Start Being Your Most Productive Self – Guy Gentile

Start Being Your Most Productive Self - Guy Gentile

Guy Gentile

With only 24 hours in the day, maximizing your schedule is important. Oftentimes, it can be easy to get distracted and slow down daily productivity. When distracted, an average employee takes 23 minutes to regain focus. This is why it’s important to focus on things like a healthy diet and properly scheduling your day, as they ease stress and increase productivity to make the most of your time.

Practice Healthy Eating

Taking time each day to incorporate fruits, veggies, healthy proteins and fats into your diet will not only help your physical health, but it can improve brain  function.  According to a study, people who regularly ate portions of fruit and vegetables were happier, healthier, more engaged and more creative. This increase in mental well-being also leads to an increase in productivity by 25 percent.

Make a To-Do List and Commit to It

Dr. Gail Matthews, of the Dominican University of California, found that people who write down their goals are 39.5 percent more likely to achieve them. So, it makes sense that writing out your goals for your day, or a to-do list, can instantly help you improve your productivity. Making a to-do list allows your brain to free up space and energy otherwise needed to help you remember the tasks you needed to accomplish. A list of goals for your day also helps create a tunnel vision and avoid distractions – if it’s not on your list, it doesn’t exist.

Make sure your list is detailed and includes any appointments or deadlines. Knowing what needs to get done and by when allows you to organize your day efficiently and make the most of your time.

Additionally, break down your projects. Oftentimes, when we face a task that seems too daunting or complicated, we tend to avoid working on them. Instead of allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by the big picture, look at what small tasks you need to get done to complete the overall project. Schedule these into your to-do list and cross them off as you go. This will allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment as you complete these small goals and make progress towards the big picture.

Listen to Music

Putting in your headphones while you work decreases external distractions and increases cognitive performance, both contributing to higher productivity. A study of college students showed that while listening to music, their academic performance improved and they had an increased focus and concentration on the task at hand.

This tip does come with a caveat: make sure that the music you are listening to isn’t distracting. Instead of songs with lyrics you can’t stop following, turn on something instrumental or perhaps a playlist of songs that you enjoy but have heard before so you don’t focus on the lyrics. The key is to create background noise to increase dopamine but not distract yourself from what you are working on. The dopamine will work to distract the body from negative thoughts and boost your mood overall, thus increasing productivity.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Start by planning in advance, if you can begin your day by knowing what you need to get done, you’re already a step ahead and prepared to hit the ground running. Taking ten minutes at the end of each day to prepare for the next morning can make all the difference. From setting out an outfit to prioritizing your schedule, your morning will run a little easier.

A morning schedule can also help make your day more productive. About 45 percent of Americans report that a lack of sleep impacts them at least once a week. By choosing a time to wake up at everyday, you can establish a routine to make early morning seem less tiring. A set schedule for your nightly and morning routine will decrease your lack of sleep and help increase your productivity.

Take a Break

A study done by the University of Florida discovered that people had better focus and energy for longer periods of time when they worked for 90 minutes followed by 15-20 minute breaks. Ninety minutes is the magic number for productivity because it matches your body’s natural rhythms of rest and alertness. Taking breaks is important to increasing productivity, but making sure to utilize your break time may be just as important.

Rather than simply falling into a technology rabbithole for your entire break, use the time to do something you enjoy. Call a family member or friend, just make sure to let them know you have a limited time to catch up, pick up a book, or go for a short walk during your breaks. When you return to work you will be refreshed physically, mentally and ready to accomplish more.

Communicate Clearly

Poor communication is often a detriment to productivity as 86 percent of professionals agree that it results in workplace failure. By communicating with others, you can have a clear idea of what needs to get done, expected deadlines and who is working on what task. This can prevent doubling up on projects and missing deadlines.

It is also important to understand your workload limits and create good time management skills.   Taking on too much work can lead to feeling anxious and overwhelmed. These negative emotions, in turn, result in a decrease of productivity. If you have a full plate, delegate what you can, and avoid taking on new tasks. Don’t know how to do this? Use this as an example: “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame.]” By communicating in this way, you are still showing your interest, but being honest about what you can handle at the moment, creating realistic expectations.

When it comes to productivity, it can often be difficult to figure out what you need to get done and just how you are going to accomplish it. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle, planning ahead, clearly communicating and using these other tips, you will notice an increase in what you are accomplishing. As this increases and you complete tasks and achieve goals, you will feel more motivated and continue to progress.

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