Not all productivity improvements come from being a to-do list super-user, setting brilliant strategic goals, or managing your time with the precision of an Olympic swimmer. Many behaviors and habits we might categorize as “wellness” also have the effect of improving our productivity at work. Whether you are back in the office, working from home, or working in a hybrid environment, give these a try — improve your wellness AND work more productively!
1. Reduce the open-ended issues in your life
Do you find yourself thinking regularly about projects, tasks, thorny issues, and things you need to get to… But nothing gets resolved?
They need to be done, and you know that — reorganizing your department, having a difficult conversation with an employee, working on next year’s sales projections — but there’s no plan, no deadline, no decision in your mind about direction. These things are distracting and exhausting because we find ourselves thinking about them, and later thinking about them again, and again, with no progress made. We are on a mental treadmill. Open-ended, unresolved work and issues cause stress and anxiety, and suck the energy (and productivity) out of us.
The next time one of these unresolved open-ended topics enters your mind, stop, and write it down. Define the issue. What is your next step? When (specifically) will you commit to taking that next step?
The reorganization you’ve been wanting to get to? What if you thought about it and wrote, “I will schedule a 2-hour block of time next Thursday to define the potential pros and cons of reorganization and identify the major departmental responsibilities that a reorganization would need to support.” You’ll discover that this “plan” (actionable next steps and a time commitment) will clear your mind and stop your energy-draining, Groundhog Day thinking. Now, you can move on to other things!
2. Please say no!
Most of us are people pleasers. Generally, we want to help. We want to say yes. It keeps us in the loop and makes us feel needed and important. At times, we may also be afraid of how our supervisors or colleagues might react if we said no to something.
But trying to please everyone overloads us, and that creates incredible strain, worry, and pressure. In the rush to do it all, the quality of our work might also be affected. Sometimes, we need to say “no” — politely and diplomatically of course. This creates healthy space for you to focus and work on the things that are truly important to you — personally and professionally. For more about how to say no, read Arden Coaching’s “The Power of Saying No”.
3. Eat your fruits and vegetables
Yes, this is your mom speaking. But she’s right, and you know it. In an effort to work hard and be productive, people will often take in too much caffeine, skip lunch, eat fast food on the fly, drink sugary sodas, make do with an afternoon cookie or bag of chips, and gravitate toward comfort foods when they collapse for the evening — ice cream, salty snacks, fats.
Not only is all this bad for you in the broadest nutritional sense, but there’s plenty of data that demonstrates that the sugars, carbohydrates, caffeine, salts, and fats we eat create stresses on our body and energy crashes that cloud our thinking, leave us tired, and have a terrible effect on our productivity.
This is nothing new, but consider how connected good nutrition is to your productivity. Take a small step. Try a simple, nutritious breakfast and see how that makes you feel through the morning. Then, do more!
If you are interested in learning about a few more proven productivity tactics, read “3 Simple Productivity Tips that Work,” “5 Wellness Hacks for Work From Home (WFH),” and “3 Terrific Year-End Productivity Hacks.”
To learn more about executive coaching, and becoming a stronger, more effective leader, contact Arden Coaching at [email protected] or 646.684.3777.