1. Multitasking & Distractions
Multitasking is a productivity myth, it can cost you up to 40% more time than single-tasking, according to the American Psychological Association’s research…getting things done without distraction is one of the greatest productivity boosters.
A Stanford study shows that multitasking may even impair your cognitive control, that you’re a sucker for irrelevancy, everything distracts you…that context switching is killing your performance and making you dumber.
So, close all those tabs, put the phone on mute and focus on one thing at a time.
2. Keep a To-Do list
This is a no-brainer for everyone. And you might already keep a To-Do list on your computer, but how you create that list is important too. Research has shown that using a pen and index cards or small notebook is better, the act of writing actually increases your cognitive ability.
Writing things by hand first, slows you down and trains the brain. You’ll choose your words more carefully. And while transcribing your notes later into your productivity app or document may seem like extra work, you use a different filter this time, perhaps one more attentive to the context or big picture.
You can also use your smart phone. They all have notepad apps.
Keep this in mind, that the space we have to work in has a lot to do with the quality of work we do. To-do’s need to be to the point, concise and action oriented. When we have small spaces to write them in, that forces us to be more efficient with what we write.
3. Eyestrain Can Cause Headaches
You’re in front of the computer all day, and your eyes are taking a beating. You can prevent that with a simple hack called the 20-20-20 Rule.
Every 20 minutes or so, look away from the screen and focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Don’t worry if you don’t have a tape measure, use your best judgement, just make it something far away from you. Maybe you should get up and stretch your legs while you’re at it and get a drink of water…staying hydrated is good for your body and your eyes.
Why 20 seconds? Because that’s how long it takes for eyes to shift focus and completely relax. And relaxed eyes are productive eyes.
Need help with the timing? Tell your phone to remind you, or try a free app like Eye Care 20-20-20. Do it, the rule works.
4. Don’t Work in the Dark
I know a lot of people do and it has nothing to do with the amount of available light. They are permanently in the dark it seems. But you don’t have to, nor should you want to. Studies show that working in a bright room, particularly rooms with natural light, increases your alertness.
Lighting is really serious business when it comes to your health, according to a study out of the unit of Illinois. It can affect your circadian rhythms, your mood, performance and even your cognitive functions.
Natural sunlight is best, or even artificial lighting that simulates natural sunlight. There’s growing interest among Architects and engineers to incorporate natural light into buildings, as it will have a two-fold effect to create a healthy and productive environment, and reduce energy consumption.
My daughter bought something called a Happy Light by Verilux, which looks like an iPad on full-tilt white, which she can place on her desk off to the side…it reproduces the spectrum of natural sun light and causes the right amount of retina illuminance, which I hear is a good thing.
5. Aerobic Exercise Makes You Smarter
Sitting in one position can make you tired. Getting up to stretch your legs, take a little walk, or any kind of mild exercise will get your blood flowing, delivering more oxygen to your brain.
Again another no-brainer. One study found that going for a short 10 minute walk can
Boost your energy for up to 2 hours. There’s a good excuse for taking a break…get up every so often, stretch your legs, focus on something far away for twenty seconds and reset. It should be a ritual.
But did you know that vigorous aerobic exerciseactuallo makes you seater? According to Harvard University’s Dr John Ratey in his book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, if you elevate your heart rate to 75-90% of its maximum and get the body into the aerobic range, your pituitary gland releases Human Growth Hormone (HGH), along with other hormones that actually increase the production of new brain cells, and makes you measurably smarter for a few hours after the exercise.
So yeah, get up and stretch your legs every once in a while, and now you have a very good reason for going to the gym before work, and maybe at lunchtime too, to keep you in top form throughout the day. Imagine what this might lead to.
6. Stay Hydrated
On the final productivity hack fits right in with the exercise of eyestrain and general health, and that’s to stay hydrated throughout the day. Get yourself a serious water bottle and fill it up at least twice a day. It will naturally give you a reason to get up and stretch your legs to refill at the water bubbler.
Most pundits suggest 8 X * ounce glasses a day, the 8×8 rule or 64 ounces or 1/2 gallon a day, but I don’t think that’s nearly enough. The Mayo Clinic says that’s a reasonable goal, but recommends quite a bit more…about a gallon a day for men and 3/4 gallon a day for women. To me that seems more reasonable, which is why I refill my water bottle about 3 or 4 times a day.
I use a Hydro Flask, which is a specific brand, but I love it, it’s hugely popular and comes in all sizes and colors, mine is a 40 ouncer, stainless steel thermos, with a sippy top. It goes everywhere I go.
And forget coffee, because caffein is a mild diuretic which dehydrates you making you pee more. Besides, it’s a myth that drinking more water does that to you. In fact drinking water will help you regulate your bathroom breaks better.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”Article Resources” border_width=”2″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9401427