5 Tips to Help You Stay Productive at Work

04/10/2015 07:29 am ET | Updated Jun 10, 2015

This is part of the Increased Productivity series where experts in productivity, brain training, and business success share the techniques and tools they couldn't live without.

Almost every individual who works for a living has experienced, or has been experiencing, productivity issues in the workplace.

These people are probably familiar with the struggles of staying on track at work and finishing tasks on time. While there are days that energy is a friend and tasks seem easy peasy, many professionals find it difficult on some -- or most -- days to get the job done without feeling like a lazy bum.

If consuming three cups of coffee still would not work, then here are some tips to stay focused, be more productive all throughout the day at the office:

  1. Keep a To-Do List
  2. With a to-do list at hand, staying on track at work will be easier. It is important to start the day figuring out what to accomplish for the day and have them listed down on paper or using an mobile app. Set priorities and arrange them as desired. Some people arrange their tasks based on their urgency, completing the small tasks first before moving onto the bigger projects. Long term projects can be written down on a planner, so one can easily refer to it when the need arises.

  3. Create and Follow a Timeframe

  4. A to-do list allows an individual to get things done and not leave a task behind. However, creating a time frame would allow these tasks to be done efficiently. Once priorities have been set, it is critical to allot a time frame for each task -- big or small. Assigning an estimated completion time for each project will help keep oneself accountable. It is important to note that these tasks can take longer than expected, but freaking out is not an option. See if these tasks can be put off until later, and begin moving on to the next.

  5. Eliminate Distractions

  6. No Facebook. No selfies. No unnecessary chit-chats. While these things are fun to do, they can also allow one to get carried away and forget all the tasks at hand. Eliminate every possible distraction: lock the door, turn off the phone or place it on Silent mode (if applicable), or turn off the Internet. When a certain task requires full concentration, heading to a quiet area may help.

  7. Have a Break

  8. It is advisable to work in a 60- to 90-minute intervals as the brain consumes more glucose than any other parts of the body. Typically, all of the glucose stores are used up after an hour. This is one of the reasons why people tend to feel exhausted after long meetings. Take a break: go for a walk, do something different, take a nap, or have a snack. Recharging can help boost a person's brain activity, allowing him or her to perform tasks more efficiently.


  9. Look Into 'Smart Drugs'
  10. Nootropics, or better known as "smart drugs" or cognitive enhancers, have become increasingly popular in the past decades. Studies have shown that some of these supplements have successfully provided many users with pleasing results. It is no longer a wonder why people with demanding jobs turn to these drugs for a temporary mental boost. Former Silicon Valley Entrepreneur Dave Asprey, who is now the CEO of The Bulletproof Executive, says "entrepreneurs and disruptive innovators" have benefitted from these cognitive enhancers as they are more effective than caffeine. They're called 'smart drugs' for a reason.

Our productivity depends on how balanced our lifestyle is. Sometimes it's very tempting to put all our efforts and energies in certain projects, but to be able to attain and sustain productive hours at work, we all need to look at ways on how to best balance our daily personal and professional activities and always find opportunities to unwind.