With all of the deadlines and responsibilities that we have to juggle on a daily basis, life would be so much easier if we all had a constant supply of productivity, but we all know that this isn’t always the case. In reality, productivity is more a fluctuating wave across a graph rather than a straight line that doesn’t waver at any point, and that’s completely normal.
Everyone will have those days that are less productive than others, but there will be times when you know you have to get something done but simply can’t muster up the motivation to do it. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to set yourself up for success and increase productivity.
Here are a few that you can try out!
Get Enough Sleep at Night
There’s a reason why our parents always told us to sleep early when we were children, and it’s because of the undeniable link between quality sleep and your cognitive performance and development. Think back to the last time you had to work an entire 8-hour shift with only a few hours of sleep, and you’ll know what that means.
Sleep offers an endless list of health benefits such as muscle repair and development, hormone release, energy conservation and much more. In terms of brain function, it helps with learning, memory, critical thinking, focus, concentration and much more. However, sleep also allows your brain to clear out the acquired toxic byproducts of the day and consolidate all the information and thoughts that you’ve had in your memory.
Imagine that your brain is a stagnant sewage system and every little idea that you’ve thought of is the waste going through the system. In this little metaphor, sleep is the pressure that pushes all the waste through and out of the sewage system so that it can be filled once again the next day. When you don’t get enough sleep, this waste just lingers in the system and doesn’t let much more of anything in, leading to poor memory function and cognitive stress.
It may be hard to get any sleep at night, especially when you live in a noisy and disruptive area, but there are a few things that you can buy to still get some much needed rest. Any bright lights from your window can be blocked out with a simple sleeping mask, and any loud honks from the traffic outside can disappear with some earplugs. And if you have a hard time breathing in an air conditioned room, a humidifier will help you breathe more easily.
Build Up a Sweat with a Workout
When every morning is spent rushing to get yourself out the door as quickly as possible, you don’t really have much time for anything else like a good and nutritious breakfast. And when it feels like you barely have any time to spare before you have to get to work, the last thing you want is to engage in some physical activity, but it might help you get through the day more easily.
Apart from improving energy and mood levels by building a more positive and optimistic outlook, any form of exercise can also help reduce feelings of anxiety and stress that could be holding you back from reaching your potential. When you workout, your brain releases certain hormones like endorphins, serotonin and norepinephrine that help you feel good, while also significantly reducing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline from your body.
Setting aside half an hour to an hour a few times a week for a light workout can also help you feel more confident about yourself, but it can also improve your memory and critical thinking skills. This is because the increased blood circulation promotes better oxygen flow to your brain, which can stimulate and promote the growth of new brain cells, which means an easier time remembering, learning and solving problems.
The good news is that you don’t even need to buy yourself a gym membership because there are many forms of exercise that you can do at home or in your local park. All you really need is some good quality and comfortable workout clothes, athletic shoes, and maybe some equipment to reap all the benefits of exercising.
Know When to Take a Break
When it seems like everyone is encouraged to constantly be on the go the moment the day starts, it might seem impossible and counterproductive to take a few breaks throughout the day, but it might actually help your productivity and performance stay much more consistent. A stressed and fatigued brain isn’t going to do you any good, and indulging yourself in a few minutes of rest can help your mind unwind and recharge.
It’s also more likely to reduce the stress that you’re feeling, while also improving your mental health and well-being.
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