Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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The Best Productivity Tips I’ve Ever Read

February 8, 2016

Everyone wants to get more work done every day. Here are some simple but effective tips.

Todd Martin 020816 image 1

I don’t usually use my blog space to excerpt other peoples’ work, but HubSpot—a marketing support company that does exceptional work—recently published an article that really struck a chord with me.
Who isn’t trying to be more productive? I know I am. I tackle my to-do list every morning and do great for awhile – until the day gets away from me. I dutifully copy what didn’t get done onto the next day’s to-do list and start the whole cycle all over again. By the end of the week, I know what I’ll be doing that weekend.
So I’m going to try Hubspot’s suggestions. They make sense to me. Here are some of them.
Work less. Yes, you read that right. You’ve undoubtedly heard that working excessive hours on a regular basis can cause health problems. Well, there’s another reason why you should avoid long hours: Productivity can actually improve when you work less. Researchers think the critical point is about the eighth hour. After that, your fatigue causes a drop in output. At least good output, I would add. So forget how it looks when you walk out of the office at 5 and your co-worker raises an eyebrow. You’re simply trying to get more done.
Todd Martin 020816 image 2Eat breakfast. Avoid the sugary foods that taste so good—donuts, Pop-Tarts, sugary cereal—but don’t give you the energy that eating breakfast food that has protein and vitamins and minerals does. Have some hard-boiled eggs ready for morning or put a slice of good cheese on a piece of whole wheat toast. Oatmeal and bananas are good, too.
Sleep more. Some people wear their lack of sleep like a badge of honor. There’s no shame in sleeping eight hours every night if that’s what your body needs. Studies reveal that besides the health problems minimal sleep can cause, it’s also a productivity killer. You know this.
Don’t be a perfectionist. Learn when good enough is good enough Here’s one expert’s formula for evaluating your work:

  • Does it solve the problem and/or convey the right message?
  • Is it on brand?
  • Is the quality level consistent with your previous work?
  • Has it been approved/scrutinized by other qualified individuals?

If so, move on.
Take a lunch break. Take it whether you eat anything or not. Just walk away from your desk or office for a spell during the day sometime. Not doing so is bad for your body – and productivity.
Have a short snooze during the day. You’ve heard of the “power nap,” I’m sure. Research has shown that it can boost both productivity and alertness. It can kind of be like starting the day over. If it’s not logistically possible, take a walk or lean back in your chair and daydream.
I think I like these last two the best.
Look at pictures of cute baby animals. A study by Hiroshima University in Japan in 2012 Todd Martin 020816 image 3actually confirmed this. Research participants performed 44 percent better at concentration after seeing pictures of baby animals, and experienced the greatest increase in productivity.
Finally, clean your desk. You may take exception with this; many people like to maintain a messy work environment. And some research has supported that preference, indicating that it can make people focus on their goals more effectively. Other research has shown that 90 percent of adults surveyed felt that clutter had a negative impact on their lives and their work. 77 percent reported that clutter had a detrimental effect on their productivity.
Other suggestions in the article included visiting a coffee shop (the ambient noise can impact creative performance); exercising during the workday (take “active breaks” or sit on a giant stability ball); and actually using your vacation time (another badge of honor for some, and fodder for bragging rights, but counterproductive to productivity).
Too basic, too common-sense, too not-creative? Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most effective.

Stock images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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