6 Ways To Make Productivity A Habit
The world of technology has created an interesting dichotomy of time. We find ourselves busier than ever but are also bombarded with distractions. These distractions are tempting to indulge in when we’re tired, or only have half an hour between meetings or appointments. But if we find ways to fill our downtime with activities to improve our productivity, we’ll find that we end up with more time, not less.
Improve A Skill
We all have things we’re interested in. Maybe we’ve always had a knack for writing. Or have loved decorating rooms or designing houses. No matter what we’re interested in, there is any number of ways we can improve our skills.
The easiest way is using technology as a productivity tool. YouTube likely has entire channels dedicated to the hobby or skill set we’re interested in. If we’re not technologically savvy, we can look at community centers or even see if classes are offered at our local college or university. No matter which direction we choose, getting better at doing something we love is one of the best ways to exercise our brain.
Learn A New Language
Learning a new language has a myriad of brain benefits, including slowing the aging process and improving overall brain function. We also improve our own language skills, in terms of vocabulary and grammar, as we get better at the foreign language.
And learning a new language has never been easier. We can download an app, take an online class, or sign up for in-person classes. If we want to build our language skills for business opportunities or job promotions, following a structured curriculum with an emphasis on the technical aspects of the language is ideal. And learning through conversation or by watching popular media content with a native speaker is an excellent way to practice.
Throughout history and even in modern times, one of the activities successful individuals engaged in is journaling. While in the past, journaling was an elite activity due to the expense of ink and paper, it’s far more accessible today.
Journaling helps us process emotions, reduces stress, helps us gauge momentum and success over time, and even works to improve our memory. It can boost our creativity, increase our focus, and improve overall cognitive function. The best part is, there is no wrong way to journal. You can do bullet journals, focusing on lists. Journal every morning with goals and follow up in the evening with results. Or simply free-write whenever you have time. It can be done by hand, electronically in a document, or even in an app.
When our body moves, our brain grooves, which is why exercise is an excellent way to improve brain health. Moving our body releases happy hormones in our brain, which work to not only improve our mood but reduce our stress. It helps stimulate new growth in our brain, increases focus and productivity, and improves memory.
The more our heart rate increases, the more blood it pumps, bringing higher levels of oxygen and nutrients to our brain. And the best part is we can find exercises that fit into our schedules, including right at our desk. The rise of apps means we don’t need to go to the gym or spend dedicated time engaging in complicated routines. By finding the right exercise regime, we can add movement to our day in small increments.
What do we want to get out of the day? The week? The next five years? Our brain likes goals. It likes having a purpose and direction. And it likes variety in our goals. When we set small, incremental goals throughout our day, helping us complete projects and move through our schedule, we are activating the reward system in our brain. This is a powerful process and it is vital in cementing behaviors into habits.
While it’s important to have goals we can reach, our brain also likes having stretch goals. Things far out or that require a lot of focus and effort to achieve. These types of goals actually change the structure of our brain, altering the way we think. Once we set a goal, our brain pushes itself to reach it, helping us grow and improve along the way.
“Readers are leaders”, they say. No matter if you read fiction or nonfiction, the brain benefits are enormous. Reading improves brain connectivity, increases vocabulary, raises comprehension levels, strengthens concentration, and focus, all of which work to improve productivity.
It doesn’t matter if we read to learn or read to relax, simply reading works our whole brain. And it’s more accessible than ever. We can download an ebook to our phones or tablets, listen to audiobooks, or sit back with our favorite copy in print. Studies have shown reading only twenty pages a day can keep our brain flexible and agile, warding off premature aging. Reading can even help reduce stress.
The secret to a productive lifestyle is being able to identify the short periods of time we have available throughout our day and using them to our advantage. Ten-minute breaks can be instrumental in breaking through a project, simply by knowing how to use that time to come back refreshed and ready to work. By utilizing our downtime in focused ways, we can do more in less time with more brain energy, working smarter, not harder to achieve our limitless potential.