Want to know more about the habits of highly productive people? Hive Life did the research and pulled together the 5 habits you should adopt to make the most out of your day-to-day.
If being productive came naturally to everyone, the term ‘couch potato’ probably wouldn’t be flung around as frivolously as it is. But if there’s a formula to success, people like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama are the ones who’ve not only cracked it – but live by it. From Dwayne’s steadfast belief in kicking your day off before the sun comes up to Obama’s advice on eliminating decisions that you don’t need to address, here are five things you can put into practice to kick your productivity into high gear.
Start the Day Early and with Purpose
There’s a quote that goes something like, “If you can win the morning, you can win the day.” And one way to win is to have a healthy sleep schedule. It reaps both physical and emotional benefits – from higher functioning cognitive performance and a better mood to feeling self-fulfilled and well-rested – so that you’re truly ready to take on the day.
As Navy Seal William McCraven famously once said, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” He argues that completing that first task of the day, something that you don’t necessarily want to do but should, sets the tone for the rest of the day – and gives you a subtle but effective sense of pride from the minute you wake up.
Insider’s Tip: Though perhaps not the most appealing of tasks, starting your day with a cold shower supposedly increases your alertness, boosts your energy and stops you feeling sluggish. Other benefits include a heightened heart rate and an increase in oxygen intake, kicking that sluggishness to the curb within minutes of being awake.
Fuel the Body and the Mind with the Right Foods
When we start thinking about productivity, we usually look at external factors like how we organise our time and how best to avoid distractions. But what we consume seriously affects our cognitive performance, so it’s important that we eat the right brain food to sustain our energy. If you think about all the times you had a fatty, high-carb lunch at work, the memory of that cheeseburger you indulged in or that burrito you scarfed down is probably closely tied to the memory of a food coma that derailed the rest of your day, leaving you feeling demotivated and flat. That’s why it’s essential to have meals that are packed with healthy fats, plenty of greens and a good amount of protein. So make sure you’re fuelling your body with the kind of energy that’ll keep you going instead of slowing you down.
Insider’s Tip: Eat plenty of brain foods that are rich in antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids to keep you sharp and leave you with a positive effect on your mood. Crack open a jar of nuts, scarf down some salmon and other fatty fish, and eat plenty of leafy greens. Got a sweet tooth? Then dark chocolate and berries are the way to go.
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Avoid Burnout Through Regular Exercise
When you’ve got a job that requires you to be plopped in front of the computer all day, it’s easy to experience burnout pretty quickly. If you’re not getting up to move around every once in a while, that’s not only going to negatively impact your physical health, but your mental performance, too. In a study called ‘Exercising at work and self-reported work performance,’ a correlation is shown between low-intensity movement and effectively heightened productivity. So if you’re starting to feel slow and sluggish, know that that’s actually your body telling you to get up and move around. Whether that’s squeezing in a walk at lunch, standing up at your desk for a while or doing a little yoga routine for 15 minutes, remember that every little helps in avoiding that oh-so-troublesome brain fog.
Insider’s Tip: Try a workout app like Nike Training Club. There are routines as short as 15 minutes that’ll get your blood pumping, giving you that much-needed boost in endorphins. You can also check out Hive Life’s guide to 4 Fitness Channels to Help You Stay Active at Home if you need a little inspiration.
Organise Your Workspace to Keep Anxious Feelings at Bay
A cluttered space is a cluttered mind, so making sure that your work area isn’t just clean, but effectively organised so as to optimise your productivity, can really help to keep your workflow going. If you’re working from home, you should take the time to make sure that the space you work in is clearly distinguished from the rest of your home. You can do this by personalising your desk with plants, a great lamp to take the strain off your eyes, pleasing smells and, perhaps, even positive affirmations to further motivate you.
Insider’s Tip: There are scientifically proven ways to create a workspace that increases focus, creativity and productivity. Staying on track is much easier if you feel at ease in your environment. To find out more, check out Hive Life’s 6 Desk Organisation Ideas to Boost Productivity.
Set Boundaries So That You Can Focus on Your Most Important Goals
Lastly, setting boundaries is incredibly important when it comes to high productivity. For some, it’s learning to say no to tasks that are either unimportant or can be delegated. For others, it’s knowing when to take a break – one without technology or other distractions that might keep the mind busy and ticking. When you’re hustling to get work done, it can be easy to fall into the trap of doing everything yourself and never taking a moment to breathe. This is the kind of ‘grind’ that is often glamorised and praised, but, in reality, it’s just another quick and easy way to exhaust yourself until you burn out. It’s all about working smarter, not harder. So, when you are ready to work, make sure you’ve got a clear mind to fully take on your tasks without the risk of losing steam.
Insider’s Tip: Try applying the 4 D’s of Effective Time Management: Do, Delete, Defer and Delegate. This means knowing what to prioritise, saying no to tasks that add unnecessary stress, and deferring or delegating things that aren’t urgent so you can take a breather. Take a look at Hive Life’s guide to 7 Time Management Tools to Keep You on Track for more information.