10 (more) ways to be productive at work

Staying productive and energized at work can be a challenge, but these 10 tips can help you stay at the top of your game and power through that to-do list.

productivity boosts

10 (more) ways to be productive at work

Staying energized, focused and productive at work can be a challenge, especially during that mid-afternoon slump. You know the one - the 2 p.m. crash that not even a Starbucks run or a hastily chugged Red Bull energy drink can drag you out of. Here, our experts offer 10 more easy (and less caffeinated) ways to head off the slump and keep you energized and productive throughout your workday.

Commit to work-life balance

Commit to work-life balance

There's nothing wrong with answering a few emails, or handling a quick task or two outside of normal business hours, but beware; that habit can quickly take over, if you let it. To avoid burnout, you have to maintain strong boundaries between your work and your home life so you can approach both with a fresh, energetic perspective, says Tim Eisenhauer, president of intranet and collaboration software company Axero Solutions. "Everyone's got a smartphone in their pocket nowadays, and that means work can easily intrude on other aspects of your life. This is a recipe for disaster, and can quickly result in burnout. No matter how busy you are, carve out time to unplug, relax, and do the things you enjoy. Your brain will thank you," he says.

Make the Most of Meetings

Make the Most of Meetings

Meetings are unavoidable, but you can and should make sure they're effective, efficient and productive. "Meetings rarely result in actionable work. Workers spend on average six to seven hours per week in meetings and are then forced to do the real work they were hired to do on the margins of their day. This leads to burnout, which leads to retention and attrition issues.

You're not getting the best work out of your talent," says Carson Tate, the founder and principal of Working Simply, a management consultancy, and the author of "Work Simply."

To avoid this, keep meetings short and focused. Show up on time, stick to a pre-set agenda, and outline action items to address with other participants so that your whole day isn't disrupted, Axero's Eisenhauer says.

Focus on collaboration

Focus on collaboration

You know all those fancy collaboration tools and technology your company's invested in? Use them. From video chat to real-time messaging to document-sharing, even colleagues separated by geography can work together efficiently. And if your colleagues and co-workers are in the same office, make sure you're taking advantage of their proximity to bounce ideas off each other, spitball new projects and approaches over lunch or coffee, or just swing by for a (short) chat.

"Collaboration and cooperation between colleagues and coworkers can help increase productivity at work. When people come up with great ideas together, amazing things happen. And thanks to social intranet software, people on opposite sides of the globe can work together on all kinds of projects, regardless of the time of day," Eisenhauer says.

Improve communication standards

Improve communication standards

Collaboration can't happen effectively unless strong communication standards are in place. Employees must be able to contact each other quickly and efficiently throughout the day, without wasted time and lost productivity. Whether you're using email, chat or social intranet software to communicate, streamlining this area of the work week is vital to you and your organization, Eisenhauer says.

Focus on output

Focus on output

Instead of focusing on putting in your forty hours, emphasize your achievements and your production -- your outcomes, says Eisenhauer. "For both managers and employees, this requires rethinking your view of the work week. It's not about how many hours you work, but rather the amount of things you actually get done. You can easily measure productivity by comparing actual versus intended accomplishments," he says.

Set short- and long-term goals

Set short- and long-term goals

In addition to daily and weekly goals, setting long-term goals can help you achieve and maintain productivity, says Eisenhauer. "Setting and striving towards long-term goals helps you continue to grow, personally and professionally, and that can keep you motivated and energized. If you know you struggle to stay organized or get distracted easily by your colleagues, then you can work to improve those things over time. A few months down the road, you will see marked productivity gains," he says.

Phone it in

Phone it in

For all the myriad of ways collaboration technology has helped us communicate and be more efficient at work, there are times when the good, old-fashioned telephone is better-suited to the task at hand. "Sometimes waiting for an email to be returned can take all day or even longer. This delay clearly cuts into productivity at work, yet many people are averse to picking up the phone! It's time to get over this fear. A phone call can save hours of waiting, and keep your workday on track," Eisenhauer says.

Pay attention to creative 'sparks'

Pay attention to creative 'sparks'

Creative "sparks" -- those innovative, sometimes off-the-wall ideas that pop into your head unbidden -- should be preserved and treasured, as they can lead to ideas and solutions that could someday become benchmark products and services, says Eisenhauer. Keep a notepad and a pen with you, or a blank document open on your computer, or even take a voice memo to ensure these sparks aren't lost or forgotten. But don't get sidetracked; "If a good idea comes along, jot it down and then return to your previous task. You can revisit your idea once you have some spare time," he says.

Take time for reflection

Take time for reflection

That local barbeque shop around the corner may sound good, but after a heavy, rich and greasy pulled pork sandwich, you might feel too full to get things done (aka "food coma"). But starving yourself isn't healthy, either, says Eisenhauer. "Your brain needs nutrients to keep working, so not eating enough can also have a negative effect. Eating light and snacking often at work can keep your metabolism, and mental energy, rolling, right along with your productivity," he says.

Take time for reflection

Take time for reflection

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to increase your productivity at work is to take time to reflect on each day's or week's accomplishments. Focus on successes and setbacks, Eisenhauer says. "What do you feel you accomplished? Are there things you'd do differently next time? Answers to these questions can help your career growth and personal progress," he says. Written reflection is even more effective, as it gives you a physical record to look back on in the future. Regardless, don't do yourself the disservice of going through each day on autopilot -- reflect on your progress whenever possible, he says.

Still feeling sluggish? Check out 12 other tips to boosting your productivity here.