You’ve been setting your goals all wrong! When it comes to being more productive, we all have our own systems. For some, that system works – they are getting things done, feel productive and celebrate their accomplishments. But let’s face it, for most of us it generally feels like we are running out of time, while tasks keep piling on, which often results in giving up entirely.
When things reach that point, sometimes all you need is a fresh point of view – creating a new system to organize and deal with your tasks. Productivity is personal. However, by applying certain principles we can learn how to be more productive and truly get things done.
There are a lot of different approaches to becoming more productive – some are totally made up, while others are based on thorough and innovative study. There’s no need to look further though, we did the hard work for you! Here are 8 original and surprising productivity methods which you might want to embrace for this upcoming year:
1. Find the perfect work/break ratio
For years now, social scientists have claimed that our brains aren’t built to focus for full 8 hours. Well, this study from the University of Toronto regarding lunch break patterns, came to the conclusion that taking exactly 17 minutes break after 52 minutes of working straight, our productivity level is at its highest. Although it might seem as though you are working fewer hours, your are actually working smarter with frequent scheduled breaks that boost your productivity.
2. Treat yourself to a good night’s sleep
We all know that we need to rest in order to feel energized and motivated to tackle the day. That’s hardly news right? But what’s surprising about a poll that was recently conducted, is the exact amount of sleep you actually need to become more productive. According to new U.S. poll that studied the sleep habits of 2,000 people, it was found that participant who slept exactly 7 hours and 6 minutes were happier than those who slept less, resulting in higher productivity throughout their day.
3. Plan Your Days not Months
The human mind is an amazing tool. Sometimes all we need is to embrace our natural instincts, to become better achievers. According to research from the University of Southern California “Planning your life in terms of days instead of years is the best way to make your desired future a reality”. When we are asked to frame our tasks in days instead of months, we tend to set closer and more reachable goals. The reason for that being the fact that our brains are wired to prioritize current tasks rather than future ones. Boost your productivity by simply planning things in shorter time frames. Setting short-term deadlines increase our odds of matching them.
4. Play video games
According to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Casually playing video games can significantly reduce stress and improve your overall mood. It only takes 10 minutes of playing to increase the positive effect & reduce the negative effect.
5. Bring Your Dog to the Office
Make any day a “bring your pet to the office” day. If you are asking yourself why the heck should you bring your pet to the office, the answer is actually quite simple. According to a recent study, bringing your dog to your work makes you less stressed, more at ease, nicer to your colleagues and improves your overall work. According to Professor Paul Zak, ‘It is not just “nice” or “fun” to have dogs at work, it is an effective way to improve productivity and profits.’
6. Eat Chocolate
We don’t really need a research telling us that eating chocolate is good for us, but it’s always nice to know that all of those calories can contribute to our productivity. According to this study eating chocolate makes you happy, and a happy worker is a productive worker.
7. Stop reading emails!
The mental impact of trying to balance a steady inflow of messages with getting on with normal work takes a significant toll according to this British study. “The IQ of those who tried to juggle messages and work fell by 10 points — the equivalent to missing a whole night’s sleep and more than double the 4-point fall seen after smoking marijuana”. Getting emails actually hurts your IQ, resulting in less productive work. By restricting your emails to certain time frames only, your focus will increase and your tasks will be executed more precisely and efficiently.
8. Don’t Multitask
Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single task at a time. Actually, there’s evidence to suggest that this kind of activity can, in fact, impact your brain negatively. During this study, “researchers found that high multitaskers had less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region responsible for empathy as well as cognitive and emotional control”. This literally gives you the green light to say “No”. In order to fully complete a task, it is super important to stay focused and avoid distractions. Multitasking is doing the exact opposite and might also negatively influence your overall brain activity.