6 behind-the-scenes hacks to transform your routine

By elena todorova
Editor Picks

You get to work most mornings wanting to create something great. Sure, you might be running a few minutes late, but who isn’t? Your enthusiasm for greatness wavers a bit when you notice the never-ending to-do list still waiting at your desk. You’ve been putting it off for weeks now, but you justify it—after all, nothing on there is too crucial, right? You just do whatever you can last minute and head off to meetings. Then you grab a rushed lunch, try to get more work done in between afternoon stand-ups, and head home through rush hour. Just another typical day.

But what if there were some simple behind-the-scenes hacks you could use to transform your everyday workday from bland and boring to productive and interesting? Read on to discover the changes you can make that will reap positive rewards for your work life every day.

To combat lateness… Make a gradual change. It’s really hard to break a habit of getting up at 6:30 by deciding to set an alarm for 5:00 one morning. A change that drastic will only leave you grumpy and groggy—and more likely than not, you’ll end up hitting snooze again and again. Instead, start setting your alarm back two minutes each morning until you work up to your goal time. And in the meantime, search out ways to optimize your morning routine to save some extra minutes here and there. Being at work on time is a huge part of feeling prepared and organized for the day ahead.

To conquer your to-do list… Apply the two-minute rule. Instead of constantly adding to your to-do list, do any task that takes two minutes or less immediately, as soon as it comes up. If you get an email that you should pick up a packet from HR by the end of the day, do it now. Don’t add it to your never-ending list. You’ll be surprised how many tasks you accomplish when you resolve to finish quick ones as soon as they come up.

To make the most of your meetings… Drink more water. How often do you find yourself thinking meetings are pointless or boring? If you’re like most Americans, probably a lot—nearly half of employees report they’d rather do a number of other unpleasant activities (going to the DMV, watching paint dry, and more) than sit through a meeting. But while you can’t change Ben’s long-winded progress reports or Jane’s chronic lateness, you can shift your attitude. Make hydration a priority at work, because dehydration leads to irritability, headaches, and exhaustion—none of which you want consuming your workday, or making meetings worse.

To enjoy your lunch… Step away from your desk. Do your best to truly unplug and be mindful as you eat. Fast Company reports that although only “one in five office workers reports taking an actual lunch break away from their desk…taking a break—even for 15 to 20 minutes—is a proven way to sustain concentration and energy levels throughout the day.” So distancing yourself from your work is a key way to craft a better lunch break and afternoon.

To have more fun at work… Socialize more. Having good friends at work—and spending time with them—is linked to a long list of benefits. Not only will you have a better day if you grab a quick coffee with a coworker, but you’ll be better positioned to collaborate and contribute, too. Having more fun and being a better team player? It’s a win-win.

To head home before rush hour… Implement the rule of three. Measure your productivity in a different way, and you may just get to head home early. At the start of every day, jot down three outcomes you want to accomplish before you leave. Then, when you finish your three objectives, give yourself permission to head home. It’s a mindset reframe that will make a difference in your work and home life, too.

Use this list of hacks to make small changes with huge payoffs for your routine, and your workday will flow better and easier. You’ll be more productive, patient, and inspired—and you’ll deliver more of the great work only you can achieve.

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By elena todorova

As a recent college grad, Elena brings a fresh perspective to employee appreciation. She is a writer, a meticulous grammar fiend, and a content sleuth who believes in the power of pith. Having recently discovered the benefits of research-backed, purposeful recognition, she firmly believes that workplace generational differences needn’t create a schism, after all.