You’ve been at your desk for five full hours, and all you can think about is the nap you’re going to take when 5 p.m. rolls around. It may feel incredibly challenging to keep your workflow steady when you’re confined to your cubicle . . . but don’t lose hope or switch careers yet! That burnout you’re experiencing is totally normal, and you may just need a few office hacks to spring back to life during your dayjob. Ahead, the experts weigh in.
1. Change your attitude.
Tight deadlines and tough bosses usually mean major stress and anxiety when you’re tied to your desk, which can result in a foul mood paired neatly alongside a feeling of detachment from your career.
“Recognize that you always have a choice,” says career and life coach Jenn DeWall. “Boost your productivity by taking control of your own mental attitude and happiness versus being a victim to your environment. The more that you consciously choose how you want to respond versus letting it happen, the more productive, organized, and stress-free your work zone can be.”
2. Play upbeat music.
Experiencing a serious work drought at your cubicle? The fix might be as simple as a catchy song.
“Turn on your workout Spotify playlist [editor’s note: or better yet, this motivational work playlist!],” says millennial career expert Jill Jacinto. “Let the beats and the fast-paced rhythms wake up your system. Sometimes all we need is a quick dose of energy to shock our senses and inspire a creative flow.”
3. Go for a walk.
Believe it or not, a walk around the block can work wonders in restoring your thought process once you return to your desk.
“Get outside and see the sun while it’s still light out,” Jacinto says. “Going for walk will get your blood circulating and will reenergize you.”
A quick breath of fresh air will revive your work spirit, DeWall reiterates. You can even invite a colleague to join you.
“Taking a 5-minute walk in between tasks can help refresh your brain and enable you to approach new tasks with a fresh mindset,” she says. “If you have an outdoor space, ask a co-worker to take a 15-minute walk over lunch after you’ve eaten. This gives an afternoon restart so you’re able to transition smoothly into the afternoon tasks.”
4. Take a break and do something you enjoy.
Though an easy stroll’s a great solution, you may not need to leave your office space to get your groove back. Try playing a 3-minute game on your laptop (yes, really), reading an interesting, non-work-related article, or having a quick Facebook chat with your friend.
“Take note of when you’re feeling drowsy or the lull times at work,” DeWall says. “Use this time to do something that excites you versus something you dread doing, which can boost your energy for more difficult tasks later on in the day.”
5. Put your phone away.
Whether you’re at home or your place of employment, it’s always a good idea to limit your texting and social media scrolling.
“Everyone – and I mean everyone – is guilty of this in one form or another,” Jacinto says. “When you absolutely need to focus, toss your phone on silent (not vibrate), and store it in your bag or in your desk drawer. Out of sight (or even better, out of reach), and you’ll be able to focus on the task at hand. One of my most productive days at the office was when I accidentally left my phone at home on the kitchen counter.”
6. Set designated times to check emails.
Addicted to refreshing your Gmail tab every 45 seconds? You’re not alone.
“This one can be difficult, as we feel a sense of urgency to respond to every email immediately,” DeWall says. “However, if we choose certain time periods to respond to emails, we free up more time to work on more pressing matters or bigger brain power projects . . . which will get you further ahead in the long run.”
7. Structure an order of importance within your inbox.
Furthermore, you should be able to recognize when emails are important and require a fast response, and when they can wait to be replied to.
“Decide which emails need to be answered immediately, tomorrow, and by the end of the week,” says Hallie Crawford, career coach and founder of HallieCrawford.com. “Categorize your inbox into folders or labels named ‘Immediate,’ ‘Tomorrow,’ and ‘By End of Week’ that can help you stay on track.”
8. Turn on Do Not Disturb.
It’s hard to dig your heels in and concentrate when your co-worker’s pinging you every thirty seconds. Consider turning on Do Not Disturb. If the issue’s top-priority, your fellow employee can always stop at your desk to hash it out in person.
“If you use an internal chat system like Slack, click on the Do Not Disturb function when you are working on a project,” Jacinto says. “You’ll be able to tackle your task without a ding or blinking light distracting you.”
9. Let go of competition.
Constantly concerned with how your similarly positioned colleague is faring? Three words: release your fears. No one likes a busybody, and if you’re frequently peeking over her shoulder to see where she’s at with her duties, you’re losing precious time in your own workday.
“The more we compete with our peers for the greatest project or accolades from our boss, the less confidence we’ll have in ourselves,” DeWall says. “Instead of focusing on what others are doing, be proactive and focus on what actions you can take that will get you to your long-term goals. By focusing on yourself versus others, you’ll have more confidence, freedom, and a greater sense of self-worth.”
10. Think big picture.
When you’re struggling to feel valued day after day in-house (which is a big factor in low productivity levels and poor output), consider all the reasons you should be proud of tbe work you’ve done. Simply recognizing how far you’ve come can give you the encouragement you’re craving.
“Too often we are always looking to the future that we forget the value of our present role and responsibilities,” DeWall says. “Instead of dreading the tedious, mundane tasks, think about how they relate to the career vision you have for yourself and the impact to your organization. This can be especially helpful if you work for a boss that doesn’t show appreciation. It’s up to you to find the appreciation and self-worth of your accomplishments. Enjoy the time spent in each position as you’re moving ahead – the more you value and invest in the current position, the more knowledge you’ll gain to prepare you for the next.”