Productivity. Eek. Even the word can sometimes give us hives. It’s not easy to stay focused in this day and age of social media and other distractions—but unless you’re the recipient of a trust fund, you likely have to work. And even more than that, you probably work in an office (hello, other distractions). There are things you can do to improve your focus, though. Read on for tips on increasing your productivity in the office.

Hold Yourself Accountable

If you’ve got a boss that’s watching your movements and assessing your productivity, this might be a non-issue. But if you’re your own boss or otherwise engaged in the entrepreneurial way, you might need to hold yourself a bit more accountable. Set manageable and measureable goals for yourself. Have a partner do the same, and then report back to each other once you’ve each checked something off your list. If you don’t have some sort of system in place like this, it’s far too easy to flounder.

Shut Out Distractions

Remember that part about social media? Yeah, that. Unless you need it for your job, you probably want to keep from logging into your social media accounts while in the office. We’ve all had those experiences of falling down the rabbit hole, when “just a peek” on Facebook turns into viewing wedding photos of a cousin’s friend’s brother. Hey, it happens to everyone, but why tempt yourself?

Make Sure You’re Locked and Loaded

At the beginning of the day, make sure you’re ready to hit the ground running. If you’ve got the means, assign someone to be this person. Make sure everyone’s got supplies, toner cartridges are filled, and the printer is in working condition. Hell hath no fury like a person on a deadline that experiences constant paper jams!

Take Breaks

Don’t be a hero. Take the occasional break to clear your head. It improves productivity. It’s, like, science. If you have formal breaks, don’t skip them. If the breaks are up to you to take, just know that you will benefit from them. Working on a complex solution to a problem for an important client? Quit banging your head against the (hopefully proverbial) wall and take a walk. The fresh air could give you some perspective and ultimately save you time. Kids just got out of school? Check in with them to see how their day was. The smile this puts on your face will surely improve your productivity.

It’s just as important (if not more!) to take your vacation time. It’s not uncommon to hear about people who ultimately lose vacation time because they don’t take it. Perhaps they are afraid it will look bad to do so, but the truth is that’s why it’s there. It’s important to step away from your tasks at hand to avoid career burnout. You’ll return to your desk renewed and refreshed, ready to take on the biggest challenges.

Set Up Your Office For Maximum Focus

This doesn’t mean your desk has to be void of any pens or paper and that your furniture needs to be top of the line. It’s a very subjective thing. In fact, if you work better with a messy desk because you know where everything is, the more power to you. Once you’ve figured out a method to the productive madness, stick with it. Of course, if you’re having clients in your office, it goes without saying that you might need to tidy up a bit.

Do the Hard Stuff First

If you save all the challenging tasks for the end of the day, you will do poorly at whatever it is you’re doing. It’s just a fact, as your brain and body won’t be as fresh as they are at the beginning of the day. If you dread going through your emails, consider checking that off your list first. It’s important to get back to clients. Plus, the psychological boost you will get from doing something you least enjoy first is undeniable.

Finding a way to be laser-focused while at the office can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Follow these tips and you’ll be shocked at how much your productivity soars.

Note: This is a guest post from Alycia Coloma-Senior Content Creator at Purple Camel Media

About Author:

Alycia is blessed with four beautiful girls and enjoys DIY crafting with them in her free time. After receiving a Master’s in education from the University of Colorado, Alycia pursued a career as an educational consultant in order to help students and their parents plan for a better future. She’s a staunch advocate of continuing education, and believes that an insatiable hunger for knowledge is the key to better finances, a warm family, and an overall fulfilling life. Alycia finds it important to write about what she’s learned and express her opinions before a larger audience online. She leads by example, and teaches her readers that despite juggling four kids and a full time job as a single mom, it is possible to go back to school and achieve success. She enjoys finding new ways to work around tight budgets and offering tips for how to readjust and settle in a new situation—whether it’s collegiate life or a recent divorcée status. Her platform shares her wealth of information with the hope of empowering parents and students everywhere.