There’s no shortage of tips and practices out there to help turn you into a productivity ninja, including on this blog, but before running the race you have to get to the starting block. Here are five essential habits to get you fit and ready for the productivity sprint.
Get at least seven hours of sleep
No amount of productivity practices can compensate for the lack of sleep. Do you sleep more on the weekend and on your days off? It’s a sign you’re not getting enough sleep during the week. How important is sleep? Aetna’s CEO pays workers up to $500 to get seven or more hours of sleep a night. And then there’s this from HuffPost founder and sleep evangelist, Arianna Huffington: “I met with medical doctors, scientists, and I’m here to tell you that the way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep.”
Studies have shown that even mild dehydration can alter a person’s mood, energy level, and ability to think clearly. Low energy = low productivity. Drink up.
Drink coffee at the right time(s)
If you get enough sleep and drink enough water you won’t need coffee first thing in the morning. In fact, according to science, you shouldn’t. The best time to consume caffeine is around 11 a.m. for a mid-morning pick-me-up, and 2 p.m. to combat the after-lunch doldrums.
Put a second monitor on your desk
Dual monitors can increase your productivity by 20-30 percent. There are some naysayers (who have a point). To make it work for you, avoid putting email, social media and other distractions up on the second screen and get into the habit of using it for specific tasks and workflows, only.
Get into a habit of regular exercise
Research shows that regular exercise can make you happier, smarter, and more energetic. It keeps you mentally sharp and gives you more energy throughout the day. High energy = high productivity.
Working on these habits is a good start but there are others to consider if you really want to ramp up your productivity fitness, including proper nutrition, meditation, having a pet in the office, and curating a musical playlist.