Published at 2019, December 2nd
90% of people say they don’t feel in control of how they spend their days, according to RescueTime. When we realize, we’re not actually doing progress or even working as some distraction grabbed our attention and killed our productivity. Here are 5 tips to boost your productivity and improve your well-being.
1 – Focus On Positive Emotions
According to an HRB piece from Schwartz and McCarthy that drew conclusions from an experiment with 106 people, when individuals manage to control their emotions, they feel more balanced despite external pressures. “To do this, they first must become more aware of how they feel at various points during the workday and of the impact these emotions have on their effectiveness“, the authors argue.
In the end, people tend to become aware they perform better when they feel positive and in a good mood. At the same time, the study also found people lead less effectively and don’t perform as well when they’re feeling in any other way.
In other words – be aware of your emotions and try to manage them as effectively as possible. Your mind and emotions will still be there while you’re working. So ideally you’ll try to have them solved before you jump into work. If you can’t, there are powerful breathing techniques and discreet meditations you can learn and use to regain control of your emotions.
2 – Find Purpose In What You Do
Working on tasks or projects that make you feel happy, whole-hearted and with a sense of purpose and meaning brings along many benefits. According to Steger from Colorado State University, purpose-driven activities are linked with greater personal well-being and meaning in life and are connected to more satisfaction, happiness, and engagement at work. Furthermore, meaningful work is also tied to more positive social participation and mentoring, more conscientious caretaking and citizenship behavior, higher performance, and more effective teams.
Also, if you find the time to perform other activities outside of work that leave you feeling fulfilled – such as spending time with family, doing sports or volunteering – you’ll feel more energized, happier an in a more positive mood. And as we’ve discussed already, this will then help you be more productive.
3 – Find The Time To Focus And The Time To Get Distracted
Truth is: multitasking is the new normal. And sadly, according to the American Psychological Association, it undermines productivity. Moreover, HRB also says that a temporary shift in attention from one task to another—stopping to answer an e-mail or take a phone call, for instance—increases the amount of time necessary to finish the primary task by as much as 25%.
What to do then? Well, taking true breaks to relax, to have a snack, going for a quick chat, for a power nap or for a walk are some options. The idea is that since we have a limited attention span, we accept the need to disconnect instead of pushing for concentration or briefly skipping from work to unproductive tasks or short distractions. The goal is then that when we return to work we’re able to fully focus on the next task on our agenda.
Then you might ask – well, and about external distractions? Yes, that’s a great question. Put music on your headphones (read our piece: what’s the best music to remain focused) to avoid sound distractions. Leave your phone away and better manage the notifications you have on your laptop. Check your email only at specific times and if you’re at a meeting let the incoming-call go to voicemail and return it later – are some nice tricks you can start implementing.
4 – Keep A Good Physical Condition
More and more studies show that good eating habits and nutrition, exercise, and good sleep increase our well-being and energy levels – as well as our emotions and the ability to focus. So despite all the demands and unexpected events that might show up in our daily routines, it’s important to make sure these needs are being met.
The exact time changes from person to person, but going to bed at a designated time and having a good rest generally helps start the next day with energy. Doing a morning practice of yoga or meditation, eating light meals across the day instead of large meals once or twice a day, or trying to fast for half a day – are all practices that might help you restore your physical energy and condition. By doing so, you’ll likely be more productive on a daily basis. Morning exercise or mid-day walks for brainstorming can also be good ideas.
5 – Have Discipline And Be Consistent
Creating habits takes time. In fact, it takes 66 days to form a habit, according to a research article in the European Journal of Social Psychology. The research concluded that 66 days was the average time it took for volunteers to start doing automatically a habit they had adopted as a daily duty. This happens because by repeating a behavior in a consistent environment, automaticity increases.
So if you’re thinking of implementing some of the behaviors we just discussed, remember: consistency is key. You’re not used to these new habits so you might either forget, ignore or postpone them as you start – don’t!
Hold your discipline together and start turning these new actions into long-term habits right away. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting to swim, eating fruit bowls at a certain time, reading emails and notifications as you commute or leaving your phone away as you have meetings with your team. Be consistent in your commitments and you’ll likely excel at each individual action you’re up to and 100% focused on.