Pro.duc.tiv.i.ty – the effectiveness of effort, measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.

We all strive for it. And we achieve it too. Yet, many of us feel that we are not productive enough. Maybe your work schedule needs to be different. Or how you prioritize your tasks needs to change. Everyone’s productivity problems differ. So, we thought we’d bring you a host of hacks to choose from.

Here we go:

  1. Eat something happy for breakfast. Or rather something that makes you feel good. In her book ‘Hungry Brain’, Dr. Laura Pawlak writes that by activating our pleasure seeking neural pathways through food, our brain releases dopamine, which put us in a better mood.

This helps us be more productive because research evidence equates better moods with higher productivity. Infact, bad moods reduce productivity by 10%!

  1. The five-minute rule. According to Beth Comstock, VP of General Electric, “If something takes you five minutes or less, do it now. A small action can keep you moving towards a big deadline.”

Reva Seth, founder of Optimal Living Labs, echoes the practice: “I have a greater momentum as a result of stacking small wins – a proven way to increase productivity.” This prevents your to-do list from getting clogged, and helps keep your energy up through a workday.

  1. Reduce the emotional cost of tasks. By this we mean fear of failure/ criticism and anxiety, which are the biggest reasons behind procrastination. Adopt Kevin Systrom’s (CEO of Instagram) practice.

He says, “If you don’t want to do something, make a deal with yourself to do at least five minutes of it. After five minutes, you’ll end up doing the whole thing.” Why? This rule reduces the emotional cost, by telling us that we can dip in and out of a project, without committing. It gives us more control over something intimidating or forced, thus increasing our motivation.

  1. Pick up a hobby. As much as we love our work, we need to focus our energies elsewhere to rejuvenate. The recommendation: be creative in your free time, and have fun. Find a new hobby.

Research on over 400 employees shows that creative activities provide valuable experiences of mastery and control. It helps employees recover from their job demands, which positively influences their productivity and achievement. It was found that employees with hobbies showed 30% higher performance, than those without hobbies.

As this year rolls in, we invite you to try a new productivity practice. After all, to get new results, we’ve got to try something different. Which one is it going to be?

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