This article was last updated on December 30, 2015
Let’s face it – even if you love your job, a long, busy day in the office can leave your mind and body feeling like they’re ready to give up and, ultimately, lead to a feeling of dread knowing that you have to do it all over again the next day. This vicious cycle could mean you end up wanting out of a job you once loved – but the good news is there are a number of ways to avoid falling out of love with your work.
Today, we’re sharing 9 tips to help you stay focused and leave the office feeling productive and ready to tackle whatever else the week might throw your way.
9 Ways to Stay Motivated During a Long Office Day
Fuel your mind and body
It’s a popular belief that the most important part of your day is breakfast. Start the morning by fueling your body with slow-energy releasing food like wholegrain or wholemeal bread, fruit and nuts. This will help to keep your mind and body alert throughout the day so you can face the daily grind hassle-free. If you can get up a little earlier, going for a run to start the day not only helps to give you some early morning motivation but also means that your joints won’t be stiff sitting down for most of the day, if that’s part and parcel of your job role. If you just can’t bear to sacrifice that extra sleep, do some stretches or simple exercises as soon as you wake up – this way, you’re giving your body the minimum amount of maintenance it needs.
Listen to uplifting music
Listening to music has been proven to affect our emotions – so put yourself in a great mood as soon as the day starts by popping on some music that you know will get you pumped and ready to tackle whatever the day brings. Create a motivational music playlist and listen to it while you’re getting ready for work, during your morning exercise or as soon as you begin your daily commute. If your workplace permits, put in some headphones, and keep the playlist going throughout your working day. With upbeat, motivational music playing throughout your day, you’ll find that your perspective is suddenly a lot sunnier.
Give yourself time in the morning to do something you enjoy
Whether it’s taking 10 minutes to sit and drink coffee or tea in a nearby cafe, sitting at your desk and playing a quick game on your phone or reading a book, doing something you enjoy will help to keep you relaxed and ease you into your working day. Try to make the most of your free time to strike the ideal work-life balance, and avoid thinking too much about work until clock in. By learn to switch your work brain on and off on command, you’ll find that you’re much happier in your worklife.
Prioritise your workload from hardest to easiest tasks
As soon as you know what you have to do for the day, it can be helpful to organise these tasks from the hardest job to the easiest one. Getting the tougher work out of the way early on will keep you focused, as your energy levels naturally drop throughout the day. Ending the day with a simple task or a job you enjoy means you don’t need to stress. You’re still doing your best work and can leave at the end of the working day on a high.
Stay active and hydrated
Staring at a computer screen can take its toll on your eyes, and staying stuck in one place will make your joints stiff by the end of the day. Take 5 or 10 minutes to walk around the office, or find any excuse to move about. If you need to make some phonecalls, use it as an excuse to walk around and talk. If your office has a water cooler, grab a cup, relax and chat to co-workers. Alternatively, keep a large bottle of water on your desk. Not only is this healthy, but it also means you’re less likely to snack at your desk – a habit of which many office workers are guilty. After taking these breaks, you can come back refreshed and ready to move on to the next challenge.
Read a book or check your favourite website
Your mind will start to feel tired and burned out if you consistently work for 4 hours straight before your lunch break. Instead, take a couple of minutes to relax and browse websites that might interest you, or help you to relax and focus. You could even keep a book nearby that you can relax with and read before diving back into the task at hand. Giving yourself those extra few minutes to do something you enjoy allows you to trick your brain into feeling more positive and productive. This will keep you in better spirits for the duration of the working day and help you to stay on track throughout.
Organise your desk or workspace
There’s nothing worse than not being able find something you need, when you need it – so spend 10 minutes organising your desk to identify exactly where everything is. It can also help to keep something you enjoy nearby, so you can remind yourself to take those all-important breaks. Leaving a post-it note on the desk or by your monitor with a motivational quote can help you to remain focused when you feel the stress piling on. Calming colours such as blues and greens can also help – so find ways to incorporate that colour scheme in your workspace.
Leave the building for lunch
Sometimes staying in an office for 8 hours straight can make it seem like there’s no escape. Remind yourself that the world is still out there by leaving the office at lunch and going for a walk outside, or take a trip to a nearby cafe. Alternatively, if you brought a packed lunch, eat it outside (weather permitting) at a nearby public seating area. Doing this gives you a chance to inhale some fresh and remember that there’s a world outside the office – and the sounds of life around you can help to comfort you in times of stress.
If you know you’re going to need to sit down for long periods of time and can’t afford to take exercise breaks, then there’s no reason to be uncomfortable. Something as simple as bringing in a cushion to support your back and a leg rest can make a world of difference and keep your mind focused on completing important tasks, rather than the back pain you might have from leaning into your desk!
Although it can be hard staying positive, focused and productive throughout the working week, the little breaks you give yourself in the day will make all the difference. Treat yourself right during the day and take some well-earned timeouts to take any unnecessary stress out of the daily grind. By giving yourself some TLC, you should be able to stay focused during a busy working day – and with the help of these tips, you’ll hopefully find that your productivity at work increases.