Thursday, January 13, 2011

Top ten ways to work faster, smarter, and better with less pain!

People struggle at work every day. And they always have. But in our adrenaline based society, too many of us sit at our desk and die quietly inside, as we dawdle away our time doing neither what we ought or what we want. This list details some simple (if a little odd,) things you can do that will give you much more energy at work, and help you get it all done faster.

10.) Go to bed at the same time every night. Sleep management is critical for success. Even if you go to bed rather late, it’s better to lose sleep consistently than to have a fuzzily defined sleep schedule. This is because if you go to bed at different times each night, your body won’t be able to distinguish between sleep time and work time. Going to bed at the same time every night is the best way to keep from being drowsy at work.

9.) Eat balanced food groups. Even if you eat too much, eating foods in proportion is not only a great way to lose weight, it’s also important to make sure that you will perform well at work.

8.) Eat meals, not snacks. Snacking throughout the day may feel better, but eating solid meals is the best way to give your body the energy it needs at predictable intervals. Similarly to sleep, your body needs to have a schedule for food intake in order to maximize your energy.

7.) Wake up at the same time very morning. While going to bed at the same time is important, waking up at the same time is far more important. By teaching your body to wake up at a certain time, mornings will be less painful. Not only that, but you’ll wake up feeling fresher, and you will come from sleep to full work-ready alertness much, much faster.

6.) Break for lunch. Health benefits aside, the most important reason to do this is for your focus. The human mind can handle intense focus for a while, but you need a break to be at your most efficient.

5.) Turn on your lights where you’re working. Even if you can see what you’re doing, as a rule of thumb, more light is better. There are photo-receptors in your eyes that release chemicals in your brain at different levels of light. They produce melatonin (sleepiness,) when it’s dark, and serotonin (happiness) and adrenaline (self-evident,) when it’s light. By turning on your lights you will have more energy, and incidentally, you’ll also have more melatonin available when it’s time to sleep!

4.) Take time out to plan. This is crucial. If you have no idea what the general state of your task is, it’s very easy to feel bogged down, like you’ll never finish. Taking time out before you start to give a quick overview to your calendar, schedule, agenda, or syllabus is a great way to get a bird’s-eye-view of what needs to be done, and helps you keep tasks in perspective. Having a good idea of how much work you have helps motivate you do get it done faster.

3.) Organize your workspace. If you’re having trouble getting started, clean off your desk and organize your drawers! A lot of people claim not to be organized people, and that’s okay. But if you feel like you just can’t get motivated to start, having an organized workspace will help you get a head start and be more efficient at work.

2.) Set realistic goals. When your goals exceed your capability, it’s easy to feel like there’s no point to what you’re doing. This ties in to the taking time to plan section as well. Make sure you have daily goals for your work that are attainable. Setting realistic goals is crucial to being more efficient at work.

And finally, the number one way to get more done at work…

1.) Start. Don’t blow it off just yet, give me a paragraph. If you’re reading this, chances are that your real trouble with not getting anything done at work is due to not being able to get started. Time frittered away staring at nothing, and playing with office trinkets. The point of this number one tip is not to suck it up and deal with it. Just start the work. Pick a task, preferably the most urgent, and just do a little bit of it. Instead of mentally trying to grapple the whole day’s work, just start a small task. Once you do so, autonomy will take over, and you will quickly find that the work isn’t so overwhelming after all.