13 May 2013

Improve productivity & well-being in the digital work place!

Woman using mouse at computer desk

Working in the creative/digital industry in this day and age probably means that you spend quite a lot of your time sitting at a computer, tapping away on a phone or swiping on a tablet - at work and during your free time. Almost gone are the days when you'd get out and about for a meeting at work, or go out for a meal at the weekend without instragramming your macaroni cheese. Nowadays emails, calls, video chats, social networking and instant messaging have taken over. Most people probably find that once they've finished work and have plonked themselves down on the train home they head straight to their personal Facebook/Twitter/MyCatster to check out the latest happenings - I'm definitely guilty of this!

While we were at risk of getting 'square eyes' from watching too much TV when we were younger I wonder if we're now as risk of getting '1136-by-640px eyes'...or stylus shaped thumbs - eek!

In the office I tend to find it hard sitting in the one place for hours on end, unless I really am 'in the zone' when I don't notice time going by. This harks back to uni days when I could sit on Photoshop for hours working on a project and look up about 4 hours later and think 'Jeesh, is that the time?!'  

Thinking about the points above, I've been chastising myself recently for spending too much time online and have found myself making rash resolutions to delete my Facebook profile, chuck my laptop out the window and go live in a organic tree village........only to want to want to pronounce my new-found philosophy to the world via a tweet (dangit!)

Whilst I might not be changing my name to Sun-Beam Daisy-Love any time soon I've started trying to do a few things to save my retinas and general sanity which you 'digital folks' can do as well to help break up your working day, improve your general 'office health' and even increase your productivity. Some of them might be obvious but a few are definitely useful...

Stay healthy 9 till 5...

Sit up straight - It's the age old piece of advice but it really will make a difference to your back if you sit with your back against the back of your chair with your feet on the ground....not to mention stopping you having a posture akin to Golum in later life. 

H2OH! - Drink plenty of water throughout the day but if you have a big bottle only fill it up partly as this will give you an excuse to get up, stretch your legs and re-fill. 

Twinkle toes - Rock your feet back and forth (toe to heel), move up and down as if you're walking to keep your circulation going. 

Step away from the screen - Sometimes it might be hard but try to take lunch break and get out and about. Even if you eat your lunch at your desk then try to take a 10 minute walk around, or just go for a mosey around your office. 

Snack time - As well as having a proper breakfast try and have some healthy snacks throughout the day - things like fruit, yoghurt, nuts. 

Take a break - Try and take time away from screens. On the train home try reading a book or just listening to some music for a while. Turn off your phone an hour or so before bed so you're not lying reading tweets right before getting some shut eye. 

Row of dark grey computers in a line

Improve productivity...

Get it out the way - If there's something on your mind that you want to do online, like buy THAT pair of shoes, or get tickets to the gig that have just went on sale then you're best to do it in the morning before starting your actual work. This way it gets it off your mind and will allow you to focus your attention on your work. 

Make lists - I have to say, I love a good list. I normally have a big 'weekly' to do list, and then each morning I split that into things I 'want to do today'. Doing this allows you to have a clear view of what you need to achieve each day and will help you prioritise tasks. It's a good idea to create a list for the week ahead on a Friday before 5pm - meaning you can come in on Monday morning and know what you have to do right away instead of trying to clear away the weekend cobwebs and trying to remember where you left off...

Reward yourself - Another good thing about making lists (above) is that you can reward yourself when you complete a task. This can be anything from getting can of juice to listening to a song...all these wee things will make you feel a sense of achievement and a feeling of "Right!, what's next?"

Keep all your ideas - Sometimes ideas for work or other projects can hit you at the most random times - just nodding off, getting your lunch, walking the dog...It's a good idea to have somewhere to keep these ideas which is more substantial than a piece of paper so I usually send myself quick emails with a couple of lines of text. You can also use the 'notes' or 'memo' feature on your phone to jot down thoughts quickly. 

Do you have any other tips for improving productivity or working tips in general - comment below!

Thanks for reading, Melissa x

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