How to be Productive During the Work Day

10 December 2016 on . 3 minutes to read

Leonardo DaVinci, A very productive man.

When should you work? How often should breaks be scheduled? How about food, water, workouts? What sort of things alter your mood or mindset throughout the day which can alter your quality and output? What follows are some things to think on as you approach the work week. Focus on these items and be productive over the next week.

The time has come to get my ideas and methods for being productive written down. Having written copies of theories, concepts and practices is important, at least for the following reasons:

  • Easy to reference later to refocus
  • Commits you to following what you say
  • Provides a way to check effectiveness and truth of your thoughts at a later date

With that in mind, here are my current ways of maintaining productivity.

Know the Best Time to Work

Identify the time(s) of day during which you have the best quality and quantity of output. All the following play a major part in your mental awareness:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Interactions with others
  • Interruptions

Identifying how these affect you and then combining those actions is a great place to start when thinking about the best time to work. Succinctly; your mental state and drive to produce before during and after each of those activities will vary. Learn how they work. As a note of caution, the time that works for you will usually also be when you want to do everything else, such as catching up on reading. If you’ve marked that time as a time to work, do so. Take care of those other things later. Productive procrastination is still procrastination.

Just Do It

No time like the present, seize the day, and all those other words of wisdom. This just has to do with being mindful of the present moment; realize your thoughts and focus your energy towards doing what needs to happen. Have a mindset of focusing on what needs to happen and doing it. No excuses; make it happen.

Schedule Breaks

Find a schedule that works for you to stand up, stretch, walk around and interact with your environment. Like everything else, this is highly dependent on each person, but I find that enforcing a 10 minute break every 90 minutes through 2 hours works best for me. I’ve had many days where I sit down, get sucked into work and then look up 5 or more hours later, mentally drained. Sure, I’ve done a crazy amount of work in that time, but at that point, I have to pack it in for the day because I opted to put productivity over my own basic wellness.

Find an interval and some activities which work for you, and make sure you do them, even if you don’t feel like right at the moment.

Hydrate

Water plays a huge role in your brain’s capacity to function. Creativity, drive, awareness and alertness all hinge on mental state, don’t let them lapse because you failed to simply drink some water. The cleaner and cooler the better. A glass of clear, cold water will jolt you awake when you’re lapsing. Try it sometime.

Indulge

We’re not machines, and shouldn’t operate as such. Creativity and productivity go hand in hand; so indulge yourself to pull out of that static state you’re in while working. Even if it’s something as simple as walking across the street for a nicer lunch than the food court in your office offers or grabbing an espresso instead of some poorly made coffee, the contrast will help.

This goes both ways; you should also indulge your need to produce. Sometime a marathon coding session to break through a wall of stories and features can take you further than a week’s worth of uninspired trudging through your allotted 8 hours.


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