Skip Navigation

Produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications

Subscribe Now
Campus & Community

Five to Thrive 11/18/2019

Your Weekly Tips for Workplace Success

By Thriving Workplace Initiative Staff

Illustration of leaves on a purple background

Illustration by Creative Strategies

Illustration by Creative Strategies

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. 

The Fall semester is racing toward the finish line, and so are big assignments and semester goals. Push through to the end with these tips on focusing at work:

  • Minimize your options. To stay on task, remove any competing noise: other assignments, tempting browser tabs or a buzzing cell phone. 
  • Whatever the goal—grading papers, processing invoices, drinking eight glasses of water or simply knocking out more tasks each day—use a visual cue, like a penny, to keep track of your progress. Start with a goal and two containers. If you have eight goals for the day, place eight pennies in one of the containers. For each assignment laid waste, move a penny to the empty container. Repeat until they’ve all moved over. Visual cues not only show progress, they motivate and are addictively satisfying. 
  • Unsubscribe. Every few months, reduce your inbox clutter by unsubscribing to anything you don’t open right away. 
  • Clear the decks before taking on another new assignment. Instead of inventorying what projects you need to start, first assess all the ones that you haven’t finished. Prioritize those before tackling something new.
  • Give yourself a deadline, even if one isn’t required. Self-imposed, artificial deadlines can help you avoid procrastination and get to work. 

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 with the subject listserv to subscribe.

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.