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HOW TO BOOST PRODUCTIVITY

MAGGIE O'MEARA

Ever feel like you just cannot focus to get your work or other important tasks done? Do you lose energy at certain times during the day, especially when you are busy? Keeping your energy levels up and being productive can often be a challenge for most people. There are many reasons that this might be happening. It could be caffeine, stress, sleep, procrastination, movement, and how you are eating that is affecting your productivity.

According to a 2017 report on the most productive countries in the world, Luxembourg tops the charts for productivity. We can learn a few lessons on how to boost our own productivity from this small and vibrant country. One aspect that Luxembourg implements is having shorter working hours. While this might not always be possible, taking frequent breaks and then focusing for short amounts of time has been seen do better than long working hours. Another lesson we can learn from the country of Luxembourg is being fully engaged in the present task at hand instead of multi-tasking to be more productive. While you may think that multi-tasking enables you to get more things done at once, having your full and focused attention on something has better results.

You can also be more productive throughout the day with the right nutrition and health. Use some of these tips below to improve your overall health and wellness which will in turn give you more productivity and energy throughout the day:

 

5 Wellness Tips to Boost Productivity

1) Properly Fuel Yourself

Ever get so busy that you skip a meal? This is common when you feel overwhelmed by the many things that you have to get done. But properly fueling yourself with food can be the best thing you do for yourself! Your brain needs the glucose from carbohydrates and the energy from fat to think properly. When your body does not get enough of this fuel, it has to work harder to conserve the energy it has which makes you feel more tired. Try eating something for breakfast to energize the start of your day. This could be a smoothie to drink as you run out the door, a piece of fruit with an energy bar to grab-and-go, or a yogurt with some good granola to eat at your desk.

2) Don’t Overwhelm Yourself

While it is always good to be ambitious, but sometimes you can just be putting too much on your plate. When you are overwhelmed with the amount of tasks you have to do, then this becomes counter-productive. This can also cause stress and anxiety. Try being more mindful of what the most important things are that you have to get done and when can you really accomplish them. Give yourself time and be intentional. Try scheduling certain tasks for certain days in a planner or to-do list so you feel more organized. Also, studies show that yoga improves stress, anxiety, and health status2. Practicing yoga could be very beneficial when you are feeling overwhelmed!

3) Limit Alcohol and Get Sleep

Alcohol decreases effectiveness of neurotransmitters in your body and affects your sleep quality which are huge for productivity. Being aware of how much you are drinking on a certain night can be helpful when you are keeping in mind how productive you want to be the next day. Also getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep3can be extremely important in your energy levels throughout the day as well. Try setting an alarm at night for a reminder of when you want to start winding down and get to bed.

4) Be Wise With Caffeine

Current research shows that it is safe to consume three to four cups of coffee per day with little evidence of health risks and even some evidence of health benefits4. Caffeine can temporarily enhance memory, alertness, and cognitive function. However, it does affect everyone differently. So be wise with how much caffeine you are personally drinking and know when it is too much for your own body. Also, be mindful of added ingredients such as cream, sugar, and sweeteners which can spike your blood sugar and then cause a crash in energy later.

5) Eat Whole Foods

Usually when we are feeling that afternoon slump and just want to lie down and take a nap, most people will tend to reach for a convenient packaged snack. These snacks tend to just make you feel more hungry and create another energy crash. Try choosing whole-food options instead of something convenient to boost your energy. Snacks that include fiber, protein, and a healthy fat are best to stabilize your blood sugar. Try snacks such as veggies and hummus, whole grain crackers and cheese, apple and almond butter, or any leftovers from a meal to give you a boost! 

     

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    References

    1. Muikia S. 10 Most Productive Countries And What You Can Learn From Them. Lifehack. https://www.lifehack.org/797457/most-productive-countries. Published September 10, 2018. Accessed December 2, 2018.
    2. Smith C, Hancock H, Blake-Mortimer J, Eckert K. A randomised comparative trial of yoga and relaxation to reduce stress and anxiety. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2007;15(2):77-83. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2006.05.001.
    3. How Much Sleep Do I Need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html. Published March 2, 2017. Accessed December 2, 2018.
    4. Nieber K. The Impact of Coffee on Health. Planta Medica. 2017;83(16):1256-1263. doi:10.1055/s-0043-115007.

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