One of the coolest things about being an adult is being able to work in a field you're passionate about and earn a living doing what you excel in or what you enjoy. When I'm not blogging, I'm working full-time at my day job. I'm lucky to have a job that I love and to work with people that inspire me and motivate me. I've learned a lot after working in my industry for five years and I know that I still have a lot to learn. I'm excited to see where my career takes me and I can't wait to continue growing and developing my skill set.
Since I'm used to being in an office setting, I've learned how to make the most of each week and ensure that I stay organized and on top of everything on my plate. Writing things down and recharging by taking small breaks throughout the day definitely helps me to stay focused. I challenge you to try these seven things this week at work and see if they make a difference in your productiveness and the overall way you feel.
1. Clean your desk every Monday morning
If you work in an office setting, you probably know firsthand how easily germs can spread. Keep a container or Clorox or Lysol wipes on your desk or in one of your drawers, pull it out every Monday morning and sanitize your desk's surface. Clean off your phone, your keyboard, mouse, computer monitor and anything else that gets touched on a daily basis. The nighttime janitorial crew only cleans so much so do yourself a favor and remove all of the dust and grime that built up over the previous week. Keeping your area clean will (hopefully) help you to stay healthy.
2. Get your email inbox to zero
Are you the type of person that lets that emails pour in without reading them or organizing them? Or, do you respond to emails one by one as they're sent to you? When it comes to managing my inbox, if an email that isn’t urgent is sent to me, I have a tendency to glance at it and then mark it as unread so I can come back to it later. Then, when I have some free time during my day, I’ll respond to a handful of emails at once. Being able to dedicate time to typing and sending email responses is helpful for me because it allows me to focus on other tasks during the day. Even on days where my calendar is full and I’ll be away from my desk, I avoid touching my computer or responding to emails during meetings (I don’t want to appear disrespectful to whoever is speaking or presenting), so I typically catch up on all of them at once. My favorite way to respond to emails is to sort my inbox and have all of the unread messages displayed. After going through and responding to each one, I work my way all the way down to zero. It's such a great feeling when all of my emails are read and responded to! Here's a little tip for anyone that has a cluttered inbox, use a service like Unroll.me to manage your email subscriptions. You can unsubscribe right from within the tool - it's super handy.
3. Follow the 20-20-20 rule
Chances are that if you work at a desk job, you’re looking at a computer for hours at a time during the day. Avoid straining your eyes and follow the 20-20-20 rule. Look at something that’s 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Easy enough, right? I try to follow this rule during my workday. Taking a breaks from your computer screen is essential in keeping you awake and alert. You might be wondering why you should divert your focus to something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. According to researchers, it takes your eyes 20 seconds to fully relax. If you can’t find something that’s 20 feet away, just look at something far in the distance. You can look out the window or even across the room. If you think that you’ll forget to practice this exercise every 20 minutes, you can always set a reminder in your phone or put a note on your calendar.
4. Take breaks and get active
Like I alluded to in point number three above, staring at a computer screen all day can get old REAL quick. Give yourself a break every now and then and step away from your desk. When I'm at work I love to take breaks by going to get something to drink or walking outside for a few minutes. Sometimes getting fresh air is all it takes to feel re-energized during a long day. If your workplace has a gym, consider working out during your lunch break. Or, you could always walk up and down the halls, the stairs or outside depending on what your work campus is like. Getting your blood pumping in the middle of your day has so many benefits. You can burn a few calories, get a change of scenery and clear your head by unplugging for a while.
5. Plot out your most important tasks and goals for the week
Whether you write down your goals and tasks or use an online tool like Trello or Asana to keep yourself organized, having a clear vision of what you need to tackle at the beginning of the week will help to set you up for success so you can devote the appropriate amount of time to each task. When I start my week, I write a to do list that includes all of the big picture items and then on a daily basis I write to do lists that are more granular and have details on what I want to tackle that particular day. When I've wrapped up all of my smaller tasks for the day, I can move on to the bigger tasks that don’t have a hard deadline. Starting off your week by writing down your tasks and goals ensures that you keep on track with all of your projects and meet the objectives that are outlined for you as part of your job.
6. Get out of the office at least once
I know I already mentioned the importance of taking breaks and trying your best to add some activity to your work day, but it's equally important to switch it up during the week and get out of the office if you can. Now, I'm not saying that you should go out for extended lunch breaks every day or anything, but I do think switching it up and changing your environment for an hour or even a half hour at least once during over the course of your Monday through Friday schedule is a great way to break up your work week. At my very first job out of college, I would drive to a local park and eat my lunch outside at a picnic table. I was able to enjoy the fresh air, call my loved ones and catch up for a bit and scroll through my social media feeds. Going to the park was so much better than eating lunch at my desk. I loved being able to get away from my computer and just relax for a little, even if it was just during my lunch break. Now, I mostly use my lunch break to run errands during the week if I need to. This still allows me to get out of the office which is nice. Having plans to go out for lunch or run errands provides a break in the day. Try it out and see what a difference it makes in your work week.
7. Tie up any loose ends before leaving for the weekend
There's nothing better than watching the clock wind down on a Friday afternoon, right? Start your weekend off on the right foot and make sure your tasks are completed before you leave on Friday. The last thing you need after a long work week is to have projects looming over your head on your days off. If you're proactive and spend your Friday afternoon responding to emails and finishing up the projects you're working on, you'll be able to set yourself up for a good weekend where you can unplug and relax (just the way you should on weekends)!
What are some things that you make sure you do each week at work? I'd love to hear, so share your thoughts with me in the comments section below!