20 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More
If you're tired and either can't fall asleep or are having trouble waking up in the morning than you might need helpful hints on how to increase your productivity! There are two things that could be holding you back, your lifestyle choices that affect your health and your day to day habits.
Understandably things have been different with quarantine but as we spend another week in 2021 we're hoping to get back on track. We are all suffering from routine changes and extra stress factors but it's time to get your life back and achieve more! Let's stop relying on caffeine and find real energy.
Let’s go over strategies for overcoming fatigue and boosting productivity!
- Stress management. The key to productivity is being focused and at ease. Stress consistently invades your mind and prevents you from focusing on important tasks. I know it’s easier said than done, especially lately. The key is finding what helps you, or at least helps reduce your stress levels. Whether that’s having a gratitude journal, doing yoga, meditation or making time to do the things you love. Letting yourself relax or take a moment outside of the stress will boost your energy and increase your productivity.
- Snacks throughout the day! Snack on healthy foods every two hours if you’re prone to low energy slumps. It’s possible your blood sugar levels are dropping and snacking on nuts, berries, healthy trail mix, a smoothie, or even grabbing a protein bar can help. If you’re going to try this method, keep all your meals small so that you’re not overeating.
- Breakfast. There is nothing like starting your day with a meal in order to increase productivity throughout the day. Our bodies are always in a form of survival mode (even if it is subtle) looking for food, if you’re hungry, your mind is thinking about it’s next meal. You want to make sure you’re filling your body with nutrition to promote and support the energy your body is craving. Meanwhile keeping food from being a distraction.
- Say no to coffee. Caffeine is a great pick-me-up but in reality, it raises cortisol levels and stresses the adrenals and depletes essential micronutrients… so really it’s not helping your productivity the way you think it is.
- Eliminate all distractions. I remember when the big thing was locking your phone in a box or apps that would block social media for the day. The fact is, in todays world we are constantly distracted. These outside elements are hurting your productivity, phones, email notifications, multiple web browsers on your desktop are all preventing you from work. Try setting a time and place for you to enjoy these distractions like social media. This way you aren't tempted to spend time on them when. you're trying to be productive.
- Music. Sometimes "distractions" like music can actually boost productivity. There is a time and a place for everything and music can lift your spirits and also help keep you awake which will increase productivity. Make the best judgment call for you!
- Make lists. Prioritize your tasks for optimal productivity throughout the day. Actions like making a list and crossing out your tasks as you go, not only make you feel productive but help you with time management.
- Set a timer. Has the end of a day come and you've said, "where did the day go?" If so then you should take advantage of time in a new way. To increase productivity set a timer. Start with one task at a time and see how long it takes. Then when you start making lists give yourself that amount of time or less to finish it. Setting a timer will help you mentally realize how much time one task is taking which will allow you to reevaluate and increase your productivity next time.
- Complete your least favorite tasks first. Our minds focus on negativity and things we don't like, until they are done! So get them done first. If you have an element of your day that stresses you out, get it done first thing. Otherwise you could be subconsciously thinking about it and it could hinder your productivity at work.
- Eliminate the blue light from your computer. F.lux is a free program that helps block the blue light coming off your computer screen. It helps increase productivity at work by relaxing your eyes and in turn making it more enjoyable to work on a computer. More than that, it will help with the production of your melatonin. If possible, try to break away from the computer or your phone, two hours before bed. You’ll be doing your body a favor, and helping yourself be more productive on the important tasks the next morning.
- Avoid multitasking. Tons of research has been done on multitasking and the verdict is that it doesn't help you be productive. If you swear by multitasking but you're reading this blog, then you should try avoiding it because that's a sure sign that it isn't working. Focus on one thing at a time.
- Get up early. This is one I'm still working on, especially with quarantine but nothing beats a quiet house. A helpful hint for getting up early is to keep your alarm clock out of arms reach. If you have to get out of bed in the morning, you'll likely stay out of bed.
- Get outside. You're thinking, I thought this was about ways to increase productivity, not getting away! But the best way to rest your mind and come back with a fresh start is to take a break. Distracted, exhausted? Take a 10-15 minute break in the sunlight to help with melatonin production. No sun? That's okay, put on a coat and get some fresh air for a few minutes. Cool air naturally wakes you up.
- Set exciting goals. A great way to increase productivity is to have outside goals. Sometimes we focus on one goal or work goals and our own life seems to take a back seat. What do you want to achieve? Set some goals that are challenging and achievable, add them to your day to day list in some achievable increments.
- Focus on the Micro instead of the Macro. In todays world we can get lost in the macro-goal aka the big picture. To increase productivity at work, making a list of all the micro elements that will lead to achieving the macro-goal in order to increase your productivity.
- Learn to say "no". Part of productivity is getting things done but what if you're overwhelmed with too much to do? There are only so many hours in a day, learn when to say no in order to save your time and save your sanity.
- Meal planning. Making food can take a ton of time, specially if you're cooking for the family or even just 3 meals a day for yourself. Save time and money by planning out your meals and making larger amounts to last throughout the week. Casseroles, soups, chili and more can all be larger dishes that help you spend less time in the kitchen and more time on every day productivity.
- Love what you do. We don't always have a choice, sometimes we just need to work because we need money to survive. However if you can find meaning in what you do you'll increase your productivity. If you aren't sure what you love doing yet? It's not too late to find it!
- Exercise. You know what an advocate I am for exercise if you’ve read any of my blogs. I’m not talking about going to the gym or getting super fit. I’m just talking about moving around and how happy and awake it makes you feel. Even jumping jacks, like it or not, wake you up. Your heart is pumping and that flushes cortisol from your body. Research proves that exercises reduces fatigue which can increase productivity. Even in quarantine, take a moment between tasks to run in place for a minute, do jumping jacks or even start learning a new dance like Shuffling. Not only will it reduce stress and depression, it will make you feel good and have more energy. If you have downstairs neighbors… they can handle a little jumping for a 60 seconds a day.
- Last but not least, for all those S'moo babes out there: Raising energy level with Vitamins. S’moo is great for raising energy levels for women. Women have found that it can take the place of coffee in the morning, it also helps balance your hormones which will naturally make you feel more awake. If you have a vitamin B deficiency, B6 can help boost progesterone production and counteract excess estrogen. Magnesium is a great vitamin to take if you need help sleeping and getting your energy back on track. It can also help reduce bloating and PMS symptoms. Probiotics are great for managing hormonal conditions that could be leading to your fatigue. It can help detox estrogen from your body and help you absorb the other nutrients you need. Vitamin D deficiency is a root cause for fatigue and low energy, besides getting vitamin D from the sun, you can also take it in supplements. I like to take vitamin D and magnesium together as I was advised by my doctor that they need one another in order to be properly absorbed by your body. However everyone needs different amounts. If you start taking Magnesium and Vitamin D and see an increase in bowl movement, scale back to find the right amount.
Your body: Elements affecting your Hormones and making you tired!
Since here at S'moo we like to focus on women and their hormones I want to mention how those elements can add to your every day attempts to increase your productivity. Let's face it, if you're struggling with fatigue, productivity isn't going to be easy.
Imbalanced blood sugar - If you're feeling like anxiety, depression, or insomnia is hurting your productivity then you might want to look at your blood sugar. For women, insulin is one of our body’s master hormones. Insulin increases when we over eat sugars and carbs (which is why some like the Keto diet). Too much extra glucose and insulin can result in it remaining in the bloodstream which can prevent ovulation. Which can result in your body not producing progesterone. Since progesterone is a calming, happy, hormone, too little of it means symptoms like anxiety, depression, insomnia, fertility issues and you guessed it, fatigue. This is all a result of estrogen dominance which can also create a difficult mental environment for productivity. If this sounds like you, try to cut back on sugar and carbs to see if there is a difference in your overall mood.
Adrenal Fatigue - When’s the last time you tried to fall asleep but your heart was racing. Or you’re laying there feeling like you just drank a 100 cups of coffee? That can't be good for productivity at work the next day. Your adrenal glands produce a variety of hormones that are essential to your everyday life.
Adrenal fatigue is trigged by long term stress (like being quarantined from a virus and not being able to work or resume life). People describe the symptoms as feeling tired, "gray," and having fatigue that doesn’t get better with sleep. When under long term stress, your body’s immune system lets your adrenal glands release hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This response is part of your fight or flight response. Which of course (think about running away from a lion) increases your blood pressure and heart rate. If you're suffering from adrenal fatigue and this is hurting your productivity at work then finding ways to destress are essential for you. Try to pin point what elements of the day are increasing your stress, like social media or phone calls. Here are some helpful blogs on de-stressing.
Low Melatonin - Melatonin is a key hormone. It not only tells our bodies when to sleep, it also influences our immune system and our mood. Not sleeping can cause a lot of health problems, decreased productivity and low melatonin can often have the following symptoms:
- Feeling awake instead of sleepy after 10 pm
- Finding it hard to get to sleep
- Feeling tired during the day
- Higher susceptibility to colds and flu (lower immunity)
Why is this happening? There are a lot of reasons why melatonin might not be released, including the lack of sunlight and even the blue light from our computer screens!
Melatonin rich foods. If you’re having issues with low melatonin, goji berries, walnuts, almonds, pineapple, bananas and oranges all contain substantial amounts of melatonin and can help naturally raise your levels.
Environmental Stressors - We’ve already talked about stress. Stress is powerful and it’s also part of our day to day. If you're serious about increasing your productivity and time management skills, then work on decreasing your stress. Stress can hit us out of nowhere but often it's triggered by everyday activities like getting a bill in the mail, reading social media or watching the news. It can also be a different type of stress, the type of stress that happens inside your body and that can be caused by environmental toxins from food and birth control pills. That stress is hard on our energy reserves and can leave us feeling exhausted from the mental or physical fight.
Don't give up!
Everyone is struggling with productivity right now, but it's a new year and a new you. You deserve to live your best life. Try picking a few things from the list of increasing your productivity and start there. It might just take one change to achieve more.
This content is strictly the opinion of S'moo and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither S'moo nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.