You can find tons of articles, videos, podcasts, and slideshows that all offer tips and hacks to help you boost productivity at work. The question is, how do you decide which to try out for yourself?
You might want to start with the ones that actually have some scientific weight behind them.
Here are 10 productivity strategies that are backed by science:
1. Sleep More
According to a Harvard health study, getting reduced or inefficient sleep leads to a greater risk of lowered productivity, increased errors, and lower levels of efficiency. While the study has to do with workplace safety, not getting enough sleep inhibits the brain and thought processes from firing at their peak performance.
2. Always Give Yourself Deadlines
In a study by Dan Ariely and his associates (mentioned in this post by Sparring Mind), participants accomplished much more when they gave themselves strict deadlines. Setting milestones for yourself via a calendar or to-do list can help you get more done each day.
3. Exercise Regularly
A study from the University of Essex found that exercise has various health benefits beyond potential weight loss and increased vitality. The study, which covered the influence of exercise and being outdoors on mental health, found that “acute changes in mood are generally maintained for 2-4 hours post exercise, though this relatively short duration of enhanced mood has a positive influence on quality of life, including more social interaction, improved productivity, and better behavioral choices.” Aim to exercise in the morning to increase energy levels and to feel the effects during your workday.
Too much work can create “cerebral congestion,” according to Scientific American. Taking regular breaks from work during the workday and in the evenings and weekends through walks, reading for pleasure, taking naps, or other leisurely activities can help clear out all the information that we are required to process each day to do our jobs.
5. Listen to Music
According to a study on the effects of music on work performance from the University of Ottawa, study participants who listened to music were found have a better overall mood, leading them to not only be on-task for longer periods of time, but to also complete more creative work. Many people have found that listening to classical music is more effective than music with words.
6. Take a Break
Derek Thompson of The Atlantic found that workers who were utilizing a program that reminded them about their posture and to take breaks did 13 percent better work than workers who didn’t. Longer breaks (like a vacation) can also help workers become more focused when they return to the office.