It's that time of year, the weather is beautiful and all we want to do is go outside and make the most of it, yet many of us find ourselves stuck in the office trying to muster up the motivation to get through that task list and stay focused.
If this sounds familiar then why not try these 3 techniques that can immediately make your day more productive.
Since the 1950s studies have repeatedly shown the dangers of sitting for prolonged periods of time. Many even go as far to say that sitting at our workplaces is killing us; potential health issues include increased risk of fatal heart attacks, back pain, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and the list goes on.
Even if you can't enjoy the luxury of a standing desk, taking regular breaks to walk around the office or even doing some light exercise can go a long way to improving your physical and mental health.
Lucas J. Carr, assistant professor in the Department of Health & Human Physiology at the University of Iowa states that "standing increases caloric expenditure by about 30% over sitting,” he said, while “taking regular breaks from sitting (altering posture, standing up, stretching, etc.) has been shown to reduce musculoskeletal discomfort, reduce fatigue and stiffness, and increase blood flow."
Standing has also been shown to increase focus and productivity. Whilst standing you feel a sense of urgency which helps you to stay focused. You are also able to keep energy levels constant, avoiding the 3pm slump. So no more staring out of the window and wishing you were somewhere else!
Notably Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill worked at standing desks!
When the weather is hot, we sweat, increasing our chances of becoming dehydrated. When you are not properly hydrated, the effects can be experienced in your brain as dehydration causes the level of energy production in the brain to decrease.
We may experience headaches, poor concentration and reduced short-term memory.
By drinking water regularly throughout the day you can ensure that you stay hydrated, increasing brain function. When properly hydrated, you can think quicker, stay focused and experience greater clarity and creativity. Water is essential for removing toxins from the brain and delivering essential nutrients. When your brain is hydrated, the exchange of toxins and nutrients becomes more efficient, promoting improved concentration and mental alertness.
Studies show that if you are only 1% dehydrated, you will likely have a 5% decrease in cognitive function. If your brain drops 2% in body water, you may experience cloudy short-term memory, problems with staying focused, and find numerical challenges more difficult.
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Time-chunking is a method you can use to plan your day or week to stay focused and motivated throughout your ever-increasing task list.
Start by writing everything down that you have to get done, think of this as a brain-dump. The human brain is only able to focus on a limited number of things or tasks at once, usually anywhere between five or nine. By getting everything out of your head will help you to immediately reduce stress.
Whilst you are writing, begin to look for themes or commonalities between the tasks, i.e are they related to career, finances, home-life, work or health and fitness?
Create themes that have a desired outcome, for example: you are working on your expenses so that you can look after your finances and save towards a house. By keeping your greater goal in mind you will be inspired by a purpose, helping you to stay focused and motivated, rather than getting overwhelmed by minute details.
So, stop staring out the window, walk to the kitchen, fill up your bottle and grab that notebook. The quicker you get through that list, the quicker you can go outside and enjoy the weather!
For more on productivity, read our blog on 5 productivity tools we use daily >>