were doing.
Not only does repeatedly checking email send your productivity through the floor, it’s also proven to heighten your stress levels. Solution? Set aside two half-hour slots each day to go through your inbox, and ignore emails outside of those timeframes. If that seems impossible then start with a higher number of slots and try to work your way down.
Worried about appearing rude? Remember that it’s all about managing people’s expectations. Keep the timeslot in which you reply to non-urgent email consistent every day. People will soon get used to the fact that you won’t respond until a certain time, and stop expecting to hear from you sooner. As a bonus, they may also start thinking twice about the requests they do send you – and you’ll stop being deluged by emails that are unimportant or that can be resolved without you.
Watch Videos of Baby Pandas
Yes, you read that right. Looking at “cute” images makes you perform complex tasks better. Honestly. It’s proven by science. The logic is that such images trigger nurturing instincts in the viewer, which in turn makes them more attentive.
Kittens and puppies not your thing? Luckily for you, web browsing in general can also make you manage your workload better. Taking a break to surf the internet results in lower levels of boredom and mental exhaustion, which makes you engage better with your work.
Leave the Office at Lunchtime
First things first – if you’re the sort of worker who regularly skips your lunch break in an attempt to get everything done, stop. Working through lunch doesn’t just significantly reduce job satisfaction, it makes you much more unproductive – so you’re unlikely to actually be getting any more work done than if you’d taken a break!
What is equally important, however, is where you eat lunch. Sitting at your desk is a no-go. Even if you’re just watching Netflix, eating in the office is shown to depress your mood (and do you really want all that keyboard bacteria near your sandwich?) Even eating in the office canteen isn’t great. To really get the mood boost that will save you from that afternoon slump, you need to leave your workplace entirely.
If the weather permits, sit outdoors – fresh air and sunshine cause your body to release serotonin, which is the chemical that makes you feel happy. Natural spaces like parks are particularly beneficial because they have been shown to reduce stress and have a calming effect on your psyche. But if the English weather means any sojourn to the park is going to leave you miserable and soggy, worry not! Any change of scenery is great for stimulating creativity and improving productivity.
Get Inspired On Your Commute
Self-help books and career gurus often suggest that we use the time we spend commuting to become fluent in Mandarin or learn Adobe Photoshop. This isn’t just about using our time more effectively – engaging our brain during commuting creates higher levels of job satisfaction and lower levels of emotional exhaustion in the workplace.
If you’re one of those people for whom the idea of doing anything intellectual before 9am seems horrifying, you can still get the same benefits by passively listening to an interesting podcast or reading an inspiring book. Mental stimulation first thing in the morning boosts your memory, focus, and analytical thinking for the rest of the day. It also reduces stress – which means you’ll bounce into the office excited and ready to go.
Even if it’s Monday.
Beth writes for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment firm which specialises in sourcing candidates for internship and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs London, visit our website.