There aren't many who would disagree with the sentiment that the pandemic took everything to do with work and turned it upside down and inside out. While some of the changes have been amazing - more flexibility to work from home, a much more realistic attitude toward people taking sick days, more focus on mental health and support - it’s undeniable that big shifts can be a blow to your concentration and energy levels.
Many are still trying to find equilibrium and access our pre-pandemic levels of focus and energy during working hours. Here, we look at the legitimately helpful things you can do to be happier at work, and give your energy reserves a bit of a boost.
Respect your flow
Okay that sounds a little flakey but “flow” is actually a recognized state of mind where we feel in total pursuit of what we’re doing, are executing tasks effortlessly, and achieving the peak of our performance. It was discovered by researchers at the University of Chicago, and is something you can work on to strengthen your ability to concentrate.
The best way to get in the flow state is to get more excited about the task at hand and focus all your energy on working on this single thing. Before you begin, visualize the absolute best outcome for that piece of work and all the positive effects it will have; like praise from your boss, a clean work slate or even just something you can really be proud of.
Know when to hit refresh
Whether you’re clocking hours from home or the office, pacing yourself properly helps keep you physically able to do your job well throughout the day. You’ve heard it a thousand times but we’re here to make it a thousand and one; get up, walk around, get outside if you can. This will get your blood moving, help prevent eye strain, and cognitively it helps you reset between tasks.
Anyone for a cup of tea?
Breaks are also the perfect excuse to go and make a cup of tea. Bel Charlesworth, the Senior Herbal Advisor for Twinings (could that possibly be the dreamiest job ever?) says, “Staying well-hydrated and a gentle lift of caffeine can be helpful in maintaining our focus and concentration as well as energy levels throughout the day.”
“Twinings® Superblends™ Energy+ tea, a fresh and fruity blend of Green tea, helps you do both. Green tea contains good amounts of L-theanine, an amino acid useful in calming the mind, which helps balance out any over-stimulating effects of caffeine. The blend also contains Vitamin B6 to help support our nervous system and energy levels during busy times, and the apple and zingy orange flavouring helps keep your taste buds happy throughout the day.”
She knows of what she speaks, as the company’s Senior Herbal Advisor, Bel provides expert herbal knowledge and training throughout the development of Twinings products so that, “Everyone has a good knowledge of the herbs we use in our products and the benefits they can deliver.”
Team work makes the dream work
Knowing when you’re overloaded, and need a few less points on your to-do list, is probably the most important lesson you’ll learn in your working life. Waiting for your manager to notice your bulging workload or hoping a colleague will offer to lend a hand, is a fast track to feeling resentful and distracted. Be clear with your leader when you need support, explain your priorities to her in advance, and outline the other tasks that could potentially be picked up by someone else.
Also, make friends. Forming friendships at work can improve your physical and mental health. By interacting and collaborating on projects, asking for opinions or help when stuck on a task and helping others when you can, you guarantee a higher quality of work and have a much better time of things while you’re at it.