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Intelligent Ways To Increase Productivity

Intelligent Ways To Increase Productivity

As an entrepreneur, I’ve definitely had my ups and downs. I’ve struggled with motivation, procrastination, and especially with being productive. Through my work, I’ve found there’s more to being productive than downloading timers, apps, or blocking social media sites. Being productive is actually a very personal and in-depth process that will vary for every person reading this.

This article could be ten pages long, but I’ve decided to focus on the three most critical factors when it comes to productivity. The aim of these factors is to show you productivity is both conscious and unconscious. Through taking actions on things that have an indirect effect on your business and life, you’ll find you’re able to be more efficient. We’ll take a look at how you eat, why you should plan, and your habits when you get stuck.

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    Fuel your body properly.

    How can you expect yourself to operate at your best if you don’t feed yourself the best? The foods and drinks we consume have substantial effects on our mood, ability to focus, and how much energy we have. You can’t grab an egg McMuffin every day and expect to feel good. You need to eat foods that have the necessary nutrients for your body to operate at its peak performance.

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    Coffee is a big myth that needs to be addressed when it comes to fueling your body. Entrepreneurs have a special relationship with coffee, often drinking it before putting anything else in their body. Ideally, you should only have coffee after you eat a solid breakfast and get moving a bit. When I tried this, I found the energizing effects of the coffee to be more effective. Because I’m full, my stomach doesn’t feel queasy from the coffee, and because I get moving, my heart and blood are better able to pump the caffeine through my body. This is much better way to use coffee compared to downing it on an empty stomach when you first wake up.

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      Another important part of fueling your part is variety. Eating healthy is important, but it’s easy to get tired of smoothies or toast every morning. Switch it up! Don’t be afraid to have lunch or dinner items for your breakfast. It may seem inconsequential, but our breakfast sets the tone for the day. I know I feel pretty terrible and unmotivated when I eat eggs and toast for the third or fourth day in a row. Entrepreneurs are busy, and it’s important to eat healthy foods, but it’s also important to enjoy what we’re eating.

      Another thing you should consider is including supplements in your diet. Simple supplements such as Vitamin C, D, B12, or iron and zinc (only if recommended by your doctor) can help your body better absorb nutrients and prompt you to have more energy. Discuss with your doctor which supplements you can add to your diet!

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        Avoid reacting – start planning.

        Planning helps you in so many different ways. Instead of reacting to situations, you’ll find yourself responding, and there’s huge difference. Reacting causes stress. A decision based on a reaction is based on impulsive reasons or doing whatever it takes to control an emergency situation.

        Responding means your answer is based on your plan, if it helps to advance you, and if it fits within the stage of your plan that you’re in right now. By responding to situations, you’ll make better decisions for your business and avoid wasting time on things that have nothing to do with your plan.

        Planning will also make you more efficient because it will help you focus on your strengths. Making long- and short-term plans will make it evident where you are capable and where you need help. This is perfect for finding potential areas of your business that need to be outsourced. This type of planning will improve your productivity by focusing on your strengths and enabling you to find people whose strengths can fill gaps in your business.

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          If you notice you procrastinate on certain tasks because you dread doing them, this can be a sign of a lack of planning. All top business people are results oriented, which is a quality that comes from years of developing planning skills. You’ll find it infinitely easier to tackle a task you hate if you truly understand why you need to do it and where it fits into your plan. You won’t get where you want to go without some hard, gritty work along the way. A solid plan makes it easy to work at a steady place while producing productive results.

          Don’t freak out when you get stuck — it happens.

          Feeling useless is a bad feeling for anyone, but it’s particularly disheartening for entrepreneurs. Getting stuck can cause us to doubt our abilities and ourselves, and leave us grasping at straws for a solution. The most important thing I’ve observed about getting stuck is that it all depends on how you handle it. The more you stress yourself with negative thoughts and depressing dialogue, the harder you’ll find it to break out of a crisis.

          The next time you get stuck, take a step back and re-frame the situation in your mind. Realize that you’re not stuck, but you’re now faced with a task that will benefit your business and increase your skills when you accomplish it. Find a way to put a positive spin on the situation that has you feeling stuck. This is a good time to think about your long-term goals and what you hope to accomplish through your business. Surely the task that has you stuck will take you one step closer to achieving one of your goals once you complete it. If not, maybe you’re working on the wrong things.

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            Taking breaks is an excellent way to get out of being stuck and avoid being stuck in the first place. I noticed that once I committed to taking breaks in between tasks, I felt more relaxed and better able to handle my work. This ties in with the last point of reacting versus responding. When I take a break, I’m able to relax and change my perspective and approach to my work. Watch how much better you feel taking breaks in between tasks instead of plowing away for hours at a time. Exercising and mediation are my two favorite activities to do in my short breaks in-between tasks. Breaking up your work into chunks will help you avoid getting stuck in the first place.

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              All in all, it’s not deleting your social media accounts or waking up at 4 AM that makes you become productive. The good and bad news is that your own productivity is entirely up to you. You can choose to be productive by changing the way you approach things. It won’t be easy, but it is effective. If you’re feeling unproductive, the first step is to stop and reevaluate. Look at what you’re doing and search for areas to improve. Make sure your lifestyle (eating properly, exercising, sleeping) supports you getting all your work done. Make a plan that you can follow that can be your guiding light for your daily tasks. Finally, remember not to freak out about getting stuck. Simply take a step back and reevaluate.

              Your approach to productivity has to be 100% personal, especially as an entrepreneur. You need to decide that you will be productive and commit to finding techniques that work for you. I hope you can use this article as a reference point to help you understand how to intelligently increase your productivity, not through gimmicks, but through effort and a refreshed perspective.

              Featured photo credit: business by Pakhnyushchyy via 0.s3.envato.com

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              Anand Mishra

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              Published on November 14, 2018

              Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

              Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

              With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

              For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

              In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

              Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

              Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

              It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

              For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

              Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

              Symptoms of Fatigue

              Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

              • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
              • mental blocks
              • lack of motivation
              • headache
              • dizziness
              • muscle weakness
              • slowed reflexes and responses
              • impaired decision-making and judgement
              • moodiness, such as irritability
              • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
              • reduced immune system function
              • blurry vision
              • short-term memory problems
              • poor concentration
              • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

              Causes of Fatigue

              The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

              • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
              • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
              • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
              • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

              Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

              Medical Causes of Fatigue

              If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

              Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

              Anemia

              Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

              Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

              There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

              Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

              Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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              This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

              Diabetes

              Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

              Sleep Apnea

              Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

              Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

              Thyroid disease

              An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

              Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

              • Lack of sleep
              • Too much sleep 
              • Alcohol and drugs 
              • Sleep disturbances 
              • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
              • Poor diet 

              Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

              • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
              • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
              • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
              • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

              Psychological Causes of Fatigue

              Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

              • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
              • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
              • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

              How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

              Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

              1. Tell The Truth

              Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

              To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

              Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

              The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

              One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

              • How you feel
              • What time of day it is
              • What may have contributed to your fatigue
              • How your mind and body reacts

              This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

              2. Reduce Your Commitments

              When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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              If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

              When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

              Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

              3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

              If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

              Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

              If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

              Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

              Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

              4. Express More Gratitude

              Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

              It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

              Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

              5. Focus On Yourself

              Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

              There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

              But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

              We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

              6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

              Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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              Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

              The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

              Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

              7. Take a Power Nap

              When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

              Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

              This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

              8. Take More Exercise

              The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

              Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

              The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

              You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

              9. Get More Quality Sleep

              To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

              Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

              My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

              10. Improve Your Diet

              Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

              Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

              On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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              To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

              Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

              Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

              11. Manage Your Stress Levels

              Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

              When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

              Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

              My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

              12. Get Hydrated

              Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

              Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

              If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

              The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

              The Bottom Line

              These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

              If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

              Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
              [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
              [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
              [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
              [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
              [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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