Wondering why you’re not hitting peak productivity at work? Here are a few crucial habits to keep an eye out for that often negatively impact your focus at work.

1. You Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is crucial to our overall health. If we don’t get enough sleep, we can see a serious decline in everything from our immune system to our productivity levels. The recommended number of hours for sleep varies by age range. For adults aged 18 and older, the recommendation is to get anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep. Children and teens need even more.

If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you’ll soon start to notice it affecting your productivity. That’s because a lack of sleep can impair your alertness and ability to process information, meaning that you may find that you need to re-read something several times or ask for clarification. You also risk feeling tired during the day; your mind may only be able to focus on your lack of sleep versus the task at hand. If you are significantly sleep-deprived, you may even fall asleep at work. 

Having trouble sleeping? We covered 4 sleeping apps, which do everything from providing soothing voiceovers to tracking your sleep patterns, that might help you on that front.

2. You Don’t Drink Enough Water

Staying hydrated isn’t just important for keeping your skin glowing: A dehydrated body will feel fatigued and zapped of energy – even if you do manage to get enough sleep. The amount of water a person should consume varies from person to person, although general guidelines suggest adult males drink about 15.5 cups (or 3.7 litres) of water a day and adult females should drink 11.5 cups (or 2.7 litres) a day. But if that seems like a lot of water, don’t worry: About 20% of your daily intake comes from food. Think water-rich foods like fruit (strawberries, cantaloupe, and watermelon) and vegetables (celery, zucchini, and cauliflower). 

3. You Don’t Take Breaks

Even if you’re having a busy day, be sure not to skip your lunch hour. It is important to take time out of your workday to rest and reset. By taking your lunch, you will be able to refuel your body and provide it with the energy it needs. Plus, it provides a much-needed break from sources of blue light, which can affect our body’s ability to produce melatonin (and therefore affect our sleep!). 

4. You Don’t Fuel Your Body Properly

Eating is a necessary part of our day, but we need to eat the right type of food to properly fuel our body. If we don’t maintain a balanced diet, we put ourselves at risk for potential health issues. And food that is high in both fat and sugar (think fast food) can cause our energy levels to dip and make us feel sleepy a few hours after eating it. Your lunch should be high in protein, lighter in carbs, and full of healthy fats to fuel you through the rest of your workday and until dinner. 

5. You Aren’t Staying Active

The benefits of exercise are well-known, yet many people still are not active for at least 30 minutes each day. In addition to increasing your risk for health complications like obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, you jeopardise your productivity. If you want to improve your productivity, try low-intensity aerobic exercise; you should notice an improvement in a few weeks. It’s also important to remember to stay active throughout the workday, especially if you work a traditional desk job. Remember to stand up and walk around (you can do a quick lap) every 40 minutes. It also helps to look off at something in the distance (about 20 feet away) to give your eyes a reprieve from the harsh screens.

Need some inspiration to help you stay fit while gyms are closed? These 8 best fitness channels and apps will help you get off the couch and into a home workout routine

6. You Can’t Say “No”

You can’t be productive if you’re juggling several tasks at once. It’s important to know your limits when it comes to the workload that you can handle. It is always better to tell someone “no” and turn down tasks than to complete a task shoddily. While telling someone “no” may be difficult at first – especially your boss or supervisor – it will become easier over time once you realise that you are able to be more productive.

7. You Have a Habit of Smoking

Cigarette breaks can significantly inhibit someone’s productivity levels. And while people are turning to alternative forms of smoking, such as using a vaporiser, productivity still takes a hit. There is an argument that smoking a vaporiser can improve productivity because it reduces the need for a cigarette break (which is done outside the workplace), but this is furthest from the truth. Smoking a vaporiser still causes the same productivity issues because they still require a break from work as smoking is not allowed inside most closed workplaces around the world. It is estimated that tobacco use accounts for an annual productivity loss of approximately USD 96.8 billion.

8. You Focus Too Much on Perfection

Sometimes we are so caught up in getting the work ‘just perfect’ that we fail to focus on the big picture. You may put too much effort into something that shouldn’t take up much of your time. If you are a manager, it is important to avoid micromanaging your employees. It will not only affect their productivity (because you are constantly checking in on them and their progress) but your own because you’ll be focused on their tasks and not the ones for which you are responsible. 

9. You Don’t Go Outside

There are significant benefits to going outside. Even if you can’t leave your workplace during your lunch break, you should aim to get a minimum of 20 minutes outside each day. It can be as simple as taking a brief walk in the morning or in the evening. Being outdoors offers both physical and mental benefits, including:

• Feeling more energised
• Improvement in short-term memory
Enhanced creativity
Boost immune system
Elevate mood
Improved concentration / restored focus
Reduction in inflammation

The next time you feel like you need to take a nap, just head outdoors and soak in the sun for a quick pick-me-up.


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