These Hacks Will Make Your Work Day A Breeze

Workin' Girl

I can't remember who told me what I'm about to say, but I laughed when they said it and I'm chuckling now as I recall it—"Two things that you should do smart and not hard is f—k and work." As far as the work thing goes, there's research that echoes this very point (as far as sex goes, we'll have to touch on that at another time—LOL).

Did you know that, according to a Gallup poll, over half of us work more than 50 hours a week? Did you also know that once we reach that amount, productivity significantly slips and, when we don't take a full day off every week, it works against our job performance? (Check out "What to Do When You Don't Know How to Chill Out"). All of this serves as great reminders that if you're pushing yourself to do more than eight-hour work days, you should really think long and hard about if it's truly benefitting you—and whatever you're working on—or not.

While we're on this topic, as far as overall productivity goes, if you know you're not making the absolute most out of the time you have at work, not only will the following 10 tips help you to get more done, they will also help you to "work smart" in the process too. 'Cause really, why make work harder than it actually has to be?

1.Sing While You’re in the Shower


Does this sound crazy? Maybe, but how about you try it first and then report back? Word on the street is that people who start off their day by singing a tune or two while they're washing up end up having more energy and feeling more positive than coffee drinkers do. A part of the reason is because singing takes us back to when our parents sang us lullabies as babies (it warms our hearts). Another reason is it results in what is known as "higher immune competence" which basically means it strengthens our immune systems.

So, if you've been singing in the shower, sing louder. If you've been too embarrassed to, give it a shot. You never know just how much it could impact the start of your day for the better.

2.Write a One Paragraph Weekly Mission Statement

If you don't have a personal and professional mission statement either in your journal or hanging up somewhere in your home office, there's no time like the present to put one together. Creating a mission statement is a great way to figure out what you want in life and then stay focused until you get it.

If you are already ahead of the game and you've got one jotted down somewhere, take things up a notch by writing a shorter version of one every Sunday or Monday. It doesn't have to be anything deep or dramatic. Just a few lines about what you want to accomplish and what you feel you deserve over the next 5-7 days when it comes to your professional life.

On the days when you're feeling overwhelmed, you just might be surprised by how quickly your paragraph-long mission statement can calm and center you.

3.Download the Self-Control App


Surely, I'm not the only one who's surprised by this. I recently read that 40 percent of people admit that they spend an hour a week doing things at the office that are totally non-work-related; 30 percent said they wasted two hours and 21 percent owned up to wasting five or more. Unless you have your own office, it's kind of difficult to be on personal calls all day long. Oh, but it's super easy to be surfing the 'net for hours on end.

If you know that gossip blogs, new channels or YouTube videos are what's got you distracted, you might want to download the Self-Control app. It's an app that will literally block your access to certain websites for a certain period of time so that you can focus on other things. Like your job.

4.Hide Your Email Inbox

Speaking of apps that help to keep you on task, another cool one is the Inbox When Ready app. If you Google ways to save time at work, one of the things that most articles are going to mention is you should limit the amount of time that you spend checking your inbox(es).

For the most part, it's a good idea to check it in the morning, at lunch and about 15 minutes before calling it a day. But if you know that you don't have the self-control to only look 2-3 times, this app will help you out. What it basically does is hide your inbox for a certain amount of time. That way, you won't be distracted by every message that comes in throughout the day. This alone, could result in you gaining an extra 1-2 hours (at least) a week of productivity, easily.

5.Turn Off Your Notifications


Guess how many times, on average, people check their phones on a daily basis? Every freakin' 12 minutes! That roughly equates to 80 times a day. Aside from how much checking your phone serves as a distraction, based on the notification that pops up, that can also deter you from what needs to be done at your desk.

You can probably think of at least two dozen things on your phone that are more interesting than the tasks that are waiting for you. But are any of those things paying your rent? Checkmate. Yeah, do yourself, and your back account, a favor and either set your notifications on vibrate or (even better) silent. And put your phone in your purse or desk drawer so that you won't be tempted.

6.Do the Hardest Things—First.

I work from home. For so many reasons, and on so many levels, it's awesome. But if there's one thing that I sometimes struggle with, it's putting off the thing that I don't want to do for as long as possible. This isn't smart for a few reasons. One, even if I procrastinate, the weight of the project, assignment or task is ever-looming over me. Two, if I start off dragging, it's easy to "keep that same energy" with other items on my to-do list. Three, by the time I do get around to it, it's even harder to get done because I'm already worn out from doing other stuff.

That's why it really is best to do the hardest things you've got on your plate first. Once that is completed, you'll feel like you've already accomplished a lot and that will make knocking out everything else a breeze.

7.Hold Meetings While Standing Up


I can't recall where I read this at the moment, but it was such a good tip that it stayed with me. A CEO somewhere said that he prefers to hold meetings with everyone standing up. It adds a sense of urgency to them and, it also prevents everyone from getting too comfortable (and distracted) like they would if they were sitting down. Plus, who wants to stand for 30 minutes straight? 15-20 minutes tends to be our limit which is the CEO's point. Get in, get out. Next.

While I'm on this topic, if you've been looking for a great note-taking app, try Cogi. Long story short, it's a recording app that has the ability to highlight the important points of what was said in a meeting so you don't have to worry about jotting everything down and/or missing the "good" parts.

8.Take Your Breaks (Away from Your Desk)

I've got a girlfriend who works through her breaks and lunches every single day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. She claims she does it so that she can get more work done, but whenever I check in with her, she's drained and exasperated.

It's not healthy to do anything for too long without taking a break from it, work included. If you want to have more energy, a fresh perspective and the ability to find your second wind so that you can be more productive during the last half of the day, take your breaks. Away from your desk, outside if you can. The fresh air and sunlight will do you a world of good and make a huge difference.

9.Make a Plan for the Following Day


If one of the reasons why you hate the first 2-3 hours of almost every work day is because you're always feeling pressured or rushed, which leads you to feeling overwhelmed, something that you can do to prevent that from happening in the future is make a plan for your following day during the last 15-20 minutes of the present day. The plan should consist of putting down what you need to do in the order of most important (or hardest) to least important, along with any goals that you want to achieve. That way, as soon as you walk in the following morning, your day will already be nice and organized.

Speaking of organized, if Post-it Notes aren't gonna quite cut it, Any.do is an app that easily creates lists and reminders for you. You can even sync your info with others if you need to. That way, your co-worker will know what time you'll be meeting with them and your significant other will know who's supposed to be picking up dinner on the way home.

10. Give Yourself Something to Look Forward To

Reward is such a great word. It means "something given or received in return or recompense for service, merit, hardship, etc." Depending on the kind of day or week you've had, you might deserve something based on the service you gave or the hardship that you endured. But make no mistake about it, you definitely should do something special for yourself for a job well done.

If you start off each week with a "reward plan" in place, not only will it get you through those ho-hum moments (like hump day), it will also give you something to look forward to. It can also keep you on task too. So, every Sunday night, plan to reward yourself for anything from showing up 10 minutes early every day to having that much-needed chat with your boss.

Just knowing that a spa day or your favorite bottle of wine is awaiting you at the end of the week is something else that will make each and every work day that much easier.

Featured image by Getty Images

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

10 Bonafide Hacks To Add More Time To Your Day

5 Habits You Need To Delete From Your Life To Increase Productivity

33 Morning Rituals To Start Your Day

Creating A Morning Ritual Can Transform Your Days

The more Saweetie prioritizes her mental health, the more gems she drops in the process. The “Icy Chain” rapper has been open in the past about her mental health struggles due to being overworked and not properly taking care of herself. After having a few mental breakdowns, she has been on a mission to put her health first and focus on self-care.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

Black women have been redefining what wellness looks like since the beginning of time. (I even have a real-life, sassy, still-walking-signifying-driving-gardening example of this via my own 92-year-old Granny, who is the epitome of manifestation and self-preservation, as she has always defined wellness on her own terms.) We continue to shift the narrative, especially when it comes to what "wellness" actually means as a Black woman in a world where it can be so hard to simply exist in fullness.

Keep reading...Show less

We all know what it is to love, be loved, or be in love – or at least we think we do. But what would you say if I were to tell you that so much of the love that you thought you’d been in was actually a little thing called limerence? No, it doesn’t sound as romantic – and it’s not – unless you’re into the whole Obsessed-type of love. But one might say at least one side of that dynamic might be…thrilling.

Keep reading...Show less

Idris Elba and Sabrina Dhowre Elba are gearing up for the second season of their podcast Coupledom where they interview partners in business and/or romance. The stunning couple has been married for three years but they have been together for a total of six years. During that time, they have developed many partnerships but quickly learned that working together isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Keep reading...Show less

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

Exclusive Interviews

Exclusive: Jay Ellis Shares ‘Full-Circle’ Moment With His Parents & His Self-Care Ritual

Staying grounded is one of the actor's biggest priorities.

Latest Posts