05 Jun 7 Life Hacks to Help with Productivity
Energy is a valuable resource which needs to be managed carefully. Unlike time, you can work to increase your energy levels; working on managing your energy levels will help you reach optimum productivity. Over time, optimizing personal energy levels can lead to improvements in many other areas of your life, including overall wellbeing and productivity, helping you achieve your overall goals year after year. Once you start to consider energy as a valuable resource that you can either gain or lose, you will also start to think about how to manage this resource effectively . Below are some tips to help you along the way…
Monitor your energy levels
- Not everyone is an early bird; some people are night owls, and some work best in the middle of the afternoon. Knowing your own energy levels will allow you to manage when you are the most productive and plan accordingly.
- Calculate your “biological prime time”: Keep a daily diary for a week to record when you have the most energy every day for a week. This means you can plan tasks to coincide with this prime time going forward for optimum productivity.
- Just because you have charted your energy peak periods doesn’t mean you shouldn’t assess your energy levels regularly. At different periods during the day take a moment to assess what your energy levels are like, and adjust your tasks/recharge as needed.
- There is no one size fits all when discussing exercise: do what works for you, an hour of aerobics, or 15 minutes of cardio are both good options as long as they suit you and your lifestyle.
- Although some may find it counterintuitive (in that “exercise makes me tired therefore how is this beneficial for my energy levels?” kind of way), rest assured- exercise is a great way to improve energy levels. The blood pumping around your body increases oxygen flow, making you feel energised. Find an excercise routine that works best for you and get moving!
- Here’s an added bonus: exercise also combats disease, brightens your mood, and helps you sleep better!
Food for thought (and energy)
- Timing is everything, and we mean that very broadly. Some people believe that in order to optimize your energy levels, you need eat every few hours in order to maintain even blood sugar levels. Evidence also suggests that intermittent fasting can have the same energising effect, as well as making you more alert and aware. Digestion uses up a lot of energy, and if your body can adapt to burning fats/ketones instead, the energy saved can can be used on other important tasks like cellular-housekeeping (aka autophagy). Like exercise, there is no one right solution, and you should do what’s best for you and your lifestyle.
- What you eat is as important as how often you eat; For a quick energy burst, carbohydrates are best as they can be quickly converted to glucose for a burst of energy, but try and stick to complex carbs so as to not yo-yo your insulin levels. For longer lasting energy, eat protein with your carbohydrates, this will slow down the rate at which your body absorbs the carbs resulting in more sustained energy.
- Snack on “superfoods”– we know food fads come and go, but snacking on superfoods will never be out of style. Superfoods are rich in complex carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other healthy substances and include things like blueberries, spinach, nuts, beans, kale, oatmeal, quinoa etc. Mix and match for a truly energy boosting snack.
Drink more water
- Water really is a magical elixir: it can boost energy levels, kick start your metabolism, help you think clearer, help your body flush out toxins, clear up your complexion, and even saves you money!
- Drink a glass of water right after you wake up: This helps your body rehydrate after 8 hours of rest.
- Keep a jug of water at your desk as a reminder to stay hydrated during the day – flavour it with fruit/herbs to make it even tastier and more refreshing!
Use coffee as a tool, not a crutch
- Coffee stops working as an energy booster if you drink it as part of your routine every day, so learn how to effectively harness the power of caffeine to make it work for you.
- Drink water with your coffee- Caffeine can dehydrate you, so make sure you consume water with your coffee, like the Europeans do! Also try and drink coffee on a full stomach; this helps your body burn fuels for longer and prevent caffeine crash.
- Wait before you reach for that second cup of coffee/tea- spreading your caffeine intake over time will slowly release the caffeine into your body instead of bombarding your body with too much caffeine at once, prevent you feeling that dreaded caffeine crash and make you a lot more productive in the long run.
Limit your exposure to blue light
- Turn your bedroom into a no electronics zone: We live in a permanently connected world, but did you know that the light from your computer, smart phone, tablet, or computer, also known as blue light, can affect your sleep patterns? Because blue light is artificial light, it can impede your body’s natural impulse to create melatonin (the sleep hormone) leading to sleepless or restless nights before bed is detrimental to your sleep.
- Expose yourself to more natural light: Conversely, natural light helps you sleep better, so try and expose yourself to as much natural light as possible. Even better, on days that you can sleep in turn off that alarm and let the sunlight wake you up instead. It will be a much more relaxed wake up, and will leave you feeling less stressed, more energetic and more focussed.
- If you can’t fathom bedtime without your favourite electronic gadget beside you, consider downloading an app to mitigate with blue-light. Apps such as f.lux. works with your geographic location and red-shift your computer’s screen colors after the sun sets, which lets your body release more melatonin, making you sleep better.
Get Enough Rest
- Getting enough sleep will boost your concentration, refresh your mind, improve your health and generally make you feel more energetic and productive, so get enough sleep!
- Take naps during the day if you find your energy levels waning – napping is not for everyone, but if you can train yourself to take short, power naps, you will wake up feeling refreshed , alert and productive.
- Say no to that nightcap: Although alcohol may make you feel sleepy, in reality drinking alcohol before you go to bed decreases the quality of your sleep. This means you wake up feeling less rested and affects your energy levels the next day. Try to consume alcohol earlier in the evening, and hydrate before bed to ensure a good night’s rest.
Bonus Tip: SMILE! Smiling make you feel better, boost your positivity, increases your energy, decreases your stress and make you and everyone around you feel great!
Written by Anusha.