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5 Ways to Power Up Your Productivity

There are five things you can do to get more out of every hour of your day. It might take a bit of neuroscience and psychology, but it can be done. Sarah K. White applies the insights of Josh Davis’s book, Two Awesome Hours: Science-Based Strategies to Harness Your Best Time and Get Your Most Important Work Done, in an article for

The Five Ultimate Productivity Hacks

  1. Create a schedule.
  2. Strategize for mental focus.
  3. Manage distractions.
  4. Nurture your body.
  5. Customize your environment.

Predictability is the coin of the realm when it comes to productivity. When your mind knows what’s coming, you won’t have to spend any time preparing on the spot or waffling over your options. Likewise, don’t neglect that natural pause that comes in between every task. That’s actually a very important moment where you get to consciously decide if what you have next on your schedule is truly worth pursuing based on what you’ve accomplished so far. Even breaks ought to be scheduled for maximal productivity. A 52-minute task paired with a 17-minute break appears to be optimal.

And consider that your daily mental energy is limited. Introverts are especially vulnerable to the “brain drain” that occurs during waking hours. That is why special attention must be paid to the kind of activities you’ll be doing on any given day. Spending your best morning hours on small, relatively meaningless tasks is a recipe for failure since important tasks will miss that energy during later hours. Have everything set to go the night before. Then you can delve into the deepest tasks bright and early.

Another crucial productivity factor is working memory. Your brain functions somewhat like a computer. Fill it up with useless tabs and icons and pretty soon you’ve got nothing left to work with. But distractions should be avoided only when they interfere with a crucial period of intense focus, and can be managed such that they provide a much-needed break afterward. Getting angry at distractions will only create the distraction of being angry! When possible, simply get the distracting issue off your plate and then direct your mind back to the task at hand.

The mind, just like a car or other piece of equipment, runs best when it is well maintained. Everybody needs exercise, rest, and nutrition to stay at optimal mental fitness. The way you prepare food for the work day matters. A mix of protein, veggies, and healthy fats keep your blood sugar levels stable. Simple carbs and sugars will lead to drowsiness and brain fatigue. Caffeine is fine in small doses but can otherwise wreak havoc on your body and mind. Water is the simple fix to keep hydrated and alert. Early exercise stimulates blood flow and improves mental clarity.

Lastly, your work environment should be customized to match your work style. Everyone has different needs when it comes to supplies, seating, lighting, and exposure to distractions. Tidiness is the one exception, as few operate effectively amidst excessive clutter.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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