Social Media, app notifications, smartphones are often blamed for distracted minds and reduced productivity.
Think of the days, when in spite of your best intentions you were not able to complete your to-do lists or the number of days you had to miss a workout session at the gym or an outing with friends because you were running behind schedule.
Were you on Social Media the whole time that day? Or you were involved in the group conversation on WhatsApp?
Those days are very rare, right? Still, we often feel we haven’t been productive enough.
As a result, we start looking outwards for tips and tricks to improve our productivity instead of looking inwards, at our habits and practices.
Did you know that standing for long hours isn’t helpful? And you thought a standing desk is a solution to all your back problems.
Before you start making big changes, review your day and check if you are making these mistakes which highly affect your productivity.
Computer Posture Mistakes
Who can sit straight and upright for long hours? Especially, if your work involves long sedentary hours on the computer, you are bound to slouch or fold your legs for ease.
But, these computer posture mistakes can lead to serious conditions like chronic neck, shoulder or back pain etc in the long run. In the short term, they can make you feel tired quickly and as a result less productive.
Fortunately, this mistake can be rectified with little changes.
To start with alternate between sitting and standing, while working. It helps in relaxing stressed muscles and improve blood supply.
Drink at least 2 liters of water, not only it helps your body it will also ensure that you have to get up and go to the loo.
Take breaks and micro pauses. After every 30 mins, take a micro break and after every hour, get up and walk around for 5 mins.
Every few minutes, look away from the computer screen at a point in the distance and make a conscious effort to blink your eyes more often.
The small adjustments will reduce the unnecessary strain on your body and the relaxed muscles will help your brain focus more on your work.
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking doesn’t help your productivity. Instead, it takes a toll on productivity. It can also lead to errors, especially if any of the activities involve a lot of critical thinking.
Multiple media usage like a laptop, phones at the same time is believed to be linked to anxiety and depression.
So, not only multitasking doesn’t help in the short term, it has detrimental effects on the long-term as well.
Instead of shuttling between your email, phone, unfinished project report, focus on completing one task at first.
Not only it will help in increasing your efficiency and quality of the work, but it will also help you become a master of some valuable skills, which according to Cal Newport’s principle of Deep Work is pertinent in this economy.
Burning the Midnight Oil
If you thought those late nighters won’t affect your productivity, you are wrong.
Lack of sleep for even one night has a significant effect on our ability to function.
Concentration, working memory, mathematical capacity, and logical reasoning are compromised by sleep deprivation.
According to a study by The National Institute of Health, the subjects who went with only 4 to 6 hours of sleep for 14 consecutive days showed cognitive performance deficits equivalent to going entirely without sleep for 3 consecutive days.
That is to say, their ability to perform normal cognitive tasks such as paying attention and reacting to stimuli, much less to solve difficult problems or think creatively, were decreased substantially.
So, all that effort to be extra productive by letting go of a few hours of sleep is getting wasted. Allow yourself the recommended hours of rest to have productive and efficient days.
Even after being cautious about the mistakes above, there will be days when you won’t be productive at all. On those days, take a deep breath and enjoy the break. Productivity is as much about not working as about working.
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