Work hacks: 7 rules to make your day more productive

Published: October 23, 2016
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There isn’t anyone who couldn’t use a little boost in energy levels to practice self-control. Researchers at the University of Nottingham recently published findings from their exploration of 83 separate studies on energy and self-control. What they found will change the way you start your day.

The researchers found that self-control and energy are not only intricately linked but also finite, daily resources that tire much like a muscle. Even though we don’t always realise it, as the day goes on, we have increased difficulty exerting self-control and focusing on our work. As self-control wears out, we feel tired and find tasks to be more difficult and our mood sours. Compiled from Huffington Post, here is a list of seven things you need to abide by religiously, in order to make your entire day more productive.

1) Start with exercise

Researchers at the University of Bristol found that people who exercise during the workday have more energy and a more positive outlook, which are both critical to getting things done. Getting your body moving for as little as 10 minutes releases GABA, a neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel soothed and keeps you in control of your impulses. Exercising early in the day improves your self-control and energy levels all day long.

2) Drink some lemon water first

Drinking lemon water as soon as you wake up spikes your energy levels physically and mentally. Lemon water gives you steady, natural energy that lasts the length of the day by improving nutrient absorption in your stomach. You need to drink it first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, to ensure full absorption. You should also wait 15-30 minutes after drinking it before eating (which is the perfect time to squeeze in some exercise).

3) No screen time until breakfast

When you dive straight into e-mails, texts, and Facebook, you lose focus and your morning succumbs to the wants and needs of other people. It’s much healthier to take those precious first moments of the day to do something relaxing that sets a calm, positive tone for your day. Jumping right into electronics has the opposite effect — it’s a frantic way to start your day.

4) Eat a real breakfast

Eating anything at all for breakfast puts you ahead of a lot of people. People who eat breakfast are less likely to be obese, they have more stable blood-sugar levels, and they tend to be less hungry over the course of the day. And these are just the statistics for people who eat any breakfast. When you eat a healthy breakfast, the doors to a productive day swing wide open. A healthy breakfast gives you energy, improves your short-term memory, and helps you to concentrate more intensely and for longer periods.

5) Set goals for the day

Research shows that having concrete goals is correlated with huge increases in confidence and feelings of control. Setting goals specific to the day puts everything into motion. Narrow your goals down to a few achievable ones that can easily be broken down into steps.

6) Do not multitask

Multitasking in the morning — when you have lots to do, tons of energy, and it feels like you can do two or three things at once — is tempting, but it sets your whole day back. Research conducted at Stanford University confirmed that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time. Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus adequately on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.

7) Finally, say no

No is a powerful word that will protect your precious mornings. When it’s time to say no, avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them while your mind is fresh.

There isn’t anyone who couldn’t use a little boost in energy levels to practice self-control. Researchers at the University of Nottingham recently published findings from their exploration of 83 separate studies on energy and self-control. What they found will change the way you start your day.

The researchers found that self-control and energy are not only intricately linked but also finite, daily resources that tire much like a muscle. Even though we don’t always realise it, as the day goes on, we have increased difficulty exerting self-control and focusing on our work. As self-control wears out, we feel tired and find tasks to be more difficult and our mood sours. Compiled from Huffington Post, here is a list of seven things you need to abide by religiously, in order to make your entire day more productive.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2016.

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