“A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.” – Spanish Proverb
Your productivity can suffer for many reasons: illness, burnout, fatigue…you name it. If you don’t take care of yourself productivity will dwindle.
Too much stress and a lack of sleep, two of the most common reasons for a reduction in productivity, can affect the quality of your work and your ability to produce to the expected standard. If you are not taking care of yourself, you may be sacrificing your ability to produce quality work.
Below are five steps you can take to improve your productivity – you may be surprised to find that none are related to actual work.
1. Take time to exercise
If you are not taking care of yourself physically, you will not be able to put forth your best effort when it comes to work. Exercise has a number of benefits: it helps you to be physically healthy, it reduces your stress, and it allows you a time to focus on something other than your current problems.
Exercise allows your mind to wander freely, which means you are more likely to come up with solutions to your problems when you are exercising. Another benefit of exercises is that it helps you sleep better at night. You can improve your productivity and health by taking the time to exercise.
While you are focusing on your physical health, remember that embracing a healthy diet and eating regular meals throughout the day will also help you increase your productivity.
2. Plan and enjoy a vacation
Are you ever jealous of your coworkers’ vacation stories? They have the best vacations, and it doesn’t seem to put them behind or interfere with their duties at work. There is a reason for this; vacations can increase your productivity, but only if you really go on vacation.
Many people burn out from working long hours on stressful projects with tight deadlines. If you have a high-pressure job, it is important to take regular vacations to give yourself the chance to relax and recharge.
A good vacation should leave you refreshed and ready to get back to work. Everyone enjoys doing different activities to relax, so you need to find the type of vacation that rejuvenates you the most and plan it.
“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” – Ovid
For some people, this may mean a trip to a tropical paradise and lying on the beach doing nothing. Others may benefit more from a vacation where they can learn about different cultures, or one that lets them hike through the wilderness. If you want to increase your productivity, try to find something that helps you reenergize.
3. Spend concentrated time with friends and family
Another way to boost your productivity at work is to take time each week to connect with your friends and family. This will help you find the motivation you need to continue to work throughout the week.
If you are constantly texting or checking your email while you are with your family, you are not really spending time with them and you will not see the same benefits that you would if you unplugged while you are with them.
If you take time every week to turn your phone off for a few hours and just focus on enjoying the relationships with your family or friends, you will be able to focus more on your work later.
4. Get enough sleep
When you are really tired, it can be difficult to string together a coherent sentence. Studies have shown that driving sleep deprived is as bad as driving drunk. You would not show up to work drunk, so try not to show up to work so exhausted that you cannot think straight.
It is important that you get enough sleep each night. Each individual has his own sleep clock. Most adults need between seven to eight hours of sleep, but some adults may need more.
Signs of not getting enough sleep include the inability to concentrate, you nod off after lunch, and you may be getting sick more often. Missing an hour or two each night can be as bad as missing an entire night of sleep each week. Regular sleep will increase your productivity by increasing your focus and your ability to get things done.
5. Make Time for “Want to’s” along with the “Have to’s”
Everyone needs an outlet that lets them take a break from the rest of their lives. A little me-time each week can do a lot to improve your productivity. You need to find something you enjoy doing and then to do it. You may choose poker night each week, or scrapbooking with a group of friends, or you may love painting or drawing or writing.
When you find something that you enjoy doing and carve out a few hours each week to do it, you come out of that time refreshed and ready to focus on the other tasks you have. This will help you rejuvenate and refocus nearly as much as getting enough sleep does. It is important to take care of your spirit as well as your body, and finding a hobby is just one way to do that.
Being more productive doesn’t mean having more to do and working longer. Productivity will improve when you take care of your health and allow your mind and body a chance to recharge and refresh.
What lifestyle tips can you suggest that help you be more productive and energized during the work week?
About the Author: This is a guest post by Gwen Stewart. She is a business development professional and writer for Outbounding.com. Her line of work often requires she have a great solution to send large files and meeting tight deadlines. Any spare time she can scrape together finds her hiking, reading and enjoying the company of great friends.