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Alan Hedge, an ergonomics professor at Cornell, suggests that workers try a combination of sitting, standing and walking to keep altering their body position and give their minds a break from work. A timed combination of sitting, standing and walking can help you work at your best. Where were you the last time you had a great idea? Your desk? Or was it when you were in the shower, while you were walking your dog or driving your kids to school?

Instead of powering through, consider intentionally taking a break from a large project for up to 10 hours. That will allow new ideas to marinate in your subconscious, causing your neurons to make new connections. Sleep is one of the most effective ways to take a long break, so try not to give it short shrift. Research shows that sleep allows our brains to make new and unexpected connections , leading to insights and breakthroughs — which explains why we so often have brilliant ideas during our morning shower.

Learn to identify the signs of mental fatigue, like reading the same sentence over and over websites or writing emails with no real goals or priorities in mind. Your body naturally wants to go to sleep about seven hours after waking, and this is amplified by the effects of digestion. Unfortunately, this biological reality collides with an economic one: Most offices frown on napping. To best increase your energy, it may be a good idea to drink a cup of coffee before your nap.

Research has shown that this method likely works because the short power nap helps clear the brain of the sleep-inducing compound adenosine. Caffeine, meanwhile, takes about 20 minutes to have its physiological effect — kicking in just as the napper is awakening. If a nap is out of the question, however, train yourself to quickly recognize the signs of the post-lunch dip: drowsiness and an inability to concentrate. Then, get up and walk around, talk to a colleague at another desk or work on something less demanding of your brain power until the sleepiness passes.

When we feel overwhelmed at work, our fight-or-flight response tends to come into play, leading us to take quick, shallow breaths. This sends less oxygen to the brain, causing us to become even more stressed and to think less clearly. Counteract the effects of stress by breathing more efficiently.


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Most people are vertical breathers, in that their shoulders move up when they inhale, according to Belisa Vranich, a clinical psychologist and breath instructor. Many people also breathe from their upper chest, whereas the biggest part of the lungs is in the middle of the body. Horizontal breathing may seem unnatural at first, but it is actually the way animals and small children breathe. Working with your body rather than against it, you will maximize the blood flow to your brain — and your mental capacity. When you feel stressed, you may start to lift your shoulders up toward your ears, clench your face or tense up all over.

Over time, these actions become so habitual that you become unaware of them. The purpose of good posture is to expand our bodies rather than to compress them. Good posture allows you to breathe more fully, prevent chronic pain and think more clearly. As you do your work, try to be aware of any excess tension you are holding in your body.

For example, you may tense up your hands far more than necessary when you type or use a mouse.

Ten Ways to Improve Team Efficiency and Productivity

If you start to feel any tension, try to stretch that area of your body. This exercise is a component of the Alexander Technique, a way of learning about how to rid your body of harmful tension. When you see people hunched forward in front of their screens, chances are they are end gaining. Good posture enables you to meet your work in the present moment, and therefore get it done more efficiently. Fact: Multitasking is an illusion. Research shows that people get more done if they concentrate on one task at a time. Switching frequently between tasks — or believing that you are actually doing more than one thing at once — will actually slow you down.

Among other things, this variety helps bring more blood to your brain, improving your cognition and therefore your productivity. Fact: It is important to take breaks throughout the workday. Even a five-minute walk around the office can boost your mood with no impact on your ability to focus. Getting enough rest and sleep can serve you better than working longer hours. Walking away from your work for a longer period — overnight, over the weekend or on vacation — gives your ideas a chance to marinate in your subconscious mind , allowing for new bursts of productivity when you return.

Myth: The secret to improving productivity is to find the right system and stick with it. Fact: Every person and every workday is different. While we may be able to develop new strategies and habits that work for us most of the time, our jobs and lives will always throw us curve balls that lead to less-than-perfect results. We need to accept this imperfect reality, forgive ourselves and try again tomorrow. Twitter: phylliskorkki. Three Basics of Productivity Use these principles to help guide you through your workday. But putting those differences aside, three overarching ideas apply to all our productivity tips: 1.

A Biological Impossibility Think you can get more done by juggling multiple tasks at the same time? More Errors and Less Creativity When you multitask, you tend to make more mistakes. How to Monotask To the best of your ability, set up a work environment that encourages the performing of one task at a time.

Here are a few small changes you can make: Remove temptation: Actively resist the urge to check unrelated social media while you are working on a task. April 29, How to Stop Time September 26, Be Accountable To combat procrastination, find an accountability partner. Stay on Track To-do lists work to keep you accountable because they help you stay on the path to getting your most important work done — if you use them effectively, that is.

To-Do List Downsides Because our primal mind craves distraction, the classic to-do list can prevent interruptions from taking over your day. List Keepers Some people like to keep their lists on paper — making emphatic and satisfying checkmarks whenever they complete a task. Remember the Milk: This one includes a feature that allow users to share tasks with others, like coworkers and family members.

Evernote: This note-taking app allows you to create to-do lists in the form of personal notebooks.


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    Your email address Sign Up. For Computer Users Everyone As much as they speed up the pace of work, computers can slow things down, too. Know Your Computer Not understanding the capabilities of your computer can be a serious hindrance to your productivity. Take Control of Your Inbox Do you find yourself constantly stopping to check your email? Here are a few techniques that can help make your email work for you: Set aside dedicated times every day to process email.

    This could be a few times a day or five minutes every hour, Ms. Morgenstern, the time management expert said. Divide email into groups.


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    • As you scan your email, sort the messages into two groups: those requiring quick responses and those needing thoughtful ones. If emails are going to require a few days of thought, buy yourself some time by acknowledging receipt that day and saying you will respond later. Make it a point to follow through. Try to identify the emails you are actively avoiding.

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      Often there is an emotional component to emails you avoid, Ms. Instead of procrastinating on replying, you will likely save time by responding in person or on the phone, where your tone and personality will come through more readily, rather than trying to write the perfect diplomatic response in an email. Turn off notifications. Some email experts advise checking email only two or three times a day, but in many work environments this is not realistic — an all-important message from the boss or a client may need a quick response. But almost anything can wait for 20 minutes.

      So, turn off your email notifications for 20 to 30 minutes when you need to focus on something else. Get Help Spend a week or two identifying the email issues that consistently frustrate you or slow you down. Organize the Desk, and the Mind Follows June 22, September 16, How to Make Desk Work More Productive A timed combination of sitting, standing and walking can help you work at your best.

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      Sit for 20 minutes and work. Stand for eight minutes and work.

      Three Basics of Productivity

      Stop working and take a walk for two minutes. Take Long Breaks Where were you the last time you had a great idea? Fight Stress When we feel overwhelmed at work, our fight-or-flight response tends to come into play, leading us to take quick, shallow breaths.

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      How to Breathe Horizontally This technique can help you fight stress by taking deeper breaths. A leader should strive to follow through with everything that they agree to do Doyle, It also involves applying appropriate feedback and keeping promises Doyle, Leaders need to be able to accept changes and creatively problem-solve, as well as being open to suggestions and feedback Doyle, While these skills are explained in a workplace context, they can easily be applied to other leadership situations such as sports or community groups.

      Now that you have more clarity as to what leadership activities are, and what they are used for, let us look at a wide selection of activities. Effective leaders are aware that continuing professional and personal development is the key to ongoing success Higgins, As such, they recognize that leadership workshops are important Higgins, What activities can be used in such a workshop?

      Participants are provided with everyday items such as toothpicks, wooden blocks, uncooked pasta and so on. The task is to build the tallest possible free-standing structure from the materials provided. This activity is designed to encourage creative problem-solving and developing collaboration skills. Select four team members as volunteers. One team member plays the role of an employee who has missed meetings or been late to work in recent times. Each of the other three participants demonstrates a different style of leader to save time, nominate the particular personality trait.