Four Small Changes To Your Daily Routine That'll Boost Your Productivity
These tiny science-backed tweaks will help you get the most out of your day
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We all want to get more out of our day, whether it's more time to complete pending office work, more time at the gym or more time pursuing your hobbies. Unfortunately, it's easier said than done—the reality is that most days are spent just wishing for more time to do things and not actually managing to do so. Luckily, a few small science-backed changes to your daily routine can help significantly boost your productivity during the day. Here's a helpful list.
A Regular Sleep Schedule
The first step to being more productive during the day starts the night before, suggests a study conducted by popular fitness gadget Fitbit. In their study that began in March 2017, scientists tracked sleep stages of Fitbit users and compiled anonymous and averaged data from 6 billion nights of its customers' sleep.
The researchers found that maintaining a consistent bedtime routine instead of a haphazard one helped users sleep better and longer. According to their findings, if your bedtime varies by two hours over the week, you'll average half hour of sleep a night less than someone whose bedtime varies by only 30 minutes.
The researchers liken these findings to the effects of jet lag. "When you have jet lag, it's the mismatch between the actual time, in the zone you're in, and your circadian rhythm," said Fitbit data scientist Karla Gleichauf. "You're not on the right part of that curve to make you fall asleep." This leads to you lying awake in bed when you should be asleep and feeling drowsy later in the middle of the day.
Don't Neglect Breakfast
Rushing out of the house in a mad hurry has become a regular occurrence for several people, and it's almost regarded as a genius time-saving tactic. However, a study published in The Journal of Nutrition in February 2012 highlights the importance of getting the right nutrition at the start of the day.
This nutritional importance extends not just to solid food but also to water. The study involved 25 females and the effect of dehydration on their mood and cognitive abilities. "In conclusion, this study demonstrates that, in healthy young women, mild levels of dehydration result in adverse changes in key mood states such as vigour and fatigue as well as increased headaches and difficulty concentrating, without substantially altering key aspects of cognitive performance," explain the authors.
Do you spend the whole workday chained to your desk? The simple act of getting up and walking around could take your productivity to new levels, suggests research conducted by Texas A&M University. The researchers examined two groups of call centre employees over the course of six months, noting that those with stand-capable workstations — those which could be raised or lowered as needed — were about 46 per cent more productive than those with traditional seated desks.
"We hope this work will show companies that although there might be some costs involved in providing stand-capable workstations, increased employee productivity over time will more than offset these initial expenses," said Mark Benden, Ph.D., C.P.E., one of the authors of the study.
Set Realistic Work Goals
When faced with a mountain of work every time they walk into work, enthusiastic employees are likely to take it all on at once and as a result bite off more than they can chew. Instead, a smart and systematic approach is called for. Researchers from the University of London found that those who take on several tasks at once rarely end up getting any work done, while those who take things one at a time are much more efficient.
"Heavy multitaskers — those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance — were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another," wrote the authors.