Boost Your Productivity
Is it just me, or are you in need of an energy boost? I’m definitely still in holiday mode and am struggling to lift myself out of the Christmas holiday sluggishness. The New Year is branded as the best time to make resolutions and up our productivity, but I always think it’s easier said than done! We need to move from celebrating the New Year to celebrating us, but for me it’s all about using means that are actually achievable - finding habits that are accessible, enjoyable, and are going to bring real happiness to our 2019s.
How do we add healthy habits to our daily routines that are going to boost our productivity?
We all need to clock in enough hours to allow our bodies to recharge and prepare for the day ahead, but key to boosting energy levels and in turn productivity, is making sure that you maintain a consistent sleep pattern. Night owl or lark, everybody is different and everyone functions on different amounts of sleep. However, 6 hours or 8, keeping to the same schedule is important. When we sleep we activate our Human Growth Hormone, which helps to build leaner muscle tissue. If we’re sleep deprived, both our cortisol levels increase (turning proteins we’ve built into glucose) and our ghrelin levels increase, which controls our body’s hunger hormone and reduces glucose to the brain - making us reach for quick sugary energy fixes that may work briefly but won’t improve our productivity long term.
Discover a form of regular physical activity that you enjoy and can maintain. There really is a science behind the euphoric rush that you experience from working out. Building up your dopamine levels and serotonin through exercise, will release healthy endorphins within you, all of which helps you to focus and think with more clarity, simultaneously helping you to sleep better and maintain a healthy appetite. For me, I like to do yoga first thing in the morning to kick start my day and then at the end of the day to unwind. A regular week for me will include 3 yoga sessions and then 1 HIT (High Intensity Training) workout session - my approach to exercise is focused on self-care and self-healing, not pushing myself to the extreme.
Be sure to take short breaks as and when you need. This may be by taking time out for a cup of tea (I’ll hydrate myself by sipping on herbal tea throughout my working day) or going out for a short walk every day to take in fresh air and stretch yourself out. By cooping ourselves up inside all day, we can suffocate ourselves with stagnant air and energy. Even if it’s just a short break, make sure you have a change of scenery and take in natural light and natural air.
To help maintain your focus and ease anxieties, set aside time - weekly and daily - to make goals and to-do lists. Work out your priorities and make sure you tackle your most important tasks first. It's hard to find time to properly think in the present, let alone think ahead, but it’s amazing how much a little vision and forward-planning can help. If you’re guilty of setting huge goals that you never achieve, adjust your focus and make goals that are bite-size and achievable. Work out the smaller steps within that one huge goal that you need take, and work through them one by one. That way you can actively tick things off your to-do list and use that frequent feeling of satisfaction to drive you onto ticking off your next goal.
Let’s face it, the digital world and social media is scarily consuming. It’s everywhere, we rely on it, and, in my opinion, it would be silly to say we can evade it all together. But there are ways of taking back control for our own self-care. When we’re feeling daunted by a challenge, how easy is it to turn to your phone and look at something else instead as a distraction? If you suffer from this and a scroll on instagram or facebook is just too tempting, switching off the apps on your phone that can distract you when you’re working on a project (even for just an afternoon) can be really helpful. Or why not put your phone in a neighbouring room so the temptation to grab it, even for just a minute, is removed but you can still listen out for any important calls?
As a nutritionist, I am fascinated with ways in which certain foods (as part of a balanced nutritious diet) can enhance memory and will help keep you focused. Throughout the year, especially in winter when our bodies need protecting from all the chills and germs around, we can turn to different foods as sources for vital vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that will help us. These foods can boost our energy and improve our cognitive performance, all helping us feel more energised and in turn making us happier and healthier.
Want to find out what foods are best for boosting productivity? Take a look at my food blog, where I’ve tried to pack science, with useful tips and insights, into digestible little bites.