Productivity at work or anywhere else depends on how you take care of yourself the rest of the time.
When you prioritize eating nutritious food, getting enough exercise and sleep and honing your mind’s ability to focus, you’re boosting your cognitive ability along with your physical and mental health.
Virtually every self-care action we take contributes to our productivity. Here are some examples:
Put more time into your hobbies
It’s counterintuitive, but studies have found putting our leisure time into hobbies such as crafts or exercise not only makes us happier but leads to higher productivity.
Eliminate as many distractions as possible during working hours by putting away your phone except for calls, not taking on any outside obligations or appointments and keeping your workspace quiet. And when you’re not working, don’t let your job infringe on your personal time.
Set up a positive environment
Keep your workspace uncluttered and as aesthetically pleasing for you as possible. Even if you don’t have control over things like the location or lighting, keep the little things as charming as possible — the layout on your whiteboard, the wallpaper on your monitor or inside your locker, etc.
You probably already do this mentally, but stretch your arms, legs, back and every other body part you get a chance to while you’re working. It sneaks in a momentary break from what you’re doing while circulating nutrients around your body and eliminating any muscle tightness you’re feeling.
Find an accountability buddy
Just like staying on track with your fitness is easier when you have someone to work out or check in with, telling someone about your goals for the day and following up will help you hit your targets.
Don’t be afraid to say no
When you’re getting overloaded with projects and obligations speak up for yourself, your mental health and your productivity. Delegate as many tasks as you’re able to, and don’t let anyone take advantage of having authority over you.
Take the breaks you need
You’ll know what you need, whether it’s frequent short breaks like 5 minutes off for every 30 minutes spent working, or 15 minutes off for every two hours, to recharge. Just don’t talk yourself into thinking you don’t need any breaks!
Spend as much of your break time outdoors as you can. Sunshine and fresh air are two of the most healing substances we know, and spending those moments in nature beefs up your short-term memory, focus, creativity and overall well-being.
Build social connections
Fostering connection with others is one of the most important things we can do for our health, and having people to turn to for help at work can boost your productivity as well. Interacting with colleagues face-to-face is optimal, but maintaining positive relationships over email and Zoom works, as well.