5 Health Hacks for Higher Productivity

We’ve talked before about how your time zone can affect your productivity, but never how big of a role your health plays in keeping you afloat when you have a long to-do list. The effects of your bodily well-being on your daily productivity have been published in numerous studies, and there are  many international organizations and conferences that focus solely on this correlation. We’ve done our research and have found some of the top health tips that can help keep you fueled throughout the day, no matter how many tasks you’ve got scheduled. Without further ado:

Productivity and health

1) Don’t rush to wake up
Imagine if you could have weekend-like wake-ups every day of the week. No rushed Mondays, no hurried Thursdays– just leisurely mornings that allow you to slowly grow accustomed to the day. Incidentally, its when we take longest to wake up that our cognitive faculties are quickest and most alert. According to Kenneth Wright, a neuroscientist and chronobiology expert, “Cognition is best several hours prior to habitual sleep time, and worst near habitual wake time.” In the grip of sleep inertia, we may well do something we know we shouldn’t. Does that sound familiar?! To best at your most productive, it’s advisable to wake up approximately two hours before you’re required to perform any important tasks. Prior to that our memory, reactions, ability to perform basic mathematical tasks, alertness and attention all suffer.

2) Monitor your body language
It’s an adage that your mother has probably said to you hundreds of times: “Stand up straight!” Though you may have dismissed her advice, Carol Kinsey, and expert on leadership, body language, and professional success, correlates posture with success and productivity. Not only does your posture affect your confidence in your own abilities, it can help you tolerate more physical pain and emotional distress, and help you think and act more powerfully. Of a study done by USC Department of Orthopedics, Kinsey, in this Forbes article explains: “It had been noted that people with poor posture at work report low energy levels leading to lethargy and reduced productivity, and that the greatest potential challenge to posture during this age of technology is sitting and working at a computer.” If you’re guilty of poor posture, it could be far more detrimental to your productivity (and health!) than you imagine.

3) Stock up on liquids (including those with caffeine)
When you’re dehydrated, nearly every bodily system suffers– including, most importantly, the brain. In this Psychology Today article, we can see the highly detrimental affects of not drinking enough water like the impairment of short-term memory function and recall of long-term memory, and loss in abilities to perform mental arithmetic. Simply, your brain cells lose efficiency when dehydrated. Coffee and tea drinkers have no fear– studies show that caffeinated drinks have beneficial effects on a number of physiologic systems such as increased energy and daily energy expenditure, decreased fatigue and sense of effort associated with physical activity, enhancement in physical, cognitive, and motor performance, and, among others, the enhancement of short-term memory.

4) Try these snacks:

  1. Citrus fruits: Fruits like oranges. limes, and lemons are purported to revitalize your senses, cure chronic fatigue, and stimulate alertness.

  2. Dark Chocolate: Certain compounds in dark chocolate (moderately consumed, of course!) can help keep the heart healthy, provide some anti-cancer benefits and, in moderation, can work like aspirin. Also, it’s possible that dark chocolate– thanks to its flavanols that increase blood flow to the brain, can help increase math skills.

  3. Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seed are chock full of enzymes (proteins that cause chemical reactions in the body) and Vitamin E, which is shown to deter down cognitive decline as you age.

5) Save the carbs for dinner time:
Do you feel prone to the post-lunch crash? You’re not alone. Although carbs give you energy, they also can make you feel tired and unfocused– according to SleepFoundation.org, meals that are rich in carbohydrates will generally make you more sleepy and less alert. So, try opting for more protein in your lunches to keep your workday productive. In addition, A recent study showed that eating carbs, even high-glycemic ones, cause you to fall asleep faster. Not what you need when you’ve got that afternoon report due!

Do you have any outstanding health-related tips that help you achieve high productivity? Share them with us below, in the comments!

Todoist Team