6 Tips on How to Have a Productive Day at Work

super-productiveEditor’s note: This is a guest post from Lisa of Getting to Zen

“If you are having a bad day, get another one and get it quick!” ~Rissie Harris

We all have moments when we don’t look forward to getting up and going to work (maybe you never do). We wish we could lie in bed until our inner voice tells us it is time to rise and shine. But then reality comes crashing down with the most annoying beep or a song–the alarm clock goes off, we sigh, roll over and reluctantly begin to get ready for the day. If you have a good work environment to go to, it makes this routine easier. If not, it represents the start of a series of challenges that you will be presented with throughout your day. Sometimes you are hired into a good work environment and other times it is up to you to create one.

So let’s look at some things that you can do to have a good day at work every day.

1. Make yourself the priority

This above all; to thine own self be true.” ~William Shakespeare

Start your day by doing something for you first. This reinforces that you are the most important person in your life. It doesn’t have to take what you consider a lot of time. It can be anything that you enjoy; a hot shower; a quiet cup of coffee; 10 minutes of meditation; or some form of exercise. For me it is a running, walking, stretching, Pilates or elliptical workout. Try it, and see for yourself the difference it will make in how you feel throughout your day.

2. Get enough sleep

“He who sleeps half a day has won half a life.” ~ Karl Kraus

Getting enough sleep is essential to having a good day at work. Sleep provides relief from the previous day’s stress and prepares your body to take on the next day’s challenges. Crankiness, lethargy, irritability, unhealthy eating habits and just plain being in a bad mood all come from being over-tired. Being over-tired can also make it hard to concentrate and maintain focus—skills you may need for the job. Feeling good at work, starts by first feeling good—and feeling tired does not feel good.

So many of us have become so used to being tired that we don’t even realize that we are not functioning optimally. I try to get the recommended 8 to 9 hours of sleep; some of us will need more and some of us will need less. If you feel refreshed and ready to take on the day’s activities you have had an adequate amount of sleep.

Now there are those times when your obligations may keep you from getting as much sleep as you need, but when that happens, try to take a short nap the next day (if possible), or go to bed earlier.

3. Maintain a positive attitude

“A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

It has been said that whatever you focus on the most, you tend to bring into your life, whether by choice or circumstance. So instead of falling victim to the negative attitudes that surround you in your workplace, make an effort to go against the grain and look for the good. Maybe your commute is short, maybe you are paid well, maybe your job is easy, or maybe it’s the fact that you have a job when so many in this economy don’t; whatever it is, be grateful for it.

4. Reduce stress

“Stress is the physical and psychological effects we experience as a result of the way we react to changes in the surrounding environment.” ~ Pavel Stoyanov

Stress can be such an energy vampire–have enough of it and you can feel like you have just run back to back marathons. Stress indicates that your life is out of balance in some way; physically, mentally or emotionally. First take some time to figure out why your life is out of balance. Are you worrying too much, are you doing too much or are you feeling pressure from those around you? For me, I become stress for all of the above reasons–exercising, meditating, journaling or confiding in a friend all help to relieve it.

5. Do your job well

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ~ Confucius

If you are not carrying out your job duties well, you will be guaranteeing yourself a miserable work environment. You are there for one reason, and one reason only and that is to produce the results that your manager/clients wants in the time frame that he or she wants them. Maintain open and frequent communication with your manager/client to make sure you are on track for achieving that goal.

6. Take Breaks

“I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it intelligently.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

It is important to take several breaks during the day. Taking a break can rejuvenate and prepare you for your upcoming tasks. I often take a morning, lunch and afternoon break. If possible, try to leave your office or cubicle during your break, even if it is for few minutes. There is something about getting out of the office that resets the soul.

Below are some specific activities that you can do to rejuvenate yourself over your breaks.

> Go for a walk

> Meditate

> Chat with a co-worker

> Take a nap in the car

> Go out for lunch with co-workers

> Go out for ice cream or some other treat

> Have lunch later in the day (it makes the day seem shorter)

> Play a game (I sometimes see coworkers throwing a football around in the parking lot)

> Read a book or listen to music

Most of us spend the majority of our waking hours at work. Being miserable at your place of work is no way to live. You are in control of your reaction to the circumstances of your life. If you want to have good day at work, then create one.

Lisa (aka RunningBear) is the founder of Getting to Zen which includes articles on personal development, enlightenment, consciousness and awareness. You can sign up for her RSS feed or follow her on Twitter. In addition to blogging, Lisa enjoys long distance running, cooking, and sewing.

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Image courtesy of linkerjpatrick

18 thoughts on “6 Tips on How to Have a Productive Day at Work”

  1. Lisa,
    Great tips!

    Right now – I’m loving the idea of taking breaks. I’ve found that as I do this more – it just really makes me more productive when I get back to focused work. (…and that IS productive!!)

  2. Hi Lance,
    Thanks. Yes, that is a big one for me too. There are times when I think that I am so busy that I don’t have time for a break, and then have to remind myself that if I slow down and take a break, I will actually get more done. And be happier doing it. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Hi Evita,
    Thank you. Glad you found the information helpful. It is nothing new–just a reminder of things that we already know but have forgotten to do.

    Well Said. It does all come down to priorities and choices. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It is what you do with them that counts. 🙂

  4. Today, is not a good day. It’s bad enough where I have to just suck it up, stiff upper lip style. (nothing critical, just stupendously annoying)

    Strangely, I’m feeling pretty good about that.

    Will have a motivational story later.

  5. Hi Lisa

    Your tips are fantastic, now if only more people took them to heart and actually practiced them. I find there is so much amazing info and so many amazing people sharing it online, but still too few people taking the awesome tips, advice and wisdom shared and actually putting it into practice.

    For example your points 1 and 2 are so transformational! I constantly hear from people that they can’t sleep enough, or take proper care of themselves for reasons a, b, c to z…. and in the end, it all comes down to our priorities. If we don’t choose ourselves first, everything else suffers.

    Great stuff, and thank you for sharing!

  6. Hey Lisa, great and thorough tips! I like to do something for myself and also release stress through exercise. That tends to motivate me throughout the work day and give me enough stamina to finish what I want to get done!

  7. Hi Steven. Thank you. Yes, exercise is a big one for me too. I also find that it reduces stress. When I don’t start the day off by doing something for me first (even if it is something small), I don’t feel as balanced. Also, when we take care of ourselves first, we can more effectively take care of others.

  8. Hi Dave,
    Hmmmm…..sucking it up with a stiff upper lip is definitely annoying; although, there are times that we may need to do that in order to ultimately get what we want. 🙂 I try to look at those situations objectively–just playing the game.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  9. I definitely agree; often we get so busy doing what we “should” be doing that we forget to take care of ourselves. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Hi Lisa,
    This is such a useful post. It is great to be reminded of some very practical actions that keep is in a positive frame of mind. I would add that it helps to view your work as service. When you are invested in what you are doing and you feel as though you are making a contribution to the world, it makes you want to be productive and useful.

  11. Hi Barrie,
    Thanks for stopping by. That’s a great way of looking at it–and very true. And to top it off, it is a service that you get paid for. 🙂

  12. The most important aspect for me is doing something for myself. Working in the healthcare industry, I have a job to service others, but remembering that I am important too is something that helps me get through my day. Working in an industry where thank you is not common is why making myself a priority is even more important.

  13. “This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny.” -Steven Pressfield

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