A Simple Productivity Tip

February 24th, 2005 by Steve Pavlina

If you drink a lot of water during your workday like I do, you probably find yourself getting up from your desk several times during the day to get more water. I hate it when I’m working in a productive flow, getting thirstier and thirstier as I periodically glance at my empty cup to see if it’s magically refilled itself yet.

While it’s fine to take an intentional break, thirst can nag for an otherwise unneeded break. And if you work in a busy office, a short trip to the water cooler can become a long distraction if you get stuck in idle socializing, especially if it breaks your previous flow state.

You can put a small refrigerator or your own water cooler in your office or cubicle if you have room. Or you can get a really large cup or drink from a 2L bottle. But a simple solution I use is to buy a case of small water bottles and stock a file drawer with them. I can fit 24 half-liter bottles in the file drawer of my desk, which is within arms reach. Whenever I finish a bottle, I return it to the drawer and grab a new one. I usually pour the water from the bottles into a cup or glass, so the bottles stay clean and don’t accumulate mouth mud. When all 24 are empty, I pull out the whole drawer and carry it to the water cooler to refill them all. I drink about 2L of water per day (4 bottles), so the case lasts me a week.

If you don’t have a drawer handy, you could put a stash of water bottles on a shelf, on a table, or even stuffed in a corner, as long as they’re within close reach. And of course you can generalize this tip to stock whatever liquid you prefer.

Maybe my net time savings is only about 20 minutes per week, but that adds up to 17 hours per year, about one waking day. Almost anything is a better use of a day than walking back and forth from the water cooler. Plus I don’t have to worry about breaking my flow state due to thirst.

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