The lowering temperatures and the shortening days (say it isn’t so!) signal just one thing: fall! And along with pumpkin spice lattes and new scarves comes a transition from relaxing summer vacations to the exciting rush of new tasks and projects in the office. Feeling out of focus? Here are five ways to increase productivity in the office this fall and avoid the post-summer slump:
1. Prioritize your mornings
Starting the day right is crucial for getting a lot of work done later in the day. To save time and prevent stress, prepare everything the night before: pick your outfit, make your lunch, and pack your bags. Put your alarm clock on the other side of the room if you have trouble getting up so you’ll be forced to get in motion from the get-go. And make sure you leave time for a quick, energizing breakfast! Try Vitamin B-rich foods like banana, pineapple, oatmeal and avocado to wake you up and improve focus. If you’re in the Chicago area, pick up some of BIGfish client FarmedHere’s tender baby greens, a great addition to a healthy omelet or smoothie!
2. Remember to exercise
Exercise has been long-proven to increase mood, decrease stress and make you feel more awake. A morning workout can double these effects in the office: getting your blood pumping early can even boost your mental clarity. If you don’t have time for an a.m. trip to the gym, simply getting a few stretches in when you wake up is a great way to change your frame of mind. It’ll help you get a better night’s sleep for the next day, too. In fact, here are some cool apps based right in Boston for some fitness inspiration:
- RunKeeper: A long-term running tracker that organizes your goals and weight loss, and even lets you pick running soundtracks! Plus, voice cues give you alerts on your pace, distance and time to keep you motivated on even the longest runs.
- Cardiio: A simple app that tracks your heart rate, great for cardio training and overall health checks.
- Vitogo: A pocket personal weight trainer that plans workouts, tracks progress and motivates you with new challenges.
3. Declutter your workspace
Having a clean desk can definitely help keep peace of mind; knowing where everything is at a glance is crucial to any productive workplace. Just keep out the bare essentials: computer, water, notebook, etc. to maintain a focused space and mind. This refers to not only your physical desk, but things like your email, as well. Take a few minutes to put your emails and various messages through different filters (our Account Director Meredith is a pro at this!), that way, they immediately go into the right folders, and you don’t have to sort through them and switch from task to task as they come in.
4. Don’t check social media
We’ll admit this can be challenging, especially if you’re a social media community manager. But a scroll through Twitter here, a Facebook notification check there, and soon you’re spending hours out of your workday sucked into the addictive cycle that is social media. Unless you’re updating Twitter or Facebook for work, silence your phone and log out of any possible distracting tabs until the day is over. Here are a few free apps you can download to prevent temptation:
- Self Control: A great tool that lets you add distracting websites to “blacklists” for a duration of your choosing so you can use the internet but won’t be tempted to visit certain sites.
- Cold Turkey: Blocks websites and applications you’ve added to a list; similar to Self Control as an app, but also lets you schedule “breaks” where you can access the blacklisted websites (everyone needs a lunchtime Instagram check, am I right?)
- Freedom: For more intense work, this app blocks the internet completely for up to eight hours (could you be offline for eight hours? It would be a challenge for sure! Perhaps save this one for the weekend).
5. Time your tasks
Figuring out how long it takes you to jump from job to job can be incredibly helpful in planning out your workday and zeroing in on how much time you need to reserve for separate tasks. You’ll quickly become more aware of your time and how you’re spending it. You can even use apps and trackers like Toodledo to structure your productivity and outline your habits.
How do you stay productive as things ramp up in the fall? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @BIGfishPR!