Top 10 tips for increasing productivity & performance
In today’s busy world it can seem like there are not enough hours in the day to do everything you need to do. There are two solutions to this problem – you either increase the hours that you work (not ideal) or you learn how to become more productive, leaving more time for rest and relaxation (sounds much better)!
Fortunately, becoming more productive isn’t rocket science – you just need to learn how to work ‘smarter’ not ‘harder’. It’s not about the number of hours of work you put in, it’s the amount of work that you do in those hours.
So, don’t be tempted to work ridiculously long hours or cram more into your already over-crowded diary, as this will undoubtedly impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Instead, take a step back and try our top 10 tips for smarter and more productive ways of working!
- At night, write out a to-do-list for the following day, so that you know exactly what you need to do. Prioritise this list so that you can concentrate on the most important tasks first. If you struggle to get going in the mornings try an energising shower with 15ml SLS free Shower Gel, 1 drop Ginger essential oil, 1 Black Pepper, 2 Rosemary and 3 Bergamot. Alternatively diffuse a few drops of our Focus pure essential oil blend with May Chang, Basil, Sweet Marjoram and Sage to increase alertness, aid concentration and get you focused on the tasks at hand. You can also pop a few drops of Focus essential oil into an aromatherapy inhaler to use as required while out and about.
- Always keep a pen and paper on hand so you can write down ideas, thoughts and new to-do items. Download everything from your head onto paper, so you don’t have a million and one things on your mind!
- Get organised and remove unnecessary clutter which can be a huge barrier to productivity. There is nothing more demotivating and energy-sapping than looking at a massive pile of mess! Grab the bin and dump the junk! Experts also say that having something nice to look at can increase productivity by up to 15%. Sit near a window with a view or have some nice pictures, photos, plants or flowers on your desk that will help put a smile on your face as you work!
- Focus on one thing at a time and don’t try to multi-task. Research shows that multitasking is not as productive as focusing on one task at a time. Try and track and limit how much time you’re spending on each task. Time can easily run away with you and research shows that we are notoriously bad at tracking time – with only 17% of people being able to accurately assess the passage of time. It can also be useful to set yourself a deadline if you don’t already have one. Although self-imposed it can give you more focus, encourage you to be more productive and help you achieve your goal. Finally, try to avoid interruptions or distractions as best as you can. Keep your office door shut, turn off your phone or email alerts, or work from home on important tasks.
- Preserve your sanity and learn when to say ‘NO’. No one person can do EVERYTHING! One of the best things to say no to is unnecessary meetings. It is thought that the average office worker spends over 30 hours a month in unproductive meetings. Ask yourself if the meeting will be beneficial and if the goals of the meeting could be achieved in a different way – i.e. by a less time-consuming email or phone call. If you do have to have a meeting, conduct them standing up as this is thought to boost group energy levels and performance.
- Keep asking yourself throughout the day, “am I making the best possible use of time?”. This is a great way to keep you on track and boost productivity. Pareto’s 80/20 rule states that 80% of output comes from 20% of effort. So it’s key to focus on the 20% of tasks that will reap the most benefits. If you find your energy levels flagging or concentration waning, have a sniff on your aromatherapy inhaler or use our Focus Spritz for a quick boost.
- Always remember to take regular breaks as it’s impossible to work at optimum productivity all day long. Establish your most productive time of day (whether that be morning, afternoon or even evening) and aim to work in short bursts to maximise your output. Research shows that taking short breaks during long pieces of activity can actually help improve concentration and maintain performance. Whereas working for a long period of time, with no breaks, will lead to a steady decline in performance.
- Exercising is one of the best ways to boost your productivity. Not only does it improve your general health and wellbeing, but it can give you more energy, sharpen your awareness and improve your mental health (i.e. it can help reduce stress and anxiety which can be a barrier to productivity). And, remember you don’t have to go to the gym every day to achieve this, even a walk at lunch time or taking the stairs instead of the lift can help. If you do have a heavy workout though don’t forget to try our Muscles Massage Oil or Joint & Muscle Gel to ease tired and overworked muscles.
- Ensure that you get plenty of quality sleep so your working hours are as productive as possible. If you have problems sleeping try a soothing aromatherapy bath to help you relax and unwind at the end of the day. Mix up to 10 drops of our Sweet Dreams pure essential oil blend with 15ml of our fragrance-free Bath Oil and add to your bathwater. Diffuse a few drops of the same oil in the bedroom before going to bed, or spray our Sweet Dreams Spritz onto yourself, pillow, bed linen or night clothes.
- Give yourself a reward when finishing an important task – book an aromatherapy massage or facial, go out for a meal, have a slice of cake – whatever floats your boat! You deserve it!
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