Productivity: it’s a powerful thing. You could be an expert at time management and a prime example of workplace professionalism, but if your productivity levels are low, you won’t be achieving anywhere near what’s expected of your role.

Some people think that productivity is down to getting things done, which does of course make perfect sense. However, productivity is really about what you get done and when. If, for example, you spend your morning sorting through your inbox, cleaning your office and attending an optional meeting, when what you really should be doing is sealing a deal or reaching a project milestone, you can’t legitimately say that you’ve been productive.

Productivity can be improved through focus, common sense and clearly defined goals. Then there are the more surprising tips that you wouldn’t expect to work but do…

Sleep more, work less

Productivity isn’t about burning the midnight oil and really cramming in the hours. In fact, it couldn’t be further removed from this model. Let’s say you place two workers with similar skills and experience next to each other and give them the same task. One of them worked a 12-hour day yesterday followed by a late night, whereas the other worked 8 hours, relaxed in the evening and got a full night’s sleep. Chances are that the second worker will achieve better results in less time, as their mind and body have synchronised to the workday and are running at optimum efficiency. So the next time you’re considering pulling an all-nighter or skipping lunch, think about the long-term impact.

Eat a balanced breakfast

Whether it’s toast and jam, porridge, cereal or a glass of blended power, the first meal of the day truly is the most important. Fibre, vitamins, protein and minerals safely raise our energy levels and prepare us for the day ahead. Depending on what you choose, your breakfast could also improve your concentration, memory, mood, stress levels and hydration, so eat well and get ready for a productive day.

Leave your desk

The majority of your work is probably done at your workstation, but that doesn’t mean that you need to be there throughout the day. Eating lunch at your desk and refraining from taking breaks can cause cramps, sluggishness, sore eyes, headaches, lowered mood and fragmented concentration. As a rule, take a break from the desk once an hour to stretch your legs, grab a coffee or water, reset your eyes and enjoy a change of scenery, even if it’s just the staff room. Too much desk time can prove hazardous to productivity levels.

Chat to colleagues

Silence doesn’t necessarily equate to a productive staff force and often means the opposite. A brief chat and sharing a joke can brighten the mood of the entire team, helping to move the day along naturally. Positive mental wellbeing is crucial to productivity levels, so even just asking someone how their weekend was or what they had for lunch can make a substantial difference on a seemingly small but effectively large scale.

Plan your annual leave

Don’t allow your holiday days to build up. First off, you could lose them or, at the very least, give your boss or HR team a nightmare task to sort out. Secondly, whether it’s an exciting foreign vacation or just a week at home with loved ones, planning time away from work helps you to mentally break up the corporate year whilst giving you something to really look forward to on a personal level.

Send us your thoughts

This list is by no means exhaustive. If you’d like to add to it, please do tweet your ideas to @Trans2P so that we can share them with our followers.

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