How to increase productivity

If you have trouble getting up in the morning and avoid hitting the “snooze button” again or you feel tired in the afternoon and really have to force yourself to do some work, this article will show you five tips how to increase your productvity and stay fit over the day.

1. Get enough sleep

According to a statistic from helpguide.org adults between 18 to 64 years need about 7 – 9 hours of sleep. This is very important because during this time the body can regenerate and fill up the energy capacities for the next day. So if you don’t get enough sleep you will probably feel tired and less productive over the day. On the other hand to much sleep can also have the same effects. Scientists discovered, that in average we pass through 5 to 7 sleep cycles during the night. Each cycle takes about 70-90 minutes and consists of five stadiums, from beeing awake (stage “W“) to sleeping very deeply (“N3”).

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_cycle#/media/File:Hypro_zyklus_1_en_103.svg

This hypnogram is very important if you plan on doing a powernap throughout the day. I would recommend setting up a timer for about 15 to maximum 20 minutes. Go into a quiet and dark room to mimic the enivironment during the night and to signal your body it is time to sleep. Lay down no longer than until the alarm starts. That way you don’t reach the stadium of deep sleep and feel well rested when you wake up. Otherwise if you interrupt the stage N3 you will still feel tired after the nap.

2. Do some sport

It’s very important to do some form of physical activity or sport like going to the gym, running or just walking outside on the fresh air. Especially if you sit a lot of time during the day. Nowadays we are doing a lot less physical activity than people 100 years ago. Weather it is in the job or our lifes in general, inventions like cars or trains made traveling easy and convenient and the internet even made it possible for us to avoid going shopping or meeting with people in real life. Particularly in industrial nations many jobs are conected more with mental activity and sitting in front of the pc than with physical labor. However sport is an important aspect of our lifes. By staying physicaly fit you can improve your immune system and circulation, increase your health, endurance and even psychological state of mind to be more productive. Just half an hour a day of running or doing workout before or after work will have huge benefits for your fitness.

3. Eat healthy

You probably know that eating healty is important for the body, however even though you know fast food, soft drinks, sugar and to much fat is bad, it isn’t easy to maintain proper nutrition for a long period of time. Eating salad and vegetables alone isn’t enough for a proper and healthy nutrition. The “healthy eating pyriamid” of harvad school of public health shows in a simple way what else is important.
I’m defenitely no expert in the field of food and eating, however I wanted to mention it for the sake of completeness. There are a lot of good podcasts, websites, videos, etc. about fitness and nutrition, which even give you delicious recipes and eating plans. So go and start informing yourself about this topic.

Image: https://cdn1.sph.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2012/10/WebMedium-1024×950.jpg

4. Avoid distracions

Smartphones, Social Media, TV or video games – There is a lot of distraction nowadays, which keep you from being productive and getting your work done. So it’s essential to keep track about your daily use of entertainment media. I don’t say that you should abandon using your phone or watching movies in general. It’s great if you can do this, however this is unlikely to happen, because habits are difficult to get rid of. A way to reduce the amount of time spent with entertainment media is to set yourself limits for how long you use your phone, TV or PC a day. On many smartphones for example you can even set limits to certain apps or general screen time in the system preferences. After the time is over you will receive a message or the app closes. Furthermore you could allow yourself to use your smartphone, PC, etc. only in the afternoon or evening for a certain time periods (e.g. half an hour). This way you will also more likely watch productive and useful content, because you don’t have so much time for casual surfing through the internet. It is also very important to keep in mind, that once your brain knows it doesn’t has to work, e.g. by watching TV series or entertaining videos on YouTube, it will be very hard to force yourself to work after this. Therefore you shouldn’t use your phone or watch TV in the morning before you go to school/work or in the early afternoon if you plan on working later on. Of course it’s difficult to get used to these habits and apply them to your daily life, but if your motivation is strong enough and the other activities are meaningful and fulfilling, it is defenitely possible. My recommendation is to try to slowly decrease the amount of time spent in front of screens for a few weeks while keeping track of it.

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

5. Make a plan for the day

My last tip for more productivity during the day is to make a plan for the next day the evening before. This plan doesn’t have to be very complex. Just write down what you want tomorrow and the priority of each event. Make this to-do-list exactely before you go to bed, so that you remember them when you wake up in the morning. Moreover don’t watch TV or social media before you go to sleep. Otherwise it will obstruct your brain with useless information and keep you from sleeping well, which however is essential for productivity. It’s also scientifically proven, that the blue light of screens restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone for your sleep cycle. So do a list of your activities for tomorrow, which helps you organize your day for beeing more productive and getting your work done and check at each end of the day, what you have accomplished.

Photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash

5 thoughts on “How to increase productivity

  1. Good content! Great tipps, inspired me to make quicker naps. Also a good way to improve sleep is to do yoga or stretch everyday bevor going to bed 🙂

    Like

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