UMD’s Thriving Workplace Initiative is making the University of Maryland a great place to work by providing tools and support to foster engaged, inclusive and empowered faculty and staff across campus.

Each Monday, its Five to Thrive list offers five strategies crowdsourced from research, experts and our own UMD community to help your workplace thrive.

This week’s tips focus on productivity. If you’re suffering from mid-semester slump, try some of these tips to recharge and stay productive:

  • Keep composed with regular “desk overhauls.” At the end of a project, clear your desk (and your browser tabs) of anything you no longer need. Don’t start your next task until you’ve got a clean slate.
  • Breeze through your next big project by judiciously activating your “do not disturb.” Little distractions can easily stretch a 30-minute task into a three-hour ordeal. Pause your inbox (it’s that little button under “compose”) and let calls go to voicemail. Two or three times a day, batch your responses.
  • Boost your creativity by changing up the scenery. Studies show that getting out of your office and into an area where there is movement, action and even a chance to run into colleagues can spur new ideas and offer fresh perspectives.
  • If you find yourself mentally blocked, remember the advice of Henry Miller: When you can’t create, you can work. Clean off your desk or attack your inbox. Taking on projects that require minimal cognitive energy exercises different parts of the brain and allows your mind a much-needed break, while still being productive.
  • Ensure a less stressful day by forgoing the podcast, music or audiobook during your commute. Instead, plan your priorities for the workday: What are you going to accomplish? Get specific. Studies show that walking into the office with a plan of attack reduces stress and increases productivity.

Want more tips? Visit the Thriving Workplace Resource Library here or sign up for Food for Thought Friday, which delivers strategies to your inbox each week. Send an email to thrivingworkplace@umd.edu with the subject listserv to subscribe.