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The new year seems to induce positivity into all of us, creating a renewed hunger to achieve our personal goals. Unfortunately, regardless of what our goals are, this hunger often fizzles out long before the winter months are over. There are many explanations for this, however most of the time procrastination simply gets the better of us!

In short our top 7 hacks are as follows

  1. Write Down Your Goals
  2. Set Deadlines
  3. Avoid Multitasking
  4. Manage Time Optimally
  5. Take Breaks
  6. Nutrition and Hydration is Key
  7. Don’t Be Embarrassed to Ask for Help

This year though, we hope to provide you with a number of pointers to help you break the mould and make 2020 the year you achieve everything you set yourself towards!

Here are 7 simple life hacks to make you the most productive person you know:

Write Down Your Goals

While writing down your personal goals may sound insignificant, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that this simple task can improve your productivity tenfold. Research has shown that you are 42 % more likely to accomplish your tasks when you write them down and there a number of reasons for this that actually make a lot of sense!

How often do you think about something you’d like to achieve but you don’t get around to even starting it? Writing this goal down, even in the notes section on your phone, creates a sense of urgency and realism that better prepares you to take positive strides towards completing it. You are much more likely to achieve a goal you can physically see each day than thoughts that can come and go.

Set Deadlines

It is much more difficult to complete a task when there is no sense of when it needs to be completed by. Without setting yourself deadlines, you are inviting procrastination and increasing the likelihood that you will not achieve these goals!

Instead, you should set yourself personal deadlines as this sense of time pressure will kick-start you into action. While a long term deadline for a large task can be useful, the mountain of work can be intimidating. To further increase productivity, divide your goals into smaller, achievable tasks and set yourself short term deadlines. This will enhance motivation and provide a sense of reward after each completed task, creating a positive association with your work.

Avoid Multitasking

In an ideal world we would be able to just focus on a single objective at a time, however this is usually not the case and we often find ourselves juggling many responsibilities and tasks at one time. While this can’t be avoided, we can ensure that we deal with this in the most productive manner possible.

It is very easy to slip into the habit of multitasking every day, as we want to make progress and work on everything we have going on at the time. While you may feel like you are getting more work done, there is a high chance that you are not. Constantly switching between tasks has been shown to decrease productivity by up to 40 %, as you are never fully immersed in a single task.

Although switching off from surrounding tasks can be difficult, you should identify your priorities and work on them one at a time. This will allow you to give your 100% attention to a particular task, resulting in higher quality and more efficient work.

Manage Time Optimally

“The key to productivity is getting up at the crack of dawn and begin working towards your goals early to set the tone for the day”

This suggestion is thrown around a lot on various online articles and social media platforms, however it is simply not true. While some people may be at their most productive and motivated for difficult tasks first thing in the morning, others may get their edge in the afternoon or even late at night!

Actually, the key to enhancing productivity is figuring out what time you work best during the day and scheduling the most difficult tasks for this period of the day. Where possible, you should complete less important / easier tasks during your least optimal periods of the day.

Take Breaks

This is one of the most important tips on the list, but also one of the most difficult to employ when you are facing large workloads!

While you may feel that you have far too much work to complete to even consider taking a break, your productivity will decrease if you are working maximally for hours at a time. When you feel your concentration slipping or you are reaching for your phone more and more often, give yourself a 10 – 15 minute break away from your task.

This will give your mind time to relax and divert its focus, allowing you to rejoin the task feeling refreshed and potentially sparking new ideas.

Nutrition and Hydration is Key

Keeping yourself well fueled with the right nutrition is vital for maintaining productivity. Poor nutrition can lead to fatigue, decreased cognitive ability and increased stress, consequently having a detrimental impact on your productivity.

It may be tempting to skip meals in order to save time and increase productivity, but this will negatively affect your work capabilities later in the day!

Try to avoid heavily processed and high sugar foods, as while these may give you an initial boost of energy and motivation, the large spike and subsequent drop in blood glucose will ultimately cause a ‘crash’ whereby your productivity will suffer. Instead, focus on eating nutritious meals that contain plenty of fruit, vegetables, protein, whole grains and low fat dairy!

Finally, ensure that you are consuming at least 2 liters of water a day, as being just 3 – 4 % hydrated can reduce your productivity by up to 50 %.

Don’t Be Embarrassed to Ask for Help

This last tip is simple, if you are struggling with a task then please do not be scared to ask for help!

It is much better to ask a colleague for assistance and have something explained for 10 – 20 minutes than to be stuck on a particular task for hours on end!

 

With these 7 simple hacks, you should become the most productive person you know and accomplish everything you set out to achieve in 2020!

fraserrichardson

fraserrichardson

With a BSc in Sport & Exercise Science alongside a MSc in Exercise Physiology, Fraser specialises in utilizing the underpinning science and research to provide evidence-based recommendations for both exercise performance and health. Having conducted various research investigations and worked with professional athletes, Fraser has a wealth of experience in the recommendation and practical application of sports nutrition.

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