As we move into spring and the weather finally starts to come around, it鈥檚 easy to get distracted from work. But before the slow summer hits, spring can be very busy for some businesses, which is why you need to rev up your productivity聽life hack聽search.聽Luckily, we looked far and wide for some of the most surprising productivity tips to help you keep up at work.


1. Keep making lists, but not in the same way.聽When you make a list, you probably go from top to bottom, or maybe you start sticking things at the top because you want to get them done first 鈥 wrong!聽Ben Schott, author of Schott鈥檚 Original Miscellany, a compendium of lists, told Real Simple: 鈥淰arying the format can make a list far more useful. Start in the center of a page and write items in spatial relation to one another, so that you create clouds of related tasks; draw a Venn diagram for party invitees so you can note how people will interact. During the 18th century, sailors in the British navy would sign petitions of grievance in a circle so that ringleaders could not be identified.鈥

2. Smell flowers when you get up.聽Don鈥檛 just look at your cereal bowl when you first wake up. You need some beautiful colors in those retinas.聽Research suggests that exposure to bright colors in the early morning聽lifts your spirits聽and energy.

3. Take a walk in a park.聽In 2009,聽University of Michigan researchers聽found that subjects who strolled through a nature setting saw a 20 percent improvement in attention and focus tests. Taking in the sights and sounds of nature appears to be especially beneficial for our minds. But people who don鈥檛 live in the middle of a nature preserve are not completely screwed, according to the researchers. A park or a slightly quieter street with a few trees can work, or even looking at potted plants may help your concentration.


4. Laugh a lot.聽A Robert Half聽International survey, for instance, found that 91 percent of executives believe a sense of humor is important for career advancement, while 84 percent feel that people with a good sense of humor do a better job. So break out the Louis C.K. YouTube videos and laugh a little.

5. Work at 4am.聽Okay, this one sounds a little weird, but some people swear by it. It鈥檚 really just the getting up part that鈥檚 hard, but once you鈥檙e up, you have a lot of peace and quiet while the rest of the world is sleeping. You may be surprised by how productive you can be. Hey, if the cast of The Today Show聽can do it, then you definitely can.

6. Buy one color of work socks or shoes.聽Try to limit the amount of time you spend on menial decisions, like choosing an outfit. Make it a little easier and give yourself fewer choices. You can also do this with meals. Yes, it鈥檚 a little boring, but if you find something you like to eat, stick with it.

7. Break up your day into periods of time focused on different tasks. Daniel J. Levitin of The New York Times suggests breaking up your day into projects if you want to be both productive and creative. He wrote, 鈥淚f you want to be more productive and creative, and to have more energy, the science dictates that you should partition your day into project periods. Your social networking should be done during a designated time, not as constant interruptions to your day.

Email too should be done at designated times. An email that you know is sitting there, unread, may sap attentional resources as your brain keeps thinking about it, distracting you from what you鈥檙e doing. What might be in it? Who鈥檚 it from? Is it good news or bad news? It鈥檚 better to leave your email program聽off聽than to hear that constant ping and know that you鈥檙e ignoring messages.鈥


8. Turn up the heat.聽As we all know, the temperature in our office is never quite right. In the summer we鈥檙e too cold and in the winter we鈥檙e too warm. Well, it turns out being warmer is probably better when it comes to productivity. Studies find聽that when people feel physically cold, they feel more alone, and then perceive others to be less caring and generous (i.e. cold). But when we鈥檙e warmer, we feel we have more in common with others and act friendlier, which can in turn help our productivity.

9. Don鈥檛 answer all your emails.聽Super productive people聽don鈥檛 check their email every five minutes. They may only do it a few times a day. Many of them don鈥檛 even turn on notifications. Think how much work you could get done if you weren鈥檛 being interrupted by pings and buzzes every other second.

10. Use a notebook.聽Yes,聽there are about a million apps for making to do lists and writing or recording all your notes, but never forget about the simplicity and effectiveness of a simple notebook. Mogul Richard Branson takes one with him wherever he goes.

What鈥檚 your favorite productivity tip? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!

This post was perviously published on Levo League by聽Meredith Lepore. Photos via Getty.