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6 Tips to Improve Productivity (When You’d Rather Be on Vacation)

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It can be tough to reach the typical high mark for productivity during the summer months. Sure, you’re at work – but another part of you feels distracted by thoughts of home (or maybe the beach) where you envision yourself enjoying the beautiful weather with friends and family.

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(Photo Credit: Joschko Hammermann/Unsplash)

There is no better time to improve your productivity than when you’d rather be on vacation. The more you accomplish in an hour, the fewer hours you have to commit. So, here are some tips for improving your productivity at work so that you can move on to other things more quickly and often this summer.

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1. Care for yourself.

It’s so easy to cut corners (when time is of the essence) on our personal care. Grabbing a quick anything for lunch or cutting back on sleep might feel like time savers, but ultimately they’re not. Actually, lack of sleep reduces productivity and efficiency and lack of nutrition has a similar effect. Get rest this summer – you’ll be better able to hit the ground running during the day and maximize your time. Also, eat right. Good nutrition has been shown to increase productivity by up to 20 percent.

2. Be pointedly focused on one task at a time.

When you have a ton of things to do, it can be really easy to jump from one thing to the next, never quite finishing any one piece. This is disruptive and pretty unfulfilling. Instead, train yourself to really focus in on just one thing at a time. You’ll derive a tremendous sense of accomplishment from seeing tasks through to completion, and you’ll finish your to-dos faster if you take them on one at a time.

3. Get more organized.

We can waste a lot of time trying to find everything we need in order to start a task or move it forward. Try to improve your organization during busy times. Take the extra few minutes to care for your workspace and materials so that the things you need are at your fingertips when you need them. Improving overall organization can save a huge amount of time.

4. Think about caring for your future self not just today’s you.

When you’re rushing out of the office at the end of the day, it’s easy to leave a bit of a mess behind you. You’re late after all, and you tell yourself that you’ll “deal with it tomorrow.” But, thinking about setting up your life with tomorrow’s you in mind could lead to great things. Do the dishes tonight so that you won’t have to bother doing them in the morning. Organize your papers now so that future-you can hit the ground running tomorrow. Take a little care to plan for the future – you’ll thank yourself later.

5. Maximize the times of day that are most productive for you.

A lot of people work best in the mornings, but this isn’t the case for everyone. Identify the time of day that feels the most conducive to productivity and maximize it. If you work best in the mornings, don’t schedule other appointments that take you away from the office during that time. Don’t schedule meetings for those times either if you can help it. Protect your most productive hours as best you can and use them to move your work forward.

6. Take breaks.

Two out of three people report not taking a lunch break. With so much to do each day, lunch at one’s desk might feel absolutely necessary, but you might be better off stepping away for a few instead. Even a “microbreak” (30 seconds to five minutes) has been shown to improve mental acuity by 13 percent. And, when you’re staring at a computer screen for hours, even a 15-second break every 10 minutes reduces fatigue by 50 percent. Pace yourself accordingly. You’ll be better able to maximize the time you spend working if you give yourself some breaks along the way.

Tell Us What You Think

How do you improve productivity when you’d rather be on vacation? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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Michael Einstein

Good article and agree with the recommendations. I am also a big proponent of allocating only a specific amount of time to an activity. This is a key approach I advocate for Email Management, but works for nearly any type of task or activity. The “Pomodoro technique” is a fairly popular approach, since it mixes both focused work sessions with “non-work breaks” (gives you a “reward” for your effort). But this approach has been around a long time, previously referred to as “time-boxing” or even “sprint sessions”. But a key piece of this approach is to eliminate all your distractions… Read more »

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