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3 Tricks to Improve Productivity At The Office

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In advertising, time is money. Most departments bill clients based on the amount of time it takes to complete each project. So its easy to see why productivity and the efficient use of time is so important to us ad geeks.

But as we all know, productivity has its ups and downs. From Facebook to water cooler gossip, it’s pretty easy to be unproductive at work. Other popular productivity killers include food comas, copier runs and the constant interruptions provided by our iPhones and Crackberries.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. This is another one of those self-help articles where someone is going to tell you that you have to ‘disconnect’ in order to be productive. Not true. That method never worked for me. Instead of a list of don’ts, I thought I would pass along three easy tricks that will make the time you do have, more productive.

1. Clean Your Desk. That’s right, bust out the windex and paper towels because its time to wipe away the years of dust that having been clinging to your desktop. Don’t do one of those half-way jobs either. This way, you can ensure that you get that leftover french fry that is wedged between your desk and the filing cabinet. Researchers at NEC-Mitsubishi found that workers with a messy, unorganized desk spend more than seven hours each week looking for lost items. Cleaning your desk improves productivity because it forces you to reevaluate and sometimes change your workflow, which can sometimes be as simple as moving your office phone to the other side of your desk so that it is easier to reach. When tidying up, try to minimize visual distractions and increase usable desk space. Perhaps the most important reason to de-clutter your desk is for health reasons. Research suggests that the average desk contains more than 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. So, having a clean desk might also lead to better overall health. Just remember your desk is your canvas and sometimes an artist has to start fresh in order to produce their best work.

2. Drink More Water. According to the National Soft Drink Association, the average American consumes more than 600 12-ounce sodas each year. Over consumption of soft drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks and their high levels of sugar and caffeine have been directly linked to obesity, diabetes and fatigue. Not to mention it can also put a strain on your wallet. Instead, opt for the cheeper and healthier option, water. Water regulates body temperature and detoxifies the human body. Your brain is made up is 90% water and without enough of it, you will develop a headache or begin to feel fatigued.  Research has shown that those who drink water throughout the day have higher brain function than those who are reliant on sugary beverages that end up causing dehydration.So replacing your daily Coca-Cola with a glass of water will help you stay alert, improve overall health and help you avoid the afternoon crash.

3. Use Headphones. If you work at an ad agency, then you know it can be a loud place. Listening to music at work can be a great way to help you focus on the task at hand while drowning out nearby distractions. Headphones create a thin barrier between you and your surroundings, which means people will be less likely to bother you when the see you wearing headphones. Research from the University of Windsor found that workers who listen to music during the day had heightened senses of mood and better quality of work as compared to coworkers performing the same tasks without music. In fact, those who listen to music also work more quickly than coworkers according to this same study. In my experience, the key to using headphones to improve productivity is in the selection of the right material. Select music or material that you are familiar with and can easily block out. I find that listening to classical music or movie soundtracks work best in facilitating creativity. Regardless of what material choose, be sure to have a playlist built in advance to avoid the urge to shuffle through your music library all day.

So there you have it. Three easy tips to help you make more of your time at the office. Leave a comment and let me know how these tips worked for you.

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