Until cloning yourself or the 50-hour day become possibilities, there are things you can do right now to get more done. The best part? These surprising ideas are all really easy to incorporate into your daily life.
Look at Kittens
Next time your boss looks over your shoulder and finds you clicking through a kittens-being-cute slideshow, tell her it’s good for your job. Researchers have found that looking at cute images increased performance in concentration tasks by 44 percent. Well? What are you waiting for?
Buy Flowers for Your Desk
Gunning for a promotion? Keep a vase of tulips on your desk. Research has found that productivity in the form of increased idea generation, creative performance, and problem solving skills greatly improve in workplace environments that include flowers and plants.
Put on a Sweater
If your office temperature is set to “arctic tundra,” keep a cozy cardigan nearby. When researchers increased office temperatures from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit in a month-long study, they found that typing errors fell by 44 percent, and typing output increased by 150 percent.
Stop Trying to Multi-Task
Did you know that juggling multiple to-dos at once actually makes us less efficient? That’s because instead of truly “juggling” multiple tasks, our brain just frantically switches back and forth between them. In fact, even thinking about multi-tasking (like having your phone nearby or your personal email open at work) can knock 10 points off your IQ, similar to the impairment we get from losing a night’s sleep. Stick to one task at a time and you’ll see a boost in how much you get done.
Tune Out Your Co-Workers
Need to finish up a big project? Stake out an empty conference room. An Ask.com survey found that 61 percent of U.S. employes agree that loud colleagues are their biggest office distraction. Forty percent are distracted by impromptu desk-side chats.
Take a Walk
Does your lunch break consist of shoveling a sandwich into your mouth while hunched over your keyboard? You may be saving time, but you’re not doing your productivity levels any favors. Instead, take a 20-minute walk in the neighborhood around your office. Scientists at Stanford suggest walking boosts creative thinking by 60 percent compared to sitting. Other research has found that walking (away from your desk) can help you refocus when returning to a demanding task.