Often when we think productivity we think of young entrepreneurs, busting their humps for hours on end and operating with zero sleep as they pump out great ideas in their parents’ garage. We associate busyness with being productive, and when we’re going a mile-a-minute we feel like we’re getting things done.
Are we, though? Not really.
When we sacrifice sleep and proper diets for our projects, we seem like the productivity champions of the world. Dismissing important health fundamentals like a balanced diet and proper sleep, however, can actually go a long way in sabotaging our productivity, despite what we may think.
Humans are creatures of habit. That’s just the way we were made. The habits that we develop can either help or hinder our lives and the habits that center around our health are at the foundation of that. By living a healthier life, you can actually have a happier and more productive life, but it takes keeping things that matter in mind and it takes a little effort.
Make more out of your deadlines and boost your productivity by focusing on your health.
The 10 Best Health Habits that can Boost Your Productivity
1. Drink bulletproof coffee (in moderation).
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you might have heard about bulletproof coffee.
This coffee provides a boost of energy without the caffeine crash. Best of all, it’s been shown to improve cognitive function and boost productivity up to 10x. Easy to buy and easy to brew, this coffee also has an array of other benefits like the ability to help with weight loss (thanks to ketosis) and the ability to terminate cravings.
When used alongside a balanced breakfast, bulletproof coffee is a great way to kickstart your morning and get the most from your day right out of the gate.
2. Get better sleep.
Being sleep deprived can have some really negative impacts on your health and can also affect your productivity. By sticking to a good sleeping routine, you can actually boost your mood, your health and the way you get stuff done.
Invest in better sleep and you’re investing in a better life.
Make a sleeping routine and stick to it, doing everything you can to make sure you get the sleep you need the night before a big day. If you struggle falling asleep or staying asleep, remove all technology from your bedroom and make sure that any other devices that emit blue light are gone too. Avoid drinking coffee or other liquids before bed and — if you live in an urban environment — do what you can to block light and noise.
3. Take some cold showers.
This might sound like a really unpleasant option, but cold showers actually have some surprising benefits.
Cold water might not be relaxing, but it can actually help to revitalize the body and mind. Cryotherapy has been shown to help improve immune function as well as the function of the cardiovascular system and the nervous system. Cold showers give you a rush of energy and help you fight inflammation, decrease pain and can even help you get better sleep.
If you’ve never taken a cold shower before, don’t jump in all at once. Ease yourself into this health hack by starting the wash-down on warm and slowly adding cold water until it feels only slightly uncomfortable or your feel like you are a bit out of breath.
Start with only a few minutes of exposure at a time and work your way up. Challenge yourself to see how long you can go and track the effects this new habit has on your morning productivity.
4. Don’t sit too long.
It might go without saying, but people are sitting down far too much these days.
We’ve designed a world that revolves around sitting. We sit at our desks, we sit in front of our TVs; we sit on our phones, we sit in our vehicles, our restaurants, our churches, etc. On average, an American office worker spends 15 hours a day sitting. And while that might feel like a better option than standing all day, studies show it’s really not.
If you ask WebMD, sitting too much is incredibly bad for your health. When you spend prolonged amounts of time sitting, you’re actually increasing your risk of stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Instead of just sitting around the office all day, try to mix up your positions to boost your health and your productivity. Instead of sitting, try standing for a portion of your day. You can invest in some standing-friendly work gear like adjustable desks, or you can just stack your computer on boxes and get on with the day.
If standing isn’t where it’s at for you, try squatting.
Squatting, like standing, can help boost your productivity and actually has some great health benefits. When you squat, you’re actually stretching your ankles and helping to circulate oxygen through your body, which is great for clearing the mind and boosting your cognitive abilities.
You might get some weird looks but it doesn’t matter. Give the sitting a break and mix up your work postures instead.
5. Develop a conscious breathing practice.
Low productivity levels are often caused by stress and anxiety. Deep breathing is a proven way to help fight these disruptors and can also help increase mental clarity and focus.
Develop a conscious breathing practice and you’ll gain some control over your day again. According to a study from Harvard Medical School, conscious breathing has the power to help us control our body’s errant stress responses and when we do this, we actually reduce the physical effects of stress and anxiety.
Practice your deep breathing in a quiet place that’s free of distractions. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. You don’t have to have to breathe for a long time, a few minutes will do, but aim for 10–15 minutes of uninterrupted quiet time for best results.
6. Get into the flow.
If you don’t know what a “flow” is, think of it like that hyper-focused state people get in when nothing else seems to matter. It’s that state of total engagement where creativity and productivity merge and we get consumed (enjoyably) by our project or task.
When you find your flow you reach a higher state of being and performance. On this almost euphoric plane, we hit our peak productivity too — the secret is figuring out how to tap into at will.
Try to find the balance between your skills and the challenges at hand and make note of the situations that trigger your flow. Embrace that unity of awareness and focus that comes with it and don’t take advantage of the sense of control you might feel as well.
When you hit your flow, keep your goals in mind and enjoy the altered perception of time. When we find our flow, we often find an immediate return on our investment, so don’t be afraid to celebrate your success and productive spurts.
7. Reach out to the people around you.
It’s easy to become socially isolated in today’s world of high-tech gadgetry and social media. We spend a lot more time typing on our devices than we do talking in the real world and it can have some seriously negative effects on both our health and our productivity.
When you’re isolated for even just a few days, your mental health quickly deteriorates. When this happens, the rest of your body’s processes will start to go too. Interacting with the people around us can actually make us more happy and boost our productivity in really unexpected ways.
Happy people are productive people and productive people are happy people, so create an affirming cycle of success by getting social and avoiding the isolated burnout.
8. Get some sun and fresh air.
Spending time outside is a great way to improve your health and the manner in which you get things done.
Stepping away from the desk and getting outdoors has been proven to improve short term memory, spark inspiration and even decrease stress levels. Taking just 20 minutes out of your day to get some fresh air lowers levels of cortisol in the body and makes us not only more resilient to stress, but more resilient to pesky aches and pains as well.
Getting out in the great wide open for a walk or a run boosts positivity and enhances our creative functions. When we’re feeling happy and connected to our inner creator, it’s easy for us to find our flow and conquer the things that matter.
9. Never skip breakfast.
A research study at the University of Hohenheim in Germany recently showed that, for those trying to lose weight, skipping breakfast actually had a negative impact on their weight loss goals.
When we wake up in the morning, our bodies are actually just coming down from completing some pretty complex housekeeping processes. These processes leave us thirsty and needed calories, in order to prepare and get on with the tasks ahead.
Instead of skipping breakfast, start your day with a balanced selection of items that can give you the boost you need to get going. You don’t have to eat heavy, but you do need to eat smart, focusing on proteins and antioxidants to give your cells what they need to recover and prepared for your day.
10. Develop a meditation practice.
While it might seem like a lot of hokum-pokum, developing a meditation practice can actually be a good way to improve your health and your productivity levels.
Some of the biggest entrepreneurs and move-makers in the world tout the benefits of meditation. They’re not wrong, either, as studies show that meditation not only increases awareness, but actually reduces stress and anxiety while helping us to recharge our energy and improve our memory.
Practicing meditation doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to take up a huge chunk of your day or morning. Five to ten minutes a day will do it, and all you need is a quiet place and a bit of commitment.
Focus on your breathing and work consciously to clear your mind until you reach a state of peace. If you struggle to find your focus, or you’re unfamiliar or uncomfortable with meditation, check out apps like Calm and Headspaceto develop a practice that works for you.
Putting it all together…
The way we treat our body’s is reflected in the productivity of our personal and professional lives. When we tune into our health, we also tune into our own get-up-and-go. Those channels in hand, we can tune ourselves into that flow that magically links us with our creativity and productivity. That place where all success dwells.
Be attentive of your health and you’ll see instant improvement in your productivity. Get enough sleep, develop some quiet practices and make sure you’re digging into a diet that works for you. Try to get fresh air regularly and invest in some bulletproof coffee for those morning that just seem never ending. After a cold shower or two, you’ll start seeing some serious results.
From there? That part is up to you.
Disclaimer: Before we even get started, let me just share one thing with you - this article isn’t about packing as much into your weekend as possible and working yourself to the bone. Nope. Quite the contrary, the information you’re about to encounter is all about making the most out of your weekend and getting some “you time” that actually works for you.