We all want to be productive and efficient by making the best out of our days. If you’re reading this, you are most likely driven by goals and you’re looking for ways to make them more reachable. While we know that the way to success is a long way to go, there are some habits you could incorporate into your life that can drive you closer to your goals. How? By simply boosting your productivity! You might have read thousands of pieces of advice on how to do it, so, here are some "not-so-typical" habits to enhance your productivity.
- Play with a puppy
Yes, you read that right. A study from Virginia Commonwealth University found that a pet-friendly workplace can reduce stress, boost job satisfaction, and enhance communication between coworkers. According to Randolph Barker, a professor emeritus in the VCU School of Business and a fellow and professor at the Williamson Institute for Health Studies, “dogs were a communication energizer, people who didn't typically talk to one another, were now more engaged.” Dogs in the office tended to spark conversations between those with and without pets!
- Listen to music
You expected this one or already do it. The science around the link between music and productivity is worth considering, of course not music with distracting lyrics or raucous polka! For many, music can make repetitive tasks more bearable. Also, a study published in Trends in Cognitive Science found that music does better at combating stress and anxiety than actual anti-anxiety medication. In the study, patients who were about to undergo surgery were either told to listen to music or given anti-anxiety medicine. As a result, the participants who listened to music had lower tracked levels of the stress-induced hormone cortisol. It’s not directly linked to productivity; however, music puts you in a better mood and that can actually enhance your work performance.
- Use productive self-talk
One of the most important preparation techniques before work is using productive self-talk. You can do it by positively talking to yourself, using imagery, or using the “if-then” technique. It goes without saying that by telling yourself things such as “I am ready for this” or “I will be successful today”, you can improve your belief that you're going to achieve your goals. Imagery is when you imagine yourself successfully doing something, whether it is tackling your to-do list, being highly efficient, or winning that big promotion. “If-then” planning is making a plan to act a certain way. For example: “If I can be productive for the rest of the day, then I can enjoy a well-deserved road trip on the weekend.”
- Create a break list
A “break list” is a list of short, pleasurable activities to give yourself breaks throughout the day to avoid burnout and to motivate yourself to get more done. Some great break ideas: watch educational videos, go outside, bake some cookies, call a funny friend, start journaling, sit in the nearest park, video call your friend who lives abroad, read a book, color some mandalas, or just anything that sparks your imagination and makes you happy.
- Nibble on chocolate
Did it just brighten your day? Little did you know that dark chocolate has some really impressive benefits! According to a study by Frontiers in Nutrition, Flavonoids in cacao can help increase the brain’s executive functions such as working memory, attention and focus, adaptability, emotional regulation, task initiation, and problem-solving. Next time you fancy something sweet, you won’t have to feel guilty!
- Surround yourself with your happy colors
The office environment has been known to increase job satisfaction and encourage creativity. According to a study conducted by Angela Wright, a world-renown color psychologist, blue is the best color to stimulate your mind. Yellow makes you more optimistic and is better if you’re working in the creative field. Green is a color that radiates balance, calm, and reassurance and is also correlated with productivity. So, it depends on whether you want to affect your mind, emotions, body, or balance. Click here for more information on choosing the right color for your office space.
- Start with the hardest task
Start with your hardest task to take it off your to-do list and take off the weight of having a major task on your mind. Start with it and finish it during your most productive hours of the day which are usually in the morning.
- Go for a walk
Whether you’re working from home or you’re back in the office, staying productive throughout the day isn’t always easy. Taking a walk outside (if possible) during your break can enhance your creativity according to this study. Next time you have a brainstorming session, make sure to take a walk before!
Now that we have equipped you with habits to boost your productivity, it’s your turn to apply them in your daily routine and forge your way to success. As the quote from the famous American author Robert Collier goes: “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” With the right amount of commitment and consistency in applying these habits on a daily basis, you can achieve the level of success that you’re aiming for.