Sometimes, it’s the little things that matter most. That little time-saving trick that ends up saving you hours in the long run. That mini 3 pm energy boost that stops you slumping at the end of the workday. That tiny lifestyle adjustment that makes your mood skyrocket.
Looking for a little tip or trick that will make your workday easier? Here’s five:
Become a Pro Googler
Do you know how to Google?
If you’re thinking “sure, you just type some words into the search bar and hope something good comes up”, you don’t. Because while you’re trying to make the search engine distinguish between jaguar-the-animal, jaguar-the-car and jaguars-the-NFL-team, those in the know are getting Google to pull the perfect webpage out of the internet in milliseconds.
Want info from a specific company or publication? Putting “Site:” before the URL will limit search results to it. Want to find information about aubergines without excluding Americanised sites describing eggplants? Using “~” before a word will search its synonyms too.
Pro Googlers can also exclude certain topics, restrict the search to certain dates, search by author, title, and filetype, and much more.
Bottle Up Productivity
Chances are, your bathroom cupboards at home are stuffed full of delicious-smelling bath bombs, soaps, hand creams and other cosmetics. Next Monday morning, take some to work with you. Science says that certain aromas can be great for our mental faculties as well as our mood.
The best of the best is peppermint. When smelled by survey participants, that essential oil corresponded to a boost in memory, processing speed, and alertness. Keep some on your desk and have a quick sniff whenever you need an energy boost.
Another good scent to keep in your desk drawer is ylang-ylang. If work is stressing you out, a breath of this will calm you down and chill you out.
Make a Hydration Schedule
You probably know that drinking lots of water is good for your health. But you may not have known that it’s also good for your productivity. When we’re even slightly dehydrated, our brain doesn’t function properly, and our short-term memory, attention span, and reaction times all worsen.
Scientists reckon that the optimal amount of water we should be drinking each day is a whopping 2.5 litres, which translates into 10 and a half cups! If you’re worried you’re going to forget (or lose count) then mark your water bottle with the levels you should have reached at various points in the day.
Find water too bland? Add lemon or other fruit to zest it up (and add in extra vitamins!).
Replace Coffee with Green Tea
It may be time to kick your coffee addiction – contrary to popular wisdom, research shows that your morning cup o’ joe isn’t making you any more alert. Although caffeine is a stimulant, regular coffee-drinking builds up a resistance to it. The consequence? Zero energy-boosting effects, but withdrawal symptoms on the days you don’t drink it. Ouch.
Luckily, you can cut out coffee and still have an excuse for leaving your desk every few hours to boil the kettle, by switching over to green tea. Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks on earth, and can help with everything from weight loss to preventing cancer. Plus, it improves your reaction time, working memory, and accuracy… oh, and decreases mental fatigue. Coffee who?
Make Your Last-Thing Organising Your First-Thing
Be honest, how productive are you really at 5 pm? If you’re like most people, by the end of the day your mind will be more on your dinner plans than your job.
Rather than chastising yourself, bow to the inevitable and put aside your projects for the last hour of the day. Instead, use this time for low brain-power tasks and getting organised for the next working day. Write tomorrow’s To-Do list, highlighting the next day’s priorities. Clear your inbox, ensuring any emails that are easy to deal with now are dealt with. Tidy up your desk; dirty and cluttered workspaces harm your productivity.
When you rock up the next morning, fresh and ready to go, this evening prep will mean you can plunge straight into your work, making the most of those high-energy levels.
Beth Leslie writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency specialising in matching candidates to their dream internship. Check out their graduate jobs listings for roles. Or; if you’re looking to hire an intern, have a look at their innovative Video CVs.