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Increasing work productivity is a big undertaking if you wait too long to develop good habits. There are lots of factors to consider, and luckily there are several that you can actually take control of! Here are 5 of my tried-and-true, favorite ways to improve work productivity.

Take Breaks

Taking breaks is a great way to keep your mind sharp. It gives your brain a chance to catch its breath. I know your brain doesn’t breathe, but you get the idea.

Breaks also allow you to sit back and evaluate what you’re doing. Have you gotten off course? Are the goals you’re working toward still necessary? What’s the bigger picture?

Set Deadlines and Keep Them

Setting a deadline can be difficult when you manage all of your own initiatives. If it’s fluid, it can be difficult to keep those deadlines. When you bite the bullet and make it a priority to set and keep deadlines you regain control of your workflow, build in a sense of urgency, and improve your focus on tasks that truly need to be done. Fight procrastination! Embrace deadlines!

Do Less Multitasking

If you’re feeling stretched thin because you’ve taken on so many different initiatives, it’s time to tone it down. The ideal would be to work toward having fewer tasks on your plate. If that isn’t feasible, then start by focusing on one task at a time with limited interruptions. Carve out a specific block of time each hour for emails. Limit the number of tabs you have open when you’re working on a project. Listen to music without words that you’re tempted to sing along to while you work.

Exercise at Work

Working a desk job can make you feel like the poster child for the phrase “An object at rest will stay at rest…” If you’re feeling sluggish, “deskercise” can help you get some pep in your step. Whether you incorporate exercise in short bursts or a 15 minute break here and there, here’s a great list of deskercises.

Bring Healthy Snacks and a Water Bottle

Staying fueled and hydrated is very important for brain performance. If you feel like you’re lagging, it’s great to have a piece of fruit or some trail mix on hand. Some of my other favorites are veggies and hummus, or cheese and crackers if you need a little protein boost. (PSA: If you do not have a private office, crunchy snacks should be avoided. No one wants to hear you chew when they’re working on proposals.)

Water bottles are great because having one near causes you to drink more water. Now your brain and body will be better fueled, and you’ll be more likely to take a walk to the loo instead of the vending machine.