Helpful tips for being more positive & efficient at work

If you sit at a desk all day you inevitably find yourself struggling to keep your eyes open. Maybe not every day, and perhaps not for long periods of time, but you’ve had those moments where you feel like your energy has just left the building. It’s a concern – what if someone sees you appear to be nodding off?

Young exhausted man is lying on the desk in office

Or maybe you’ve reached the point where you are simply drowsy and unmotivated on a perpetual basis. If you recognize that it’s a problem and you don’t take it lightly, you’re on the right track to resolving the issue. Because it’s not that you have a bad attitude – we all know that one co-worker that just doesn’t care. They don’t want to be there. And that’s cool – that’s what works for them, it’s not your place to judge. But when it affects overall morale, that’s when you hope some action is taken.

And though you don’t have control over your environment, you do have control of your own destiny. You can improve your motivation; you can become more focused. You don’t need to overdose on caffeine (like so many resort to), simply try to implement new habits into your routine.


You’ve heard the phrase “The early bird gets the worm” well, what if it was changed it to, “The early bird watches TV”? You’d probably respond, “Wha…?” Check this out – by waking up a little earlier than necessary for work, you can enjoy some free time, which will help you ease into and adjust to the new day. Watch TV, surf the web, you’ll notice a big difference in how you feel when you’re not waking up late and racing to make it to work on time. Instead you’re relaxed and good to go.


A common job aspect people dislike is that there are certain tasks that they hate, or even resent. The bottom line is – and you know this – you gotta do it. It’s part of the job and complaining isn’t productive. But how about this, what if you did what was needed to get those tasks out of the way? Tackle ‘em first and be done with them. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and relief. Afterwards, you can chill at the water cooler during your ten and look forward to a reasonably stress-free rest of the day.

Now some tasks don’t have to be hated to be off-putting. The larger chores assigned can be intimidating and make us feel helpless. So, here is what you do – work up to it. You likely have smaller, less time-consuming things to do anyway. When you come into work, start slow on your less demanding tasks, and allow your body and mind to gear up and tackle those big jobs when you’re ready.  

meetingsAnother method of improving your workplace vitality is to do your part to minimize the length of meetings. If you have a boss who calls for them daily only to go off topic indefinitely, see if you can make him realize the result of this chatter – the work isn’t getting done. When he’s clearly not touching on work-related matters, or he’s repeating a point for the umpteenth time, ask if you may be excused. Just say, “I understand the point here. I’ve got to get back to work”, he may appreciate it.

Naturally, you’ll need to be the judge of the personality of your boss. If he seems bent on having everyone indulge him as he rambles on, just go with the flow. The problem he ignores is the interruption of the rhythm of productiveness. While some may enjoy the break of an extended meeting, it may serve to suck the energy out of others. If the latter is you, use your intuition. Do whatever is in your best interest. And yes, be ‘one of the guys’ if necessary.


Of course, you are entitled to breaks. Take them. The structure may not be ideal. Typically you have a ten minute break in the morning, an hour for lunch, and a ten thereafter. But what if you also had breaks in your head? What I mean is, you can compartmentalize your time – focus on a task uninterrupted for 25 minutes then give yourself a 5 minute mental break. Concentrate on something else during that time, or nothing at all. Ideally, this will serve to re energize you.

Also, is it possible that you are taken advantage of? I don’t mean in a big ‘file a lawsuit’ way, but are you so friendly that you can’t say “no” to anyone? The fact is, if you are asked to help out with matters outside of your own work it affects your personal productivity. It’s okay to say “no” from time to time. There’s just no sense in increasing your own workload when it’s not necessary. Let others be responsible for their own. Just as everybody else is doing, you need to look out for yourself.


I mentioned earlier how difficult it can be to keep your eyes open if you are stuck at a desk all day, but that issue is compounded by the fact that you are also sitting! In fact, such lack of activity is harmful to your health. And the additional truth is that being at your desk all day also has a negative impact on your work. So what can you do? Take work away from your desk. Wander off, check your emails from your phone (if you are able to), open your laptop at Starbucks and work a little there. Walk around the building. Your mental and physical health will benefit from this practice!

Of course, I hope that you are not in a workplace that embodies the ‘work camp’ ethic – where you are scrutinized every time you leave your desk or look at your phone. If someone is paying attention to how often you use the bathroom, it’s likely not a healthy environment. Of course, you need the job, so find a way to best roll with the punches. It’s an unfortunate situation, so be registered with the job search engines – something better will come along! It’s often a sad truth that the lowest paying jobs expect the most of you.

Whichever your circumstance, implement the habits most applicable to you and you’ll find yourself a bit more refreshed – when it comes to work, “a little” goes a long way!



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