Productivity is the name of the game. Whatever your field of expertise is, if you are not productive, then you are wasting your time and resources. Let’s look at the many ways we can help ourselves be more productive.
Boost Your Productivity With Music
We use music in pretty much everything and can make us feel all sorts of things. But can it make you more productive?
Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor at the University of Miami, conducted a study on the effect of listening to music on work performance. She found that those who listened to music completed their tasks faster and had more creative ideas overall than those who didn’t.
However, not all types of music have a positive effect on your productivity. Several researchers have found that popular music actually interferes with information processing and reading comprehension.
Based on these studies, music does boost your productivity, but will depend on the type of music you listen to.
Further researches discovered that there are 5 factors to determine whether music is helpful or distracting:
1. Lyrics – Music with lyrics can distract and listening to this type of music while working is actually just another form of multi-tasking. The lyrics may cause you to focus on the message of the song and interrupt your train of thought.
2. Musical structure – songs with complex musical structures can be more distracting to its listeners compared to songs with simpler tunes.
3. Difficulty of tasks – some tasks just need your 100% attention that music will just be a distraction and may cause you to work less efficiently.
4. Control – when music is imposed, it usually causes more distraction than if the person was given a choice in what type of music to listen to.
5. Listening habits – If someone is used to listening to music while working, it’s often more beneficial than distracting. The opposite is true as well.
There is no one-size-fits-all scenario and there is wide room for personal preference, you can use the above criteria and adjust until you find what works best for you.
Boost Your Productivity with Plants
We spend most of our waking hours at work, so we consider the office like a second home.
Adding some greenery to the office environment not only makes it look aesthetically pleasing, it’s also a proven way make you more productive.
Here are some of the best office plants to boost productivity:
This plant family from where the trendy Monstera belongs to, is not only said to be impossible to kill, it’s also extremely good for the health.
Philodendrons free the indoor air of excess carbon monoxide and VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) that often cause drowsiness and headaches. Eliminating these detrimental effects of indoor air pollutants can boost your productivity at work.
This plant specie is an ideal choice for offices with plenty of shelves. Simply pop this low maintenance plant in a hanging planter, place it close to a window, and enjoy watching it grow. The Spider plant enjoys partial sun and also thrives in shade, so it’s perfect for a windowless office or a small office cubicle.
Research also promotes the Spider plant as one of the top choices to remove unwanted pollutants from the air. They help decrease dust and increase the room’s relative humidity – ultimately reducing stress and allergic tendencies. Spider plants decrease air pollution in the office which in turn makes the office space a much better place to spend the day.
This plant specie removes up to 73% of VOCs from the air and is also beautifully eye catching. This is the perfect office companion for smaller workspaces.
Peace lilies make great decorative additions to your otherwise “boring” office space, and are also natural air-purifiers.
It thrives in most office conditions – near the window or in the middle of the office. It is one of the top plant choices to remove harmful VOCs from the air than any other plant.
Boost Your Productivity With Food
Food affects every aspect of your life. It can enhance your mood, help you feel more energetic, sleep better, and be healthier.
If you’re struggling to follow a busy schedule, you know that is an even more difficult struggle to keep your productivity high throughout the day. But did you know that simply eating the right food can help you stay on top of everything from 9 to 5?
Here are the top 5 foods you can eat to boost productivity:
Berries are rich in antioxidants and valuable nutrients that help boost your brain health and power as well as give you the energy you need to maintain a high level of productivity – without the guilt of extra calories.
Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and cranberries improve your memory and some scientific evidences also suggest that they reduce your risk for developing Alzheimer’s later on in life.
Salmon is an incredible source of omega-3 fatty acids, a compound that plays an important role in brain health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to maintaining normal brain function at all life stages as they boost communication between brain cells. Researchers found that lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids among the elderly are linked to reduced brain size.
Consuming the recommended daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids will help improve your focus and memory.
If you’re vegan, you can get your omega-3 from plant-based sources such as seaweed, flaxseed, kidney beans, walnuts, and edamame.
MCT, or medium-chain triglycerides oil, is a form of saturated fat that’s commonly extracted from coconuts.
Recently, MCT oil has been awarded the superfood label.
Consuming MCT oil helps maintain steady energy levels throughout the day. You feel more awake and vibrant throughout the day, and actually get a lot more done.
MCT oil also increases your body’s absorption of other vital nutrients that you need to maintain healthy physiological functions.
Nuts and Seeds
To boost your productivity, snack on a bunch of cashews or almonds in the afternoon. These nuts will make you feel satiated, refill your energy stores, and boost your brain power.
Almonds specifically are filled with healthy fats that the brain needs to function properly. Sunflower seeds are also excellent options. They are a source of tryptophan, an amino acid that is quickly converted to brain serotonin that helps maintain an optimal mood – the essential state of mind for being productive.
Spinach and Green Leafy Vegetables
Spinach, along with other vegetables in the green and leafy family, is a potent source of many antioxidants that protect your cells from the harmful effects of free radicals.
Research shows that a regular intake of spinach slows the onset of cognitive deterioration in the aging people group. Spinach boosts focus and memory when consumed regularly. Regardless of age, it should be a staple in your diet to help maintain the brain in good condition.
Boost Your Productivity With Colors
There is a branch of science called color psychology where scientists study how different colors affect people’s moods and productivity.
However, take note that it’s not just the color themselves, but also their intensity. Bright and intense colors stimulate, while more muted colors soothe. Here are some colors and how to use them to boost productivity in the office and at home:
Blue is an intellectual color and is usually associated with logic, trust, efficiency, and communication. Use blue as the primary color in areas where you need focus and mental clarity.
Red is a physical color and usually represents strength, courage, and excitement. Red is a great color to paint the spaces that will demand physical exertion.
Yellow is an emotional color and usually represents friendliness, creativity, confidence, and optimism. Add some yellow accents to your space if you want to stimulate creativity, positivity, and happiness.
Green is associated with balance and usually represents nature, harmony, and restoration. It’s the easiest color on the eyes and would be a great color choice to use on places where people need to work long hours.
Purple is associated with luxury and spirituality. It may promote a certain sophisticated vibe, or make a space conducive for deep contemplation.
Orange combines the emotional (yellow) and the physical (red), creating a sense of comfort. It is usually associated with warmth and food, that’s why it’s usually found in kitchens and restaurants. Used appropriately, orange is also a fun color which will give a casual office lounge an energetic vibe.
Grey usually represents neutrality. It is commonly used in offices with modern or sleek interiors. Used too much, it can imply a lack of confidence and stimulate a depressing mood.
Boost Your Productivity With Fitness
Briston University did a study on 200 employees at three different companies. The employees evaluated themselves on a day with exercise and a day without.
The results are astounding. On days they did workout, the participants scored 21% higher for task concentration and 22% higher for finishing their task on time, 25% higher for working without unscheduled breaks, and an amazing 41% for feeling motivated to work.
Another study of 683 workers showed that fitness significantly impacts overall employee work performance. A survey on six dental offices showed that 30 minutes of exercise increased self-rated productivity.
Clearly, exercise boosts productivity. The next question is: which type of exercise is best?
The Best Type Of Exercise
Research on fatigue recommends low intensity exercise to reduce symptoms of fatigue instead of a high-intensity workout.
Another study also found that memory, attention, and problem-solving skills dropped after intense cycling. Low to medium exertion activities are best to give you that productivity boost you need.
Golf, yoga, and dancing are some of the best low intensity exercises you can try. If you’re unsure about those, you can always try brisk walking.
When To Exercise For Maximum Productivity
Based on the researches available, you’ll be most productive with a longer workout in the morning and brief exercise periods anytime during the day to lift your mood.
However, there is no need for grueling hours of physical exercise.
The Length of Your Workout
The ideal target is to hit 30 minutes of exercise each day. The problem is that many of us give up if we can’t consistently meet that goal.
Research says one weekly 10-minute-workout is better than nothing.
Read on Productivityist.com for actionable steps on how to incorporate exercise into your busy schedule.