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8 Science-Backed Productivity Strategies
We can all find loads of articles, videos, and podcasts offering tips and hacks to help us boost productivity in our businesses. But exactly how would we decide which ones to try out?
You might want to start with the ones that actually have some scientific weight behind them. Following are 8 productivity strategies that highly productive people do daily:
According to a Harvard health study, getting reduced or inefficient sleep leads to a greater risk of lowered productivity, increased errors, and lower levels of efficiency. While the study has to do with workplace safety, not getting enough sleep inhibits the brain and thought processes from firing at their peak performance.
In a study by Dan Ariely and his associates, participants accomplished far more when they gave themselves strict deadlines. Setting milestones for yourself via a calendar or to-do list can help you get more done each day.
A study from the University of Essex found that exercise has various health benefits beyond potential weight loss and increased vitality. That study, which covered the influence of exercise and being outdoors on mental health, found that "acute changes in mood are generally maintained for 2 to 4 hours post-exercise, although this relatively short duration of enhanced mood has a positive influence on quality of life, including more social interaction, improved productivity, and better behavioral choices."
Aim to exercise in the morning to increase energy levels and to feel the effects during your workday.
Too much work can create "cerebral congestion." Taking regular breaks from work during the workday and in the evenings and weekends through walks, reading for pleasure, taking naps, or other leisurely activities can help clear out all the information that we are required to process each day to do our jobs.
According to a study on the effects of music on work performance from the University of Ottawa, study participants who listened to music were found have a better overall mood, leading them to not only be on-task for longer periods of time but to also complete more creative work. Many people have found that listening to classical music is more effective than music with words.
According to a study done by DeskTime (which tracks how much you work on your computer) and published on Fast Company, users who got the most done worked in 52-minute sprints on average, with 17-minute breaks in between.
Some tips mentioned in the article include creating a realistic to-do list, prioritizing your tasks for each day, and setting a time to take a 15-minute break every 45-55 minutes or so. Experiment with the time length depending on how much you get done to see what set of work/break intervals work for you.
Several studies show that positive changes to office environments, such as a second monitor, better ventilation, windows, and a more focused learning culture lead to enhanced productivity.
While these changes benefit almost anyone, figure out what other ones benefit you specifically. For example, creative people may enjoy colorful artwork on their walls, which increases their workplace satisfaction and leads to better performance, for example.
Lastly, highly productive people take the time to go inward, breathe, practice creative visualization and other mindfulness/meditation techniques to train and strengthen their mental and emotional skills.
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