There are only a few weeks left until college professors lay down the law. Not only are they (not so) kindly requesting a few final papers, but also assigning every exam and group presentation for the same exact day. Yikes! As the school year comes to a close and my internship begins to conclude (tear), I have noticed my productivity level beginning to lag.
When our productivity hits this brick wall, we sometimes feel as if we can’t possibly do anything, nor do we really want to do anything. The smallest tasks become some of our biggest chores. Oftentimes we turn to caffeine to keep us awake hours into the night because we feel as if there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish the daunting tasks on our to do lists.
With only about a month left before summer break, utilize this list of five ways to be more productive in order to get your work completed on time.
1. Eat super foods. The leftover carry-out Chinese from last night’s dinner is not going to fuel your body and give you the energy you need to complete the day’s projects. I am not just speaking from personal experience, it’s been scientifically proven! Instead of reaching for a 44 ounce soda and super-size bag of Cheetos, try some of these foods Entrepreneur suggests will boost energy levels, along with other health benefits:
- Salmon – Improve alertness
- Nuts and Seeds – Help curb cravings
- Berries – Keep you focused
- Avocado – Improve your concentration
- Green Tea – healthy coffee alternative
- Fresh Vegetables – avoid blood sugar crashes
- Dark Chocolate – lower stress
2. Take time to exercise. We know that exercise is good for us, but how many of us can justify taking time out of our busy schedules to implement? According to the Mayo Clinic, physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients to our tissues, helping our cardiovascular systems work more efficiently and boosting our energy. As a general goal, we should be aiming for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Not only will it improve our productivity but it can also help control weight, combat health conditions and diseases, improve mood, promote better sleep, and put the spark back into our sex lives (ooh la-la!).
3. Avoid multitasking. In other words, focus on one activity at a time. When we multitask, we are interfering with our brain’s ability to perform at max-capacity. We have all seen the person who sits in class or work meetings anxiously typing on his laptop, jotting down notes, checking his phone, and nodding his head in agreement all at the same time. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, there’s growing evidence that multitasking may be hurting our productivity level and causing us to become worse thinkers.
When we multitask, we are often in a state of stress and become unable to recognize opportunities and solutions that are right in from of us. Think about it. If we drive and talk on the phone at the same time, we may believe we are aware of everything around us, until we rear end the car right in front of us. The same goes with multitasking.
4. Give yourself a break. If you’re like me, you get a sense of satisfaction when you get to cross off a nagging assignment on your to-do-list. As tempting as it might be to power through task after task, researchers have found that doing this will increase stress and exhaustion. According to a 2011 study, taking regular breaks can significantly improve one’s ability to focus, particularly those who work at a computer.
In this study, University of Illinois psychology professor, Alejandro Lleras, tested a person’s ability to focus on computer tasks for an hour. The results: Participants who took two brief breaks saw no drop in their performance compared to the participants who worked straight through the hour.
5. Laugh it off. As the saying goes, laughter is the world’s best medicine. Laughter not only adds joy and zest to life, but it also relieves stress, improves mood, boosts immunity, strengthens relationships, and enhances teamwork. When you are feeling stressed, upset, or frazzled, take the time to sit back, relax, and laugh off the negative emotions. Watch silly kitten videos on YouTube or read hysterical, nonsense articles on BuzzFeed.
How about finishing your break now and work those abdominal muscles with these hilarious photos:
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