8 workplace hacks to streamline your day

Elle Kaplan, Contributor
Colleen Hayes | NBC

Paraphrasing the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, author Will Durant wrote, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit." In other words, the little things add up.

Take the initiative to modify and upgrade your habits. You will increase your productivity, smooth out your work process, and keep yourself motivated with these eight workplace hacks.

1. Email smarter

Make it a habit to enter the recipient address last. That way, you won't be tempted to send an important work email before you've given it a complete look over.

Also, Gmail allows you to delay your email after you've hit the "send" button – it will simply wait for your chosen duration of time before delivering your message. This can be a real lifesaver if you are in a rush or write something uncharacteristic in the heat of the moment.

2. Rest your eyes

Follow the simple 20-20-20 rule to reduce the eye strain that results from staring at a computer screen. Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at some thing 20 feet away. Not only will you be giving your eyes some much deserved rest and reducing the chance of a headache, but you'll be giving yourself a few moments to refresh your mind.

3 email tips that can boost your chances of getting a response
3 email tips that can boost your chances of getting a response

3. Maintain a clear workspace

The Journal of Neuroscience published a 2011 study that found that multiple stimuli are taxing for your brain. While some studies have defended messy desks as inspiration for creativity, our desks are often just filled with things that are obsolete or inessential to our current work.

Revisit your filing system and let your desk be a reflection of your mind: clear and focused.

4. Stock up on healthy snacks

Fruits, nuts, and energy bars are just a few healthy snacks that you can turn to when you find your energy level dropping or mood darkening. Take a few options into the office at the beginning of the week.

Furthermore, if you're a business owner, take note of a study that found that work happiness shot up 10 percent when complimentary snacks were included, though only a small percentage of workers actually took advantage of the perk.

5. Delegate

Productivity is not always a solo mission. The more tasks you've intelligently delegated, the better off you'll be.

Don't do a specific job simply because you're the only one who knows how to do it. If you can teach someone else or even delegate that teaching, you'll be helping yourself and your team in the long run. You'll also be freeing yourself to take on new, less familiar challenges.

6. Be comfortable

Cushions for back support, wrist rests and any number of ergonomic products (chairs, keyboards, mice) are huge helps in the office. This is not a category in which to cut corners, whether it's for you or your employees. Health and happiness: What could be more important?

Why some white men feel excluded in the workplace, according to an EY study
Why some white men feel excluded in the workplace, according to an EY study

7. Ask questions

It's often impossible to solve problems without asking the right questions. These can be questions you ask someone you trust, an expert in a specific field or simply yourself. Start your workday off with a little self-inquiry. "What can I accomplish today that will have the biggest impact on my business?" "Who can I talk to today to help overcome the obstacle at hand?"

Good questions prepare your mind have a clear intent and a resourceful outlook.

8. Know your colors

The intersection of psychology and the workplace has led to many fascinating discoveries. Sally Augustin, Ph.D., is an environmental scientist with a specialization in color theory. Though we all have personal associations with color, most people relate colors to certain specific qualities. For instance, we usually associate green with growth and creativity, while orange makes us assume good value (with Home Depot as a prime example).

Consider having your office painted to positively influence your employees' mentalities and moods or use color in your own desk or office to give yourself some inspiration.


Bringing positive intent into your workplace can make all the difference. Make your office a place that you and others look forward to being in and cultivate smart habits. Improve your environment one step at a time.

Elle Kaplan is the founder and CEO of LexION Capital, a fiduciary wealth management firm in New York City serving high-net-worth individuals. She is also the chief investment officer and founder of LexION Alpha.

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