Everyone experiences challenges at work, no matter what the nature of their industry. An increasing number of my patients are finding it difficult to cope with stressful work situations and therefore more are taking sick leave. To help those who are struggling with productivity at work, I’ve compiled my simple, yet extremely effective top five tips.
1. Don't procrastinate
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s really important to stop sabotaging yourself and becoming your own barrier at work. When a task seems arduous, or even slightly complicated, it’s natural for us to put it to one side and say to yourself “I’ll deal with that later”. But you must remember that this task is not going anywhere, it has no legs – it will remain on your desk until you complete it. So why not do the worst things first, then try to enjoy the rest of your day at work.
2. Eliminate time thieves
Although disruptions at work are inevitable, we can all try to identify and eliminate our own time thieves. These could be anything from receiving constant Facebook notifications to having a political debate with colleagues. It’s okay to be sociable when the time is right, but not when you are trying to tick off tasks on your to-do list. Make it a priority to improve your time management habits so that you can allocate enough time to complete tasks and deliver results of a high standard, which will not only make yourself feel good, but can also encourage and impress your colleagues.
3. Keep your workspace tidy
Having to search for misplaced papers each day is another time thief that is preventing you from completing your work. A messy work environment can be a productivity killer and constant clutter can start to overwhelm you, making it hard to deliver your best. Rather than letting your workspace get messy over time, set-up an alert for the end of each working day, as a reminder to give it a quick tidy. It only takes two minutes and you’ll be amazed by how much easier it is to get things done when your workspace is clean and neatly organised.
4. Take a break
Working through your lunch break is a common bad habit adopted by many and I believe that procedures should be put in place to stop this from happening so often. It is vital to have a short break to refresh your brain, but equally as important is ensuring that you eat a light snack and drink lots of water to stay hydrated, fuel yourself and keep up your metabolism and mental energy, which all supports your overall productivity.
During your break, it’s useful to reflect on your successes and achievements from that week. Focusing on something positive helps with career growth, personal progress and performance. On the point of taking a break, something I feel strongly about is people having ‘down time’ once a week, which I refer to as one hour each week to yourself (no phones, no relatives etc) – not just a rest from technology, but from any type of distraction. Although this can be difficult at first, it allows the brain to slow down and achieve inner calmness, increasing productivity.
5. Maintain a balanced work / life style
Outside of work, if you can adopt an active lifestyle and a reasonably balanced diet, it will have a good effect on your mental and physical health, making you more capable when at work. Even if you are busy with family duties etc, regular exercise such as a trip to the gym, a home-based workout, or playing your favourite sport during the weekend, helps to maintain your energy. If you are avoiding procrastination and eliminating your time thieves at work, then you shouldn’t have a reason to continue working outside of your normal business hours because you’re on track with your to-do list. From time to time, there may be major projects that require extra time investment, but you must set clear boundaries between your work and home life. That way, rather than feeling exhausted and mentally drained, you can approach both with a fresh, energetic perspective, which is more likely to help you deliver optimum performance.
In December 2015, Dr Bhagat launched GPDQ (GP Delivered Quick), the UK’s first doctor-on-demand app to deliver home GP visits within an hour.