How to Rediscover Your Productivity
After a summer where most of us will have been able to let go of professional responsibilities for a little while and enjoy some relaxing time, it might be hard to adjust back into working life. If you’re finding that your focus is waning and it’s harder than normal to get things done, here are some things that might help.
Introduce some music
If you struggle to get into the zone when it comes to working (from home, especially) you might dismiss music as an unwelcome distraction. It might be time to try it though, with studies showing that the right music while you’re working can help motivate, de-stress and boost productivity. In the same way that working out to the right tracks can help you power through your workout, music can be a really helpful tool in boosting performance. The key is to look for songs with the right tempo that will hit the sweet spot of keeping you going without making you feel either too relaxed or too pumped; experts conclude that’s any song at around 121 beats per minute. The other thing to look out for is what researchers have termed your ’power song’, in other words a song that has all the right kind of energy you need to power you through a mid-afternoon slump, switching from one task to another and even starting the day off on the right foot. When it comes to what type of music to choose, it might feel natural to veer towards songs that you know and listen to a lot, but that could be counterproductive, say some. According to one report on the psychology of music, familiar music can actually result in a decrease in performance as it can be too distracting for your brain.
Fill your space with houseplants
House plants aren’t just a nice way to decorate your home and improve the air quality inside it, they can be an important part of helping increase productivity too. According to one study carried out, the presence of greenery in a workspace not only helps to decrease feelings of stress and anxiety (making you arguably more likely to get things done) it has a marked difference on positivity, helping to increase productivity by as much as 15%. In another study, research showed that 10% of US sick days taken could be down to a lack of nature and natural light in an office environment.
Recognise your patterns
It’s not realistic that we’ll all be able to feel focused all the time, so part of working productively is acknowledging that, and working around it. Start to recognise the rhythm of your focus and attention span and build your daily schedule accordingly. For example, if you know you always feel more fired up first thing, schedule in your most arduous tasks then when your mind is primed to tackle them. If you know you fall prey to an afternoon slump around 3pm then avoid scheduling in anything too taxing and instead use that period to work on something that requires less focus.
Make sure you’re supported
Eating a diet that’s rich in all the important vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need is a great way to boost your productivity. Workshop’s Multi Vitamin Formula is full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help promote proper brain function, balance blood sugar levels and provide a sustained release of energy.
Change your eating habits
If you regularly experience serious lethargy, commonly known as a food coma, after lunch, chances are you may be overeating. When this happens blood and energy diverts to the digestive system which can cause low energy and hinder decision making. If that’s you, try to eat until you’re only 80% full. It’s a principle that originates in Japan where hara hachi bu means “eat until 80% full” or literally, stomach 80%.
If you find the prospect of the whole days stretching out in front of you overwhelming, then you might feel like it’s impossible to actually start anything. If that is the case, try to break up your working day into more manageable chunks of “on” and “off” time. Set an alarm on your phone, or on one of many productivity apps, for 25 minutes and go full throttle into working mode until the alarm sounds. Allow yourself 5 minutes "off" time afterwards before setting another timer. Called the Pomodoro method, the idea is that having a timer creates a sense of urgency which frees you from the otherwise endless distractions you might face (or create for yourself).