Posted on by Matt (Admin)

Sometimes, its hard to get into the swing of being productive, setting yourself targets you can achieve, and finishing a task. Should you be working on something right now? Are you instead procrastinating by looking at how to be productive? In which case, we hope that this will help you with our selection of tips and tricks.

1. Keep your desk tidy.
A clean desk keeps you free of distractions and less to fiddle about with, so that you can focus entirely on your work. Not only does it offer less distractions, but it allows you to focus on colours easily, it may sound strange, but research by Science Daily shows certain colours benefit you. Blue helps to increase creative whilst red allows you to focus on the finer details.

Speaking of keeping things tidy, keep your computer desktop clutter-free and well organised, you'll be able to find things far easier.

2. (10+2)*5
No, this is not a quiz, but a productivity hack by Merlin Mann. Throughout an hour, you should do 10 minutes of work, with a 2 minute break, which fits 5 times into an hour. This will require strict timing best backed with a stopwatch or app to ensure you keep to this schedule, after a while take out the timer and go off your own natural pattern, you will often find yourself working through the breaks.

3. De-Tech your desk
Okay, this may be a hard one to do, especially if you're working at a computer or some form of electronic device, but find a way to minimise distractions. Try to keep your mobile phone away from your desk, the lure of Tweets, Facebook notifications and more can disrupt your work flow ever so easily and break concentration. There are apps and add-ons that can block you from distracting websites for a certain period of time that you set, which is great for those who work from home and know they can't resist 'just one more video'.

4. Inspiration boards
Create yourself a board in which you can put quotes, pictures, what you aim to achieve or visit and take inspiration from it all. Everyone's boards will be different and add a unique touch to the office. Chalkboards and white boards are great for this as you can put reminders or great quotes on there.

5. Drinks and nibbles? READY!
We all know the old problem of being stuck and decide to procrastinate by grabbing food. Some of us will grab a snack, others will go ahead and start cooking a 3 course meal. 
Sure, the kitchen or pantry is only a few seconds away, but by the time you've gotten in, prepped your snack and back out, you could have wasted a good five minutes. Prepare you snacks and drinks in advance and keep them to hand. We have seen a few folks who have a dedicated snack drawer in their desk (mine is filled with about 14 varieties of tea...).

6. The 2 / 5 Minute rule
A simple one, but very effective. If something takes you 2/5 minutes to do, do it straight away, you'll be surprised how quickly you'll clean your to-do list up with this. Equally, if you don't do it, you'll be surprised at how long tidying up all those little tasks in one go will take.

We cannot stress this one enough. When you're dehydrated, your brain is too, and that will affect your focus. Keep drinking water throughout the day to help you keep focused on the task at hand.

8. TED Talks
TED offer some amazing talks about a wide variety of subjects including productivity covering aspects such as: stress management, creativity, and how to work smarter. More of which can be found at Ted Productivity

9. A change of scenery
If you are able to work from a laptop or tablet, take your work on the move and spend time time out of the office. Heading out to a cafe can help increase productivity by being in a new space, and possibly being surrounded by other creative folks doing the same. Plus, who doesn't enjoy a nice cuppa and watching the world go by the window as they work?

10. Free time
Make the most of your days off, or weekends, however your schedule permits and take the time to unwind. Step away from the e-mails, and enjoy your day(s) off to avoid any burnout and overworking yourself so you can return to work refreshed and eager to go.