Professional Development Work-Life Balance

4 Steps to Boost Your Workplace Productivity

Written by Miranda Pennington

Whether you’ve fallen out of love with your job or are so overwhelmed you’ve been falling behind, it’s never too late to pick up the pace and catch up. Check out these tips from Gerald Buck over at Careerealism!


Take a Break

It may seem counterintuitive, but leaving your desk and walking around the block, getting a drink, or stretching your legs in the hallway for five minutes can get your blood and oxygen flowing and restore your energy levels. Come back to your desk ready to dive in and take care of business!
workplace productivity

Outline Your Priorities

First thing in the morning, or even before you go home at the end of the day, make a list of the most important to-dos in the order you need to tackle them. Make sure you include a small task to get the ball rolling, and put the biggest item early on so the day doesn’t get away from you. You can update and rearrange as you go, but having a list to follow helps you stay focused and accountable.


workplace productivity

Consider the Long Term

If your workplace doesn’t have an annual goal-setting process in place already, take the initiative to identify two big things you want to accomplish over the course of the next year. Post them somewhere you’ll see every day—on your monitor or inside your top desk drawer—and work towards them every day. Taking the long view helps to liberate you from the feeling of being trapped in the stress of day-to-day tasks. Don’t forget to mention these goals in your next performance review!


workplace productivity

Get to Work Early

Leaving your home half an hour earlier can make a huge difference in your day when you’re really struggling to stay motivated—you can usually either finish a small task or get a good start on a bigger one before the office fills up with chatter and distractions. Having that boost of early morning momentum can positively affect your whole day. Plus, you can leave right on time without feeling like you didn’t give that day your best work!

Don’t try to implement these all at once—take it one day at a time, or even one hour at a time if you need to, and see if your shifting attitude increases your productivity and happiness.

About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.