Tips to be productive at home, work, life

Tips to be productive at home, work, life

With these gray skies and dull days, it seems difficult to get everything accomplished on my to-do list. The motivation to be productive at home, work and volunteer for activities can be a challenge. An inspiring article that came across my desk this week pertains mostly to our work life but can benefit other areas of our life as well.

First, our work atmosphere is important. One study suggests noise and air quality at the office has a great influence on how much we accomplish and on our total overall health. So think about where you work. What does your workspace look like? Pictures, plants, windows and individual offices have been shown to contribute to greater satisfaction. Do you like to work with music or with quiet? Do your office mates know your preferences? Do you make time throughout the day to connect with them?

For a more ergonomic comfort, we need to examine how our keyboard, monitor and chair align with our desk. In a survey of more than 6,000 employees, 83% of those employees indicated the correct equipment and comfort level for their chair and desk were essential to productivity. They also indicated the more clutter we have, the less productive we may be and the more likely we are to have stress and possible burnout. The ability to take a walk to get some fresh air or open a window was noted to increase worker achievement. This may be even more important on days when the sun is out so we can soak it up. On days when we feel tired, taking regular five-minute breaks can assist in raising energy levels to better meet work demands.

Secondly, the article reported when employees have a say in workplace decisions, their productivity, creativity and commitment may make them feel invested in the organization. For example, if they develop common goals or timelines and brainstorm possible outcomes, they may feel more engaged. If staff members have a strong sense of belonging at work, then workplace satisfaction and production benefit.

What might this look like? Regular staff meetings or communications, celebrations (holidays, birthdays), and recognition of accomplishments or achievements might all help boost morale. Working with friends also seemed to increase job satisfaction and productivity while providing emotional support.

While the above items are important for us to consider, we also need to consider the following:

—Eating a balanced breakfast of at least three different food groups. For example, oatmeal, fruit and milk or smoothie (yogurt and fruit) and a granola bar might help us start the day off right.

—Getting enough sleep. Sometimes we think that as adults sleep doesn’t matter, but it’s so very important. Finding ways to relax before bedtime with meditation or mindfulness can help us let go of things and focus on getting a good night’s sleep.

—Regular exercise contributes to a healthy body. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day or 10,000 steps to maintain current health.

Some of our work habits may deter our progress, so consider where you might make changes.

When is your peak work time? Are you a morning, noon or afternoon person? Save your creative or challenging projects for the time of day that is best for you. I’m a morning person, so I don’t want to use my peak time to do things like check email or have staff conversations. I want to use that time to create or write, when I know I’m at my best.

What’s on your list? A mentor shared with me a long time ago to make a list of where I wanted to start the next morning before I leave the office at night. That way when I get in, I can begin with what’s on the list, without pausing to decide where to start. We also know that to be productive, start with the hardest project first. Don’t procrastinate but break it down into manageable tasks to cross it off the list. It bares noticing we get 80% of our work done in 20% of our time. Maybe a two-list system would work for you, a list of easy items that can be done in our nonpeak time and a list of items that demand our peak attention.

While we may not be able to incorporate all these suggestions, I’m guessing there’s one or more that caught your attention. Try it out and then see what’s next to help with accomplishing your list. Lastly, think spring. It will be here before we know it.

Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension family and consumer sciences educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722 or

Loading next article...

End of content

No more pages to load