For some people, energy and productivity seem to come ever so naturally. For others, it often can feel like every ounce of energy is required to get just one productive task accomplished. This daunting feeling may be overwhelming for some, and can lead to an array of other stressors.
Know that you’re not alone – a quick search on Google posting the question on “how to be more productive” turned up more than 43,000 results. Clearly there’s a demand for advice in this area of our lives.
With the summer heat, it can be all too easy to hide in air conditioning or succumb to the “couch potato” routine. If you’re up for the challenge, following are some tips that will promote productivity:
Boundaries – Maintaining boundaries is important for our physical and mental health. As noted by LifeHack, boundaries help us identify what is most important to us, which will protect our time and energy and, in turn, allow us to accomplish important tasks. Boundaries can be implemented throughout the day, especially to disconnect from the pressures of the day. Set a cut-off time each night for using all technology, including cell phones, tablets, laptops and television. Allow yourself a peaceful transition into sleep by eliminating all other stimulation. Studies performed by Harvard Health stress the importance of limiting the use of LED light at night to support your natural circadian rhythm, allowing for a better night’s rest.
Productive Mornings – Maximize your morning by setting your alarm clock five minutes earlier each day. This gradual change, according to LifeHack, is a simple way to be more prepared for the day ahead. As soon as you wake up, open the blinds and allow natural light to fill the room. Establishing this habit will balance your circadian rhythm and help you feel more alert.
More Water – Before you reach for that coffee pot, try consuming a full glass of water as soon as possible in the morning. As cited by USA Today, Angela Lemond, national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says, “Drinking a couple glasses of water to allow the body to rehydrate allows for better digestion when you do eat. It also helps with moving the lower bowels for regularity in the mornings.” Keeping your body hydrated is important for overall health and productivity.
Exercise – You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: Exercise not only keeps us in good physical health, but it also releases feel-good hormones in our brain called endorphins. By completing any kind of exercise, you’re promising yourself that feeling of accomplishment and productivity. Trying different types of exercise will lead you to one that engages you, which will ensure long-term productivity.
Doing Nothing – A short break in our day to slow down and actually “do nothing,” according to Psychology Today, can improve productivity and increase happiness.
Distractions – Do you keep your phone nearby no matter where you are? Do email or social media notifications pop up constantly? If there’s something that must be done, Fortune suggests disconnecting. Put your phone on silent/airplane mode or stash it away in a drawer temporarily. Does your mind wander throughout the day? Write down any floating thoughts or ideas and go back to it once you’ve finished the original task at hand.
These tips can help increase your productivity throughout the day, even if just one adjustment to your daily routine promotes a positive change. If, after you’ve tried one or more of these tips, you still feel you aren’t leading a productive daily routine, it may be wise to discuss these challenges with a mental health counselor or other health care professional.
Caitlin Woods, Administrative Assistant