Being more productive is something we all want to strive for, whether it be to get through the work that is gradually piling up on your desk, pushing yourself for that promotion, or simply ending the day on time for once. With only so many hours in a day, you can often feel overburdened with work before you start questioning how on earth you’re going to get everything done in time.
Today we’re going to look at reasonably simple ways in which we can boost our productivity. From making your bed first thing in the morning to start the day right, or swapping your coffee/caffeine addiction for water, there are plenty of things we can all do to reportedly boost productivity. Here are five that we believe can make a big difference to your day:
1. Get 8 Hours Sleep
This might seem obvious. Yet still, whether it be because your kids love to wake you up early or you just can’t stop watching that Netflix series late into the night, you probably don’t get the 7 to 8 hours of sleep your body ideally needs on a regular basis. One in three of us don’t even manage 6 and it’s been estimated to cost the UK economy £40 billion a year in lost productivity. A good night’s sleep prepares your body and mind for the day ahead and a lack of it can lead to illness. The difference between you struggling your way through the week – unfocused, tired and stressed – and you completing every task you’ve set, might simply be a regular 7 to 8 hours sleep.
2. Be Happy
Being happy is perhaps easier said than done and sitting on your sofa at home might be closer to your key to happiness than your office chair. However, the effects of happiness on productivity can be significant. Happy employees are said to be 12% more productive according to one study, while lower happiness is systemically associated with lower productivity. Simply put, the happier we are, the harder we’ll work. We can’t turn on happiness with a switch, but we can make sure to spend our time away from the office in ways that fulfil us, doing the things we love, to make sure we’re in the right mood when Monday comes around.
3. Avoid Multitasking
The instinctive response to receiving a lot of work on your desk may be to tackle it all at once, hopping between projects in a quest to get everything done as soon as humanely possible. While many claim to be expert multitaskers, neuroscientists don’t believe it’s possible. Multitasking not only slows you down in comparison to completing one task after another by up to 40%, it can in fact lower your IQ and may even shrink your brain. So, next time you have a dozen projects on the go at once, or you’re frequently switching between work and responding to emails and taking calls and whatever else you’ve had piled on, think again. Because not only are you protecting your mental health, you’ll likely get it all done quicker anyway.
4. Lunch Break Exercise
During a long hard day’s work, lunch can be your brief escape to relax and let your brain turn off for a much-earned rest. So the idea of spending your lunch break exercising might sound completely unappealing. However, if you’re willing to put that extra bit of effort in a few times a week, your actual work might start progressing easier for it. Exercise has been shown to improve cognitive processing and 74% of those who did so during their lunch break in one study claimed that they were able to manage their workload more effectively because of it. You needn’t worry about breaking a sweat to see improvement either, simply walking can increase focus.
5. Take breaks
It might sound counter-productive but taking occasional breaks will in fact make you more productive. Scientists have long claimed our brains aren’t built for 8 hour work periods, our mind needs time to process and re-energise and frequent breaks can be a great way of doing just that. One study showed that the most productive employees worked in 52 minute blocks with 17 minute breaks in between. Another claims that the “deactivation and reactivation of task goals” triggers your brain to focus. While it might not always to be possible to have such frequent breaks under the watch of your boss, perhaps time your drink breaks and allow yourself to at least briefly switch off every hour or so. The time you do spend working will more than make up for it.
So if you’re feeling a little behind at work, or simply want to be working at your best, try taking on one or a few of these research-based recommendations and you may start seeing the difference in your productivity.
If you would like to discuss this article further or have any personal productivity tips you believe make all the difference, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.Back to Articles