We’ve all had those days when we feel like we are not accomplishing anything no matter how hard we work. With Looming deadlines, increasing workload, multitasking and stress…these all disrupt our productivity leading us to find a way to “Work smarter, not harder,” a famous motto from my old Corporate America Days, which actually has merit. Sometimes, when you and I wear too many hats, or if we take on too much work, instead of becoming more productive, our productivity actually decreases.
Trust me, I totally get it. Between being a busy wife and mom of two adorable little time consuming active, brilliant sponges and running a small business dedicated to health and wellness in my community, that is a LOT of hats. Add to this stress the fact that I just started the Keto diet (and am in the middle of the worst “keto flu” on the planet) managing all the responsibilities is TOUGH!
Side note here, my husband, God Bless Him, feels fine and maybe even a little better. No, I’m not bitter. (yes, I’m lying there, but I digress)
So what can you and I do to increase our productivity, even when deadlines, duties, and diets get in the way?
1. Have a healthy breakfast… or skip it!
I don’t mean to confuse you, but there are studies showing that skipping the most important meal of the day can benefit various brain functions. Intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity lately, and there are scientific studies to back it up. Personally, I love intermittent fasting. It’s much easier for me to just watch the clock than it is to watch the sugar. If you want a very simple way to lose a little weight and increase your overall health, definitely give Intermittent Fasting a try. However, if you do, it is best to ask for a doctor or a nutritionist’s advice first. For anything to work, you have to have the know-how and the right motivation.
On the other hand, if you are a huge fan of breakfast and could not possibly start a day without it, by all means, eat! Fuel your body with the right food; The key is to make healthy choices. You can even eat breakfast with an intermittent fast, you just have to eat your dinner earlier.
2. Take that coffee break
Though it might be tempting to just keep plugging away at work and skip your breaks in order to meet your deadlines, it would not be a very good idea. You need to relax and take a breather. This will give your brain a much needed break and you a chance to walk around and enjoy a nice cup of joe, maybe even socialize with your other harried co-workers. We have several classes each week to help you reconnect to your breath and body in a group setting, which you can then take that practice out into your work.
3. CBD Oil
Adderall has been making the rounds around colleges and even work places. However, if you prefer a more natural approach to boosting your concentration and productivity, why not give CBD oil a try. It has been known to increase alertness, help calm nerves, and boost your mood. So when you find yourself stressed with your head all over the place, why not try popping a CBD gummy, or some tincture, or even straight up CBD oil to help ease your stress and calm your nerves. Unlike its addictive cousin, THC, CBD will not get you high,or slow you down.
4. Don’t multitask
This is something I am forever guilty of. Back in my Corporate Life, I used to joke about how good I was at multitasking. In retrospect, it wasn’t that I was good at multitasking, it was that I was good at managing many fires and although nothing exploded, nothing was done to the very best of my ability because each of the fires were only managed by about 30 % capacity. Multitasking is not something the human brain is built for. It has proven to cause loss of productivity. Some people can manage multiple projects at once, but doing too many things at once can take away your concentration from the crucial things that need to be done.
This can make your work prone to errors and cost you time that you were trying to save by multitasking in the first place. I am still working on doing one thing at a time before moving on to the next task. This way you can ensure each task is accomplished properly. Try doing the tasks that take the least amount of time to accomplish first. This will get these tasks out of the way and allow you to focus on the more complicated ones. Sometimes this is easier than others, especially since I’m so inclined to do multiple things at once, but with practice, becoming focused really can help to eliminate errors and get things done a little faster.
5. Take exercise breaks
Isn’t it ironic that a post about being productive is talking about breaks a lot? That’s because taking breaks in between tasks is a good way to reset your brain and preparing it for the whole new task ahead. Exercising will send a rush of much needed oxygen to your brain and will help loosen your muscles that might have bunched up from getting the previous task done. Taking a brief walk, or a short stretch, will allow your brain to stop thinking about work and “breathe”. This will help bring your focus back to where it is supposed to be – your looming tasks. Did you know we even have a library of online yoga classes on our Youtube Channel you can do from home, with even a few stretches you can do at your desk!
6. Use tools
Using online tools or apps to track your work and tasks for the day is one easy way of getting your day organized. When you have your day organized, you won’t need to spend extra time trying to remember what to do next; you would already have it laid out for you. Most of these tools are free and can be linked to your personal or work email. Just make sure that the apps abide by your company rules and risk profile. I know for us at Thrive, we use google drive with their sheets and docs products almost religiously. It’s a great way for our small team to stay on top of all the projects we are managing behind the scenes and it’s completely free. I know I am a long way from being totally organized, but with practice, and the right team, it is definitely getting closer to being a reality.
7. Say no to meetings
Meetings take time. And honestly, these meetings are usually not even really necessary. One of the things I used to hate most in Corporate America was the little chime I heard when I received another meeting invite or a meeting reminder. It usually came when I finally could sit down and concentrate and then bam, an hour or more was lost. If you have a lot of things to do, and someone schedules a meeting, try to find out if your presence is necessary in the meeting, or if the items in the agenda could be discussed through email, which would be a better time saving venue. You only get so many hours in a day, after all. That’s probably why I have rarely called meetings with the staff and teachers here at the studio. We do have get togethers where the purpose is to build our internal community, but regular meetings are seldom called simply because I always hated them back in the day.
What are some of the things that you do to get, stay, or improve your productivity? I know this is just a few of many, and if you have something you love, please, share your strategies! Heaven knows I need help staying focused! Who knows, maybe I will share my success story with your strategies in a later post!