The way you sleep, what you eat, how you interact with those who you love and what is the quality of your relations with them may impact your productivity drastically, in both good and bad ways. If you're having trouble with being on top of your to-do list think twice if your life is well-balanced.
Good work-life balance is the key not only to productivity but to living a successful and meaningful life in general. If there are things that hold you back because you are tired, your relations suffer from being overloaded with tasks and to-dos or your diet makes you feel sick from the very morning you should first improve those conditions in order to make the most out of each hour. Let's be more specific and bring it down to few simple rules.
Have enough rest and good night sleep
Good and healthy sleep is fundamental not only for productivity but also for good health in general. You should plan your days to always keep between 7-9 hours for sleep. There is even a golden rule to split the day into three 8 hours periods:
- 8 hours for work,
- 8 hours for rest,
- 8 hours for what we will, which is basically a time to spend on recreation, development or any other kinds of activities that are important for you.
Try to keep your schedule constant: sleep for 8 hours at any time. Don't get into a trap of trying to keep an average of 8 hours within a week - your body is not a calculator and it won't be able to rest in advance, so next day you don't have to sleep at all. There has been even a research lead by Tea Lallukka from Finnish Institute of Occupational Health resulting in the conclusion that poor sleep quality has robust associations with worse functioning regardless of total duration in the general population. Basing on the research it has been also shown that oversleeping is as bad as undersleeping.
Make your diet balanced
Ask yourself what you eat and if this is the right nutrition for your body and mind. This topic is so wide that I could debate about it for hours in a pages-long books but neither it is the purpose of this blog post nor I have the right knowledge and authority to lead such exposition, so let's make it simple: with a variety of different tastes and ingredients exchange simple sandwiches with cheese for a complete meal with vegetables and fruits to deliver your body all the elements it may need. Remember to eat nuts, flakes with muesli and yogurt, wholemeal bread, good meat from a trusted source in limited amounts. Cut on the extra coffee and tea cups that you drink daily and for sure drop sugar. This last thing within few weeks will bring your brain processing power to the next level.
A balanced diet will help you keep the right pH level of your body - by all means, you should avoid body acidification. It may significantly affect your brain capabilities and will negatively influence daily productivity. You can check the pH level that your body has right now by following guides easily available over the Internet. You should also take care of your intestines, called by some "the second brain". It seems that the microbiota that resides in your body is able to influence how you feel by producing hormones. If you take care of those bacterias, they will cooperate with you and make you feel better. If you neglect them you may feel even worse as your body will operate poorly without the chemicals produced by microbiota and your intestines won't be able to get all the vital elements from the nutrition you eat.
Practice emotional intelligence
Through years of evolution, we have developed a skill of communication. We are all able to talk, but very few of us can listen and understand each other. This is where emotional intelligence comes in handy. The ability to understand our feelings and the feelings of people next to us. The skill allowing us to stand by and observe the emotion, understand its source and explain its origin. One approach to talk about our feelings instead of allowing them to rule and lead us. Wouldn't it be better to talk about anger, pain or when we feel lost instead of showing everybody around us that we are sad with rude words and obscure behavior? Emotional intelligence allows us to keep better relationships with those we love and care the most, to understand their feelings and solve argues with compromises and not domination, so that when all around us are happy and satisfied, we also feel better and can focus on the goals and objectives that we want to achieve rather than struggling with family or relationship problems, which the most often are the results of misunderstanding emotion and events. It may look silly and childish at first glance to talk about what we feel with someone else, but really it is the only way to go to properly understand each other.
It should be no doubt how important it is to stay active. Sport is considered to be fundamental to living a healthy life, so you should plan your day to always include some time for exercise.
You can take different approaches here: I prefer to start my day with Qui Gong practice. 20 minutes of stretching and breathing exercises before I start the day makes me feel refreshed even after though nights. Some people prefer fast-paced warmup like The Scientific 7-Minute Workout which is proven to "fulfill the latest mandates for high-intensity effort, which essentially combines a long run and a visit to the weight room into about seven minutes of steady discomfort — all of it based on science". You may prefer also evening walks or go for jogging in the afternoon, because it allows your body to cool-down after a hard day of work, get some more oxygen and sleep better. Whatever approach you will choose this needs to be planned and deliberated.
Meditate, pray and reach out to cosmic-origin powers
Meditation and prayers let you reach out for something more than just focus on the things which are the most important for you. By constantly thinking over the topics that really matter, with help of meditation and prayers, you are able to keep your vision clear. Every day brings so much noise that disturbs you that you need to have the power to get over this and choose the right activities at right time. Pray for whatever you need in the morning and be grateful in the afternoon, take few minutes daily for meditation - it doesn't have to take hours, instead, start small with a guided meditation for 2-4 minutes and watch how it affects your goals.
Productivity is a way to make the world a better place - to do the right things in the shortest time possible, so we've got a lot more time to spend with people and things that you care the most. If we all would follow this approach to do only the right things at the right time, we would all be able to live a better and more meaningful life. Start today your journey for better tomorrow with these simple productivity guidelines and earn the peace of mind you always dreamed about.