Office Productivity 101: How to Be More Productive at Work

If you’re reading this article, you probably fall under one of these three camps of people. 

First, you might be someone who is desperately looking to improve your work productivity because you are finding yourself drowning in waves of deadlines. 

Second, you might be someone that is currently procrastinating by looking up these productivity articles pretending to be doing something productive (Well, at least you are seeking some sort of help!). 

Lastly, you might be someone who is a geek for organizing and being productive, and while you are already on top of your game, you always look forward to learning more about increasing your productivity.

Frankly speaking, it's possible to consider yourself to be a part of all three camps of people listed above -- either at the same time or each one being present at different points in your life. 

Regardless of which camp that you're in, this article will guide you through various productivity tips that will revolutionize your way to success. We'll touch on the traditional, quirky, and newly-discovered tips for being productive at work, including ways to change up your office environment. 

Try them and see which ones work for you!

How can office productivity be improved?

One of the main ways to improve workplace productivity is by working with your current habits or tweaking them. For example:

Find Your Prime Time

Contrary to the idea that you can be 100% productive all day, finding your most biological prime time for your productivity level will help you enormously, especially when paired with other productivity tips.

Tracking your biological prime time benefits you long-term since you can schedule your busiest or most complex tasks during that period of time. Everyone's prime time is different and if you stick to the logic that your productivity level has to be at 100% all day, you'll likely be disappointed and burned out.

Instead, with some creative thinking, you should plan your most difficult tasks during your prime time of productivity. If your biological prime time is from 10 am to 3 pm, it is likely you will be able to do deep work and concentrate during this period of time. 

You may also notice it is harder for you to absorb material during the early morning. If this is the case, work with it!

When it hits 10 am, create a work environment that will allow your to thrive. Dampen the office noise (unless you have a private office), clear any clutter in your cubicle, and focus. 

Allow yourself the space to work on the most important task during that period of time, but also plan to do a less demanding task outside of that time period.

How can I be more productive and motivated?

Another way you can improve your work productivity is by creating an office space, work environment that encourages your productivity level.

Switch Up Your Office Design

Your environment matters. Not saying that you cannot have a favorite spot for work, but be open to working in different environments. Research has shown that studying in different work settings can help to refresh your brain and better retain information, thus, increasing productivity.

This could mean changing up your office design to become an open office or incorporate an open floor plan in your company office. 

The work environment can greatly improve employee morale as well as a culture of collaboration. 

Open plan offices and open space offices allow for employee productivity to improve through the change in company culture and how people interact with one another.

Constantly working in the same place or style can be boring and unmotivating so it is always fun to seek out new ways to change up the work environment.

What is the best way to manage your time?

What about time management? 

Sometimes it feels like you just don't have enough time to do everything you want! When it comes to time management, here is a productivity tip to keep in mind:

The Good Ol' Ten Minutes Rule

May you're having a lazy afternoon on Sunday or a chilly winter morning where you have absolutely zero motivation to get any work done. To get over this hump, use this little mind trick: assign yourself a task and work for ten minutes. Yes, just ten minutes. Doesn't sound as daunting, correct? 

However, once you get into your chair, it is very likely that you will keep on working and possibly complete a great deal of work rather than only the "ten minutes" you give yourself. 

This is a tried and tested tip, and it works!

Working on Easy Tasks as a Break

If you're working on a complex task and you feel guilty taking your 5-minute break, take the 5 minutes and work on something simple and easy. 

Your brain is in dire need of rest so take away that feeling of guilt and do some simple daily tasks. For example, slow down and take our time to reply to some emails, or even set a schedule for the week. 

If you have little side projects or assignments that are comparably a lot easier than your current task, working on those will actually help to soothe your stress, while allowing yourself to stay productive.

What three factors will affect productivity?

Productivity is ultimately affected by your health: both physical and mental states. If you take care of your health, you'll increase your productivity. Here are 3 factors that will affect your productivity:

  1. Physical State
  2. Mental State
  3. Environment

There are ways to affect all three factors. Try these tips:

The Magic Cup of Lemon Water

This should be one of the easier things to do on the list: drinking a cup of warm lemon water every morning before you intake anything. Most of us are probably addicted to that one cup of morning coffee to kick us out of sleepiness, but we can save ourselves the time by squeezing some lemon juice into water.

Every morning you squeeze out half of the lemon into your warm water and let the lemon-water naturally energize you. Not only does lemon water help to reduce your stress and clear your mind, but the peaceful smell of the lemon will also keep you away from stress and sleepiness, just like coffee.

There has been a lot of research to highlight the health benefits to a simple cup of lemon water. Just pour yourself a cup of water before you head to work and your body will be in a much better state in terms of thinking and focusing.

Walking In the Green

This will be ideal for those who live in a suburban area and have easy access to mother nature. It still works too, though, if you are living in an overcrowded city like Los Angeles. 

After trapping yourself in an indoor room for three hours, it's best for you to let mother nature re-energize you.

Try to squeeze in time for a thirty to forty-five minute walk out in a residential area or park with just you and your music or an audiobook and let the scenery soothe you. Letting your brain relax and your body take a break by engaging your senses with the outdoors. 

Although this might sound like another way to procrastinate, walking in the greens does actually help to refresh your mind and body and increase your productivity. Most importantly, that thirty-minute break is going to be a much better option than staring at your phone for half an hour.

Keep Some Essential Oils at Your Desk

Stress can be a productivity killer, and one way to battle this is through aromatherapy. Essential oils can help relax or energize you, depending on the scent you choose. 

You can pat some on your wrists or use a diffuser. Use lavender to relax and relieve any stress and take you to another state of mind. Orange essential oil is good for energizing yourself and helping you focus.

Get Organized

A clean and well-organized desk space can help you stay clear-headed and productive while preventing frustration. 

Cords can make a mess; use binder clips to keep your cables and cords organized, and keep them untangled by looping them through the hole in a binder clip clipped to the edge of a desk. 

While, using a spring or a coil to organize papers and letters by slipping the papers into the spaces. 

This will keep your papers in shape so it's easier to peruse them and find what you need quickly.

Sometimes, It Really Is Your Chair and Desk

Cheap, shaky plastic desks and dorm chairs are productivity enemies, and should rarely be used. Splurging on a nice, quality standing desk and ergonomic office chair is almost necessary to create an active workspace, especially if you are someone who prefers to work in your office or at home.

Poorly constructed chairs, such as ones that don't have any lumbar support will give you annoying back pain and neck pain, making you less productive and more distracted. With a poor-quality chair, you'll be switching your position in order to avoid any major discomfort, which serves as another external distraction.

A nice office chair with quality back support comes with obvious health benefits in the long term, which is worth every penny. For discounted office chairs, check out Beverly Hills Chairs where they have the widest, most affordable selection of used Herman Miller chairs.

Grab Your Water, Not Your Phone

We all agree that smartphones are major time-killers, and the most wanted criminal in distracting humans in our current generation. But, according to this little trick, you can reduce the evil call of the notification popping up on your screen. 

Whenever you have an impulse to grab your phone, grab the water bottle on the table and hydrate yourself. This trick can minimize the use of your cell phone, but requires some self-control for this trick to work. 

To start, put your phone behind your water bottle and, when the urge comes, grab the water bottle instead. 

Or, if your self-control is poor, don't take your phone out at all for the first few days you attempt this new trick.

What is an office productivity tool?

Office productivity tools can range from productivity software for enterprise-level companies such as Salesforce, or a more casual productivity app that incorporates social media. Here is an example of a productivity app to use:

No Self-Control? Use the SelfControl app or the Write or Die app

Turning over a new leaf can be hard for beginners because it requires motivation to actively apply the newly learned techniques. One slightly painful way to force yourself into doing your work will be using a productivity app such as SelfControl, and Write or Die. 

The way that SelfControl works is that you can create your own list of websites that often distract you from your work. Then, go ahead and set your timer and the app will block you from browsing the list of websites for however long you set.

On the more extreme end, you can use Write or Die, which consists of three modes. The gentle mode gives you subtle reminders if you have not been writing for a while; the normal mode plays an unpleasant sound and will only stop when you decide to go back and write, and the devilish kamikaze mode begins to delete your writing and have your previous efforts go to waste if you have stopped writing for a while. 

These harsh consequences will help to force you to keep on writing if you have a serious deadline coming up. However, recommending relying too much on these methods won't necessarily increase your motivation to be productive, which can only improve if you actively motivate yourself by increasing your productivity skills and ignoring distraction.

Bottom Line on Office Productivity

Whether you're at work or school, keep these productivity tips in mind as you go about your day. 

Even if you have a slow day, keep practicing your productivity skills can create a better chance of success for the future. 


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