We’ve all fallen into a productive rut before. You’re at your desk, work set out before you, but you just can’t seem to finish a task. That, or you find yourself distracted by other more exciting things online (or at home if you work remotely). How can you make yourself focus enough to get your job done? You can’t force productivity, but you can spice up your day with a bit of fun and other things your brain needs to stay sharp. Here are a few fun ways to increase productivity:
One of our favorite ways to make work more enjoyable is to go for walking meetings. Conferences in the office or at your desk via Zoom are stifling and under-stimulating, but meetings present a perfect opportunity to get outside and exercise whether you conduct them in-person or virtually. Exercise does wonders for your productivity because it gets your blood flowing to your brain, boosting your creativity and problem-solving ability. Plus, any opportunity to get outside when the weather is pleasant is a good one. You’ll return to the rest of your day feeling refreshed.
If you work in an office, it’s easy to gather your colleagues and go for a walk around the neighborhood. If you work remotely, you can use an app like Spot to talk with each other (without the need to be on camera) and record your conversation. Spot is specifically designed to facilitate walking meetings, so spicing up your day with a stroll will make your meetings even more productive instead of impeding communication.
Besides immersing yourself in nature during walks (or the closest thing you can get to it at a public park), you can enjoy its benefits right at your desk. Set up a few potted plants to decorate your workspace. According to studies, simply looking at them and away from your screen throughout the day can make you happier and more focused. We all crave connections to the natural world, so do it however you can.
On a related note, optimize your workspace in a way that works best for you. This doesn’t mean redecorating every day as a fun activity, but one of the best ways to increase productivity is to work in an environment that makes it easier and more enjoyable. You’re going to spend a great deal of time in that space, so why not make it your own? Cover your desk with plants, photos, art, and anything else that brings you joy. Make sure you’re comfortable and invest in a chair with proper back support or a standing desk, too.
Our minds aren’t meant to focus on one thing for hours on end. As convenient as it would be to laser-focus on work and complete an entire day’s worth of tasks in a few hours, your attention span doesn’t last that long. Your brain needs a break — several, in fact. Give yourself time to do something fun, like some light exercise near your desk, reading or watching something that makes you laugh, or calling a loved one.
Set an alarm to remind yourself to take breaks. A formula you can follow is one ten-minute break for every hour of work, which refreshes your mind and helps prevent burnout from happening too early in the day. Don’t feel guilty about taking breaks — they’re one of the most necessary elements of increasing productivity.
We aren’t meant to work in isolation, either, which is a particular disadvantage for remote work. It’s easy to feel lonely if colleagues don’t surround you to easily make small talk, meaning you need to go out of your way to interact with people and discuss non-work-related subjects. Schedule time to call your colleagues one-on-one and enjoy a beverage together. Post anything you find funny in a relevant channel in your company’s online workspace. You’ll feel more productive when you know your coworkers well enough to be on the same wavelength as them.
When you were in school, did you ever reward yourself with a small piece of candy every time you finished reading a page of your textbook or answering a homework question? You can try a similar practice at work. Use a small treat as an incentive to complete a task (healthy snacks are ideal). Whenever you finish writing a dreaded email or completing a lengthy report, you can mitigate those not-so-fun feelings with something that brings you joy.
Another way you can gamify your day is to reward yourself for completing tasks within a self-imposed time frame. A sense of urgency can make you much more productive than drawing things out. Give yourself an hour to do your report, two minutes to write that email, or fifteen to crunch those numbers. Reward yourself for completing the task in time, and review afterward to correct any mistakes. It’s important not to rush anything, so give yourself a realistic amount of time.
If you want to increase productivity throughout the day, it’s important to remember that you can’t force yourself to focus all the time, but you can find creative ways to replenish your attention and stimulate imaginative ideas. The tools you use are essential for making work more fun and organized, so check out Spot’s blog for more information on walking meetings and why it should be your communication platform of choice.