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The Science Of Sleep: 8 Secrets About Sleep And Productivity I Wish I Knew Earlier

The Science Of Sleep: 8 Secrets About Sleep And Productivity I Wish I Knew Earlier

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that sleep is important. It rejuvenates the body, refreshes the mind, and if you go too long without it, it can literally kill you.

1. You approach the end of the work day with more energy

According to studies, if you don’t get enough sleep, you reach exhaustion around 11% faster than people who get enough sleep. That may not sound like a lot but in an 8 hour work day, that’s the difference between getting tired at 4:15 P.M. and getting tired at 5 P.M. That last 45 minutes can be some of the most productive of the day if you’re awake enough to experience it.

2. You react to things better and more quickly

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    After just two days of not getting enough sleep, your reaction speed and attention span are absolutely shot. Not paying attention to something or not reacting to it in a timely manner can happen three times more often after just a couple of days of not sleeping well. When you’re not paying attention or reacting to events in the workplace, you may struggle more with assignments and work in general. It’s not worth staying up late to watch Netflix. Get some sleep.

    3. You won’t put it off til the last minute so often

    Lack of sleep has been linked to procrastination. When you don’t sleep well, your energy levels are low and that means you simply don’t feel like doing the work you normally do. This can tank your productivity and actually make you procrastinate.

    4. You’ll be in a better mood to do work

    There is a mental feeling of well-being when you get enough sleep and it shows when you show up for work. You’re happier, more energetic, and when you sit down at your desk you’re more prepared to tackle the day. It’s psychological but it’s still tangible because there is no doubt that you get more work done when you’re rested and prepared for the day as opposed to getting terrible sleep.

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    5. You will approach jobs like you’re not drunk

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      According to a British medical journal, going 17-19 hours without sleep makes your brain act the same way it would if you had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.05 (the same you’d get if a 140-pound woman drank two glasses of wine an hour). If you reach the 24 hour mark, that goes up to 0.10. In some states, that’s not even sober enough to drive. With better sleep comes better clarity and with better clarity comes more productivity.

      6. You will solve problems better

      Famous minds like Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison loved their nap times. That’s because they always had a problem to solve and sleeping can help you with that. When you sleep, your brain is still pretty active sorting out things and solving problems. When you wake up, your brain is fresh to tackle new problems and continue to solve old ones.

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      7. You approach work more creatively

      Sometimes it’s how hard you work, it’s how you work. When you’re tired, you may be too zombified to find more productive ways of doing things. After a good night’s rest, you may not just be ready for a hard day’s work but you may approach your problems more creatively which can help you work smarter not harder. Who knew that having more energy could actually save you more energy? Aside from every scientist ever and now you, of course!

      8. You will have a better memory

      Have you ever left your job and halfway home remembered that you forgot to do something? Or been on your way to work and realize your forgot something important at home. When you get good sleep, you’ll likely start remembering those things before you’re in the car on your way to your next destination. Like we discussed, sleeping kind of helps the brain clean its own slate and that means you have less on your mind to push the stuff you need to remember out of the way.

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        Sleeping is important. It doesn’t take science to tell you that. Aside from the dozens of health benefits, sleep can also help make you more productive and help you enjoy your job more. The bottom line advise here is the same as it always is. Get more sleep!

        Featured photo credit: Incredible Things via incrediblethings.com

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        Last Updated on September 17, 2018

        How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

        How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

        Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

        Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

        All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

        Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

        How bad really is multitasking?

        It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

        Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

        This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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        We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

        So what to do about it?

        Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

        Now, forget about how to multitask!

        Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

        1. Get enough rest

        When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

        This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

        When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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        2. Plan your day

        When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

        When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

        Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

        3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

        I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

        I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

        Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

        4. When at your desk, do work

        We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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        Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

        5. Learn to say no

        Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

        Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

        By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

        6. Turn off notifications on your computer

        For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

        Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

        7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

        Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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        You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

        The bottom line

        Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

        Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

        Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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