Five Stress-Relieving Productivity Hacks
There isn’t a single one of us out there who doesn’t feel stressed at work sometimes. Deadlines, meetings, KPIs and targets can all have us tearing our hair out by the end of the working week. It’s a vicious cycle, because a stressful end to the week means it’s harder to switch off at the weekends, making us even more stressed by the time we return to the office on a Monday. Now if that’s not a recipe for a drop in productivity, we don’t know what is!
Luckily, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can ease into your every day routine to help combat stress and boost your productivity. We’ve chosen our five favourite stress-relieving productivity hacks, so keep reading to see how you can add a little bit of zen into your working life.
We know ‘new age’ activities aren’t to everybody’s taste but hear us out! Pioneered by wellness and productivity guru, Julia Cameron, Morning Pages are a great way to clear your mind of stresses before you start work for the day.
The premise is simple enough: all you have to do is scribble down three pages in a notebook before you start working. They have to be longhand (no cheating and typing into a word processor!) and you write down the stream of consciousness that’s circling around your head – that’s it!
They might be as dull as dishwater (rambling about last night’s dinner) or fraught with stress (panicking about that afternoon’s upcoming meeting) – it doesn’t matter. Nobody’s going to read them and they’re a really effective way to help declutter your mind, just take our word for it and give it a go.
Ritualise Your Life
This is a topic that’s being talked about more and more in wellness and productivity studies, and for good reason too. The more daily activities we can ritualise and perform on autopilot, the more mental energy we’ll have left throughout the day to focus on work.
Spend a few minutes in the evening preparing for the day ahead – lay out your outfit and pack your work bag, pack your lunch in advance and write your to do list for the next day. Then when it’s time to get up in the morning you just have to slip into your outfit, grab your lunch and spend your commute wailing along the radio instead of mentally writing that day’s to do list in your head. Plus, the extra half an hour you can spend in bed won’t hurt, will it?
How often do you find yourself getting interrupted with unimportant tasks during the day? Too often, right? When we’re at work we’re bombarded with so many little tasks that fill up our day and stop us focusing on the work that’s really important. Once we’re distracted it can take a long time to refocus – up to 25 minutes each time, apparently!
Set yourself as ‘Busy’ on any work instant messaging systems, leave your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ and delete social media shortcuts and bookmarks from your work computer – save it for your lunch break.
Another thing to bring in here is the One Minute Rule, which stops little tasks building up and distracting you throughout the day. The rule is simple – any job that can be done within a minute, do it as it comes in and it’ll stop playing on your mind. Larger tasks can be added to the bottom of your to do list to be tackled when you have time.
‘Tidy desk, tidy mind’ is the key principle here, and you’ll be surprised how much of an impact this can have on your productivity. A clean workspace can help you focus, whereas a messy office that you know needs a good tidy can serve as an unwelcome distraction.
File any paperwork away as soon as it’s completed, and shred and recycle anything you no longer need. The same goes for your email inbox too. We all know the feeling of dread that accompanies logging in to see a cluttered inbox – file them into dedicated folders as soon as they’ve been responded to, as well as deleting anything that’s not needed.
One of the best productivity tips out there and one that will help you end the week on a high!
Dedicate one hour a week (or an hour per day, if you’ve got the time) to blitzing through as many ‘non-essential’ tasks as possible. Clear out your inbox, tidy your desk, organise your calendar, write your to do list for the week ahead – the list is endless.
It’s a great idea to do this on a Friday afternoon, as you’ll finish the week feeling super productive and find it easier to relax over the weekend, leaving you to return to the office on Monday morning feel rejuvenated and ready to go.