Learning how to do things effectively will increase the output of your work and shorten the time you’ll spend on the task. It doesn’t matter if you are studying or have a gigantic task list at your job, the principle is the same.
But when you start reading productivity-related articles, they always focus on the time you spend in the activity that needs a better work-output ratio. The productivity issue is much more complex, and the solution requires looking at a broader picture.
For instance, it’s not recommended to exchange enough sleep with high caffeine intake. The same applies to mental fitness and stress or anxiety medicine consumption. In this article, we will focus on the steps you’ll need to take to increase productivity.
Getting enough sleep can make a difference between a rested, relaxed, and focused person and sleep-deprived mess slower in reaction, mental strength, and capabilities. It’s pivotal to exercise healthy sleep hygiene. How much sleep is enough?
The number differs for different age groups, but from younger adults up to senior citizens, the minimum is 7 hours, while 8 hours is the gold standard. How to achieve proper sleep hygiene? There are a couple of tips to follow.
- Avoid high caffeine, sugar, and nicotine intake close to sleep time. Be moderate with alcohol, because too many drinks can disrupt sleep.
- Limit daytime sleeping. Avoid long naps and limit them to 15-20 minutes. This short power sleep can boost your energy, mood, and performance.
- Exercise can help with good night sleep. Don’t workout close to bedtime, but even 10-minute drills can improve sleep quality.
- Make your bedroom comfortable and establish a bedtime routine. Try to go to bed at the same time with the same rituals – which can include a shower or reading a book.
Once you achieve a regular sleeping routine with enough rest, you can already consider one step ahead of many.
Mental unbalance is frequent in our fast way of life. Work-life balance is hard to achieve, but not impossible. The good news is you already made the first step with getting enough rest. Consider a few other tips.
- Eat healthier. That doesn’t mean you will have to avoid your favorite treats. The main principle should be a moderate intake. The next level is what you can or cannot eat. Eating just one portion of vegetables and fruit can do wonders for your mental power. A balanced diet with reducing sugar intake and increasing vegetables, whole grains, and nuts, fish fatty with Omega-3 acids, and organic food could boost your energy.
- Be social. People are social by nature and need healthy connections, someone to talk to, have relationships. Social, virtual interactions will refresh your mind – especially in this period.
- Walk and be outside (with all the precautions of the case). Don’t skip a daily workout in your yard or a short 6 AM jog. Being outside in a green environment will heal your mind and erase some negativity. It is indeed known that physical fitness dramatically increases people’s mental fitness and brain productivity.
To improve your productivity, you will also need to avoid chaos. Here few tips I always find useful:
- Make a plan. Ideally, you already have an idea for tomorrow. But if you don’t, make one at the beginning of a workday. Having a clear plan will enable you to do more, and when you start fulfilling the tasks, you will create a snowball of positive reinforcement.
- Make a list. This is actually part of the first step, but I wanted to state its importance. With a to-do list, you will have a visual reminder, and crossing the activities will build up positive energy for the next assignment.
- Don’t multi-task and prioritize the most critical tasks. The reality of a workplace or college student is an overwhelming list of things to do. Whatever tactic you decide to use, stop multi-tasking. It’s the least efficient way to do something. Return to your list, prioritize the most important stuff and focus on one thing at the time.
- Set realistic deadlines. Sometimes it is ok to postpone the fulfillment of an assignment but try to stick with what you planned. If you let things pile up, you will enter in a never-ending procrastination circle and ruin your mental stability and efficiency.
- Don’t be afraid to delegate. Let’s face it, you’re not a superhero (neither am I) and cannot do everything on your own, giving your 100%. If you surround yourself with adequate and like-minded people, decide to put trust in them, and delegate part of your work.
- Use time efficiently. This means you should use the in-between time. Don’t just wait for the meeting or class idle. You can always make use of short time windows.
Bonus Content: Productivity Apps
Making most of your time brings us to the last part. Don’t hesitate to use technology. There are great apps for better productivity and study efficiency. Here’s my top 5, among many:
myHomework Student Planner
Among the many planner apps, myHomework stud out as one of the best homework app. You could track your homework, class schedule, and get reminders about an upcoming test.
The primary goal for Stay Focused app is to remove distractions from your mobile phone. You could even block all the apps until you whitelist them. The app will give you daily insights that will tell you on what app you waste the most time.
iOS application for setting up goals and habits the way you want. Stay motivated with charts and bars that track your progress. Set smart goals, create tags, or focus on daily goals feature.
Similarly to the Stay focused app, this chrome extension is made to block distractions. Make a list of your choice, and add whatever you find distracting with an easy action.
This Chrome extension replaces a new tab with a personalized dashboard with your to-do list, weather, and inspiration in the form of a daily photo or quote.
Productivity is the key to success in many areas. It cannot replace talent, nor can it become a competitive advantage without effort. Organizing your mental-working space, improving your sleep efficiency as well as increasing the frequency of your healthy habits will enable you to get more things done, stress less and live a happier life.