Tips for Increasing Productivity
Get Plenty of Sunshine
Sunlight is excellent for efficient brain functioning. Light sensitive cells in the eye have a direct line to your pituitary gland. When the blue spectrum of sunlight stimulates this gland, your body produces plenty of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin protects your skin and is necessary for restful sleep.
Sunlight also stirs the hypothalamus area of the brain that regulates your hormones and daily cyclical patterns. Hypothalamus activity affects your quality of sleep, level of energy, reaction time, and ability to think clearly.
Give Yourself Some Direction
Take a few moments or minutes to choose your objectives for the morning, the entire day, or for your study time. Once you decide what needs to be accomplished, make a simple plan or strategy to get it done such as prioritizing, or spending an hour on each task.
Schedule Around Your Daily Energy Cycle
If possible, schedule your creative thinking, analyzing, or inventive work when your energy is typically high. Save your filing, phone calls, data entry, and other more rote tasks for the part of the day your energy fizzles.
Give Yourself Time to Worry
Research suggests that people who allow themselves time to worry each day spend up to 35% less time worrying.
- Choose a time that you can stop to worry, preferably the same time each day.
- Use that time to dwell on worries that typically interfere with your work or study.
- Set a time limit. Some people may require 30 minutes of worry time while others only need ten. Experiment until you discover what works for you.
- When you are working or studying and a distracting or worrisome thought infiltrates your gray matter, remind yourself that you have a time set aside to worry and let the distracting thought go.
Take Short Concentration Breaks
Concentration breaks are not coffee, lunch, or conversation breaks. The are periodic moments where you stop whatever you are doing and let your brain rest from thinking. That means sitting quietly for 30 seconds or a minute and letting all the thoughts in your mind float away.
If you need help quieting your mind you could do a simple controlled breathing exercise such as inhaling for a count of 4, holding the breath for a count of 4, and exhaling to a count of eight. Completing four or five controlled breaths will give your mind a breather from thinking.