Let’s set the scene. You’ve woken up bright and early, got dressed, enjoyed your cereal, and are now heading out to work. You arrive and – travel mug of coffee in hand – enter the office and slump down at your desk. You open your computer, stare blankly at the screen and don’t know where to begin. It’s going to be one of those days.

Everyone has days when they’re less motivated than others. Whether this is due to over tiredness from too many late-night YouTube videos, over excitement about an upcoming holiday, or over thinking due to a pre-existing mental health issue, it’s perfectly natural to feel unproductive from time to time.

However, for freelancers and self-employed workers, being unproductive can have a big impact on profitability. Therefore, it’s absolutely imperative to stay motivated and get work done as efficiently as possible – so what can you do?

Fortunately, there are a number of simple ways to improve productivity in the workplace. From office-focused changes to personal working alterations, here are six of the most effective ways to do exactly that.

  1. Plan.

One of the easiest but most effective ways of ensuring you have a productive day comes simply through planning. While it may seem cumbersome and boring writing out a to-do list before you get going with the day, setting yourself objectives and mapping out what you want to achieve is vital to staying focused.

Plus, the satisfaction of ticking off a job after it’s been completed will make the time you set aside for planning well worth it in the end.

  • Climate.

The temperature and climate of the office space can play a big role in productivity levels. Too hot and you’ll get tired more quickly. Too cold and you’ll be shivering trying to type. Finding the perfect temperate balance is therefore vital to staying at the top of your game and not being distracted by how hot or cold you feel.

The office space you work in should have adequate heating and air conditioning options to make finding this ideal balance easy. These should also be serviced by a professional on a regular basis, to ensure productivity levels never drop as a result of office temperature.

  • Music.

OK, I’ll admit this one won’t be for everybody but hear me out. When you work in an office environment, there are normally a number of distractions which quickly draw you away from your work. Listening to music helps prevent this, drowning out external office-based noises to keep you focused on your work.

However, the type of music you listen to plays a big part. Loud music with lyrics may actually be more distracting than having no music on so, in general, lyric-less music is best to listen to. Listening to classical music has also been shown to increase your IQ while you work, so why not give it a try?

  • Drink.

Hydration is vital not only from a working perspective but from a health perspective too. Keeping a bottle of water handy on your desk is a great way of keeping your neurons firing, providing your brain and body with electrolytes to maintain a good level of concentration.

What’s more, drinking water also keeps your hair and skin looking great which, while may sound unrelated to work, can make a big difference. After all, the better you feel, the more motivated you’ll be to get your work completed.

  • Plants.

While on the subject of health, having plants around the office you work in can also help you work more productively. Indoor plants like ivy, aloe vera and rubber plants each help regulate the air around the office, taking in carbon dioxide and pumping out oxygen. This oxygen helps keep your brain functioning effectively, meaning you can stay focused on your work for longer.

Plus, plants are nice to look at and can add a nice feel to the office. The happier the office environment is, the more productive its workers will be. Simple.

  • Breaks.

When you have a huge pile of work on your desk to do, it can be tempting to simply get through it all as quickly as possible without stopping. Don’t do this – you’ll only end up burning yourself out and losing motivation halfway through the pile.

Instead, take breaks regularly to get away from the work for a little bit. Even just a five-minute coffee break can make a big difference to your level of motivation and productivity. By giving yourself the opportunity to rejuvenate properly, you’ll not only feel better, you’ll also get through that pile of work a lot more quickly. Talk about a win-win.

Photo credit: eOffice

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