5 ways to boost your productivity. 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 feel overburdened before you start questioning how you’ll get everything done.
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, or swapping your caffeine fix 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:
This might seem obvious. Yet, whether your kids wake you up early or you can’t stop watching that Netflix series at night, you probably don’t get the seven to eight hours sleep your body needs. One in three of us don’t even manage six. It’s been estimated that this alone costs 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 struggling your way through the week unfocused, tired and stressed and completing every task you’ve set, might simply be a great night’s sleep.
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 associated with lower productivity. Simply put, the happier we are, the harder we’ll work. We can’t turn on happiness with a switch, we can make sure to spend our time away from the office in ways that fulfil us. Doing the things we love, can help to ensure we’re in the right mood when Monday comes around.
The instinctive response to receiving a lot of work on your desk may be to tackle it all at once. Thus 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 can slow you down by up to 40% in comparison to completing one task after another. 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 are 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.
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 for it. Exercise has been shown to improve cognitive processing. In fact, 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.
It might sound counter-productive but taking occasional breaks will in fact make you more productive. Scientists have claimed our brains aren’t built for 8 hour work periods. Our minds need 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 be possible to have such frequent breaks under the watch of your boss, perhaps time your drink breaks. 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 a few of these research-based recommendations. You may start seeing a big difference in your productivity.