Keep It Simple | 5 habits for a productive work day

Sometimes the most challenging part of a work day can simply be the challenge of staying focused. Whether it's those ugly Monday mornings, the sleepy hour after your lunch break or the long monotonous, afternoon meetings, lacking concentration makes any day harder than it should be. 

Let’s talk about some ways we can stay focused and productive at work.

1. Keep a to-do list

Keeping a to-do list is an effective way to help you get back on track. Every individual is different, so experimenting with different types of to-do lists could help you increase productivity. Forbes contributor Amit Chowdhry says he prefers to “go after the easy ones (tasks) first and then tackle the complicated ones after.” For more suggestions, check it out here

Another thing to keep in my mind is writing tomorrow’s list before you leave work tonight. You are already setting yourself up for success because you will kickstart your focus the next morning and you can get right back into your routine. Check out some of these to-do list tips.  

2. Keep your inbox and desk clean

Lessen the distraction by keeping your space clean and tidy. Anxiety can be caused by clutter, which can lead to distraction. Check out some of these tips by Kathryn Vasel of CNN Money: 

“Get your layout right.”

“Mind your office supplies”

“Don’t go overboard on personal knick-knacks”

“Control your inbox”

To read the rest of Kathryn’s tips, head to

3. Find the right time

Learning how your body clock runs can help master productivity at work. Sue Shellenbarger of The Wall Street Journal states, “A significant minority of people operate on either of two distinctive chronotypes, research shows: Morning people tend to wake up and go to sleep earlier and to be most productive early in the day. Evening people tend to wake up later, start more slowly and peak in the evening,” in her article The Peak Time for Everything. Most of us usually figure out how our body clocks work just by moving throughout the day. So take the time to listen and learn your natural body clock and use that to your advantage. 

4. Clump similar tasks together and don't multitask

Clumping similar tasks together will help teach your brain a consistent rhythm. According to the American Psychology Association, “Psychologists who study what happens to cognition (mental processes) when people try to perform more than one task at a time have found that the mind and brain were not designed for heavy-duty multitasking.” Multitasking can lead to wasted time, so focus on a series of related tasks, before moving onto larger tasks. 

5. Learn to take breaks

You should learn to take a break. Breaks help increase productivity levels; it’s like hitting the refresh button for your brain. John P. Trougakos, an assistant management professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the Rotman School of Management, states “Employees generally need to detach from their work and their work space to recharge their internal resources.” So, take a walk around the block, read a book for 15 minutes, or just get away from your work space — any of this will help.