How to Achieve Optimal Performance at Work

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There is nothing more uninspiring than a growing pile of paperwork on your desk on a Monday morning.

On most days, accomplishing your day-to-day tasks can feel like an impossible assignment. You can’t seem to muster the mental stamina to perform exceptionally well at your job and with consistency at that.

Employees are often riddled with stress, making it difficult for them to perform at their best. According to a study, low productivity and plunging performance are attributed to stress from long shifts, heavy workload, and little to no work-life balance.

Although it cannot be completely eliminated, stress in the workplace is quite manageable. By incorporating these effective strategies in your work routines, you can reduce stress levels and harness a high-performance mentality in any task you choose to take on.

Rest in Between

Working nonstop is not tantamount to increased productivity. Let go of the notion that you have to commit long, uninterrupted hours of your day to finish a task on schedule.

Research suggests that giving yourself a few minutes of rest actually increases your levels of concentration and energy. Those mental pauses allow your mind to recuperate and recharge, decreasing the likelihood of a catastrophic burnout.

So take a step back from your workstation and give yourself 15 to 20 minutes of downtime. Immerse yourself in totally unrelated tasks, such as doodling on your notepad, rummaging through your makeup pouch, or catching up with your best friend via call, just to give your brain a little reboot.

The trick is to give yourself microbreaks at regular intervals. According to Readers’ Digest, 10% of extremely productive individuals adhere to this method as it accomplishes more work on a minimum timeframe.

Determine Your Capacity

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If you want to perform your job at the highest level, taking on numerous tasks all at once is a disastrous habit. Studies show that multitasking reduces productivity levels by an astounding 40%.

Shifting from one task to another is not exactly efficient as it makes it harder for you to regain focus, causing more delay than expected.

Our brain is not designed to work on different tasks simultaneously. Going beyond its normal capacity can only lead to more stress and anxiety. But why do we feel this added satisfaction when our daily to-do list is bursting at the seams?

That’s because adding to our pile of workload actually gives us a dopamine spike, making us feel a sense of fulfillment. That is why this habit is hard to shake off because we are led to believe that we are making significant progress. Multitasking paves the way for a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, tricking us into feeling accomplished despite the lack of demonstrated focus and productivity.

To maximize your cognitive performance, make it a habit to zero in on just one activity at a time. Give your brain the time it needs to dwell on a single task. Aside from improved performance, this will also reduce the chances of developing brain fog and weak memory.

Eliminate Distractions

Turn your office station into a conducive space for working. Get rid of possible sources of distraction such as squeaky door hinges, pesky Facebook notifications, extremely cold room temperature, and massive desk clutter.

Disruptive stimuli can cause a decline in performance and productivity. It negatively impacts one’s mental capacity to finish a task with speed and precision.

Research proves that constant distractions—even brief interruptions—increase the chances of performance errors in employees. Disrupting your brain in the middle of an intense cognitive process can lead to a string of mistakes and unnecessary stress.

Just like how construction health and safety experts reduce hazards in a worksite, you must also know how to assess your immediate environment and eliminate factors that might be detrimental to the quality of your performance.

In designing your workspace, remove disruptive elements and turn it into an environment that encourages an atmosphere of undivided attention.

If you want to avoid the mistake of mindlessly scrolling on Instagram for three hours, you might want to install screen time-regulating apps to control your social media access. If you want to drown out the background noise of your chatty co-workers, you can always tune in to a good indie record on Spotify. The next time you think you can’t minimize stress and maximize your performance, well think again.

At the end of the day, the main goal is to thrive in an environment that is designed to challenge you. If you understand this, then you are already one step ahead.

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