By Lubna Hamdan
If you spend your day in front of a computer screen at a 9-5 job, it can be a challenge to stay motivated
If you spend your day in front of a computer screen at a 9-5 job, it’s not easy to remain energised and focused.
And even if you don’t spend it locked to a monitor, staying motivated and productive for a long period of time can be challenging.
After all, the UAE has one of the highest levels of competitiveness globally, having been ranked the 12th most competitive country in the world by the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2015.
So, to help you deal with the endless emails and pressuring deadlines, here are our top 10 ways to stay energised and focused at work:
1. Add a plant to your desk: The environment you work in affects your mood, energy, and focus level. According to a study by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), employees that worked in windowed offices spent 15 percent more time focusing on a work task than those who worked in windowless offices. To remain productive, create a space that you’re happy to work in. Something as simple as adding a plant to your desk can reduce stress and increase positive feelings, stated Forbes magazine. Live interior plants can help workers become more focused and efficient, confirmed a study by Washington State University.
2. Start your day with a good breakfast: Having a good start to your working day is important. Nobody likes to rush to the office on an empty stomach or in a bad mood. Breakfast provides you with the fuel you need to start your day, says dietician Minette Prinsloo. So wake up a half hour earlier than you usually do. Treat yourself to a nutritious breakfast. The better you treat yourself, the better your work will be. According to fitnessfoods.ca, eating a healthy breakfast restores glucose levels that your brains needs to function.
3. Dress to impress (yourself): What do James Bond, Bruce Wayne, and Carrie Bradshaw have in common? They’re all well-dressed, and successful. Though they are movie characters, real life researchers Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky of Northwestern University found that wearing certain clothing can automatically influence our psychological status. In an experiment, they discovered that subjects wearing a lab coat described as a white doctor’s coat paid more attention and were more focused than subjects wearing a lab coat described as that of a painter’s. The phrase “dress for success” was made with good reason.
4. Organisation is key: Let’s imagine you sitting at your desk with loads of emails to read and a million things to get done. Instead of having that cocktail in your mind, take a piece of paper and write down bullet points of the tasks you have to finish. Focus on one task at a time. This will help you finish your work quicker and more efficiently. According to the Business Insider, workers who focused on one task at a time reported being 50 percent more engaged at their jobs than those who did not.
5. Move it: Dr. John Ratey, Author of “Spark – The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,” told Forbes that exercise improves the brain by raising focus for two to three hours afterwards. Though you can’t exercise at the office, you can perform some movements to better your blood flow, such as stretching or taking a 5 minute walk near the office. On another note, instead of taking the elevator in your workplace, take the stairs.
6. Avoid energy zappers as snacks: Prinsloo says food and drinks that are concentrated in sugar, like sodas, sugary coffee, energy bars and energy drinks, will keep you active for an hour, but will probably cause an energy crash afterwards, leaving you feeling more tired than you initially were. Instead, she suggests having fruits or vegetables, which are healthy and provide you with energy and sugar at the same time.
7. Take your eyes off your computer – for 20 seconds: Lifehacker.com recommends the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes you spend staring at the computer, spend 20 seconds looking at objects that are 20 feet away. Apps like Awareness, WorkRave, and ProtectYourVision help you remember to look away from your screen.
8. Spinach: Forbes mentions that spinach has nitrates, chemicals that increase blood flow to the brain and improve mental performance. In addition, spinach nutrients also help prevent cancer cell and tumor growth. Other “brainy foods” include blueberries, tomatoes, and blackcurrant.
9. Laugh: Google jokes or a funny story at work. Mayoclinic says laughing relieves stress, enhances oxygen intake, and stimulates organs like muscles, heart, and lungs, and increases endorphins that are released by your brain. So any time you feel down or stressed at work, search something funny to cheer up.
10. Replace coffee with water: At the office, most drinks consumed are coffee and tea, which can cause dehydration. According to Gastrolyte.com, dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, and lightheadedness. Instead of getting up to refill your coffee cup, keep a jug of cold water on your desk. Add some lemon to it for a taste. If it is in reach, says Prinsloo, you are more likely to have it.