What dictates our productivity?
From external distractions to life stresses, a lack of sleep or a lack of nutrition, productivity is best described as a daily balancing act. By balancing, we mean on top of a ball being held by a gorilla swinging around the top of a Tesla going 80 miles per hour through a metropolitan area.
We can all relate.
The “secret” to productivity is one of the most sought-after business topics on the web. Ask Richard Branson and he’ll tell you it’s exercise; Entrepreneur.com claims it’s taking time off; Psychology Today lists it as “doing more of nothing.” You’ve likely found a tactic that works for you as well.
The fact is that, as we are all different kinds of people, we’ll need to address the parts of humanity that are universal in order to come up with what truly constitute the “secrets” to productivity; essential behaviors that will allow you (and anyone else who characterizes themselves as human) to feel better about performance.
So, what are these universal truths? Largely, they lie in biology and emotion.
Plenty of exercise and fresh air
As early as 10 years ago, researchers found that professionals who take time out of their day to exercise are more productive as a whole than those who lock themselves away for hours at a time.
A healthy diet
As reported by Business News Daily, “Workers who [eat] healthful meals and exercise on a regular basis [have] better job performance and lower absenteeism.”
We like vehicle-inspired analogies, so we’ll take advantage of the opportunity to illustrate one here.
Imagine you have a beautiful car that you worked very hard for; you put a lot of hours into maintaining it, changing its oil and providing it the gas it needs to perform to its maximum potential. Then imagine that one day, you cease maintaining it at all, instead filling it with bottom-of-the-barrel oil and neglecting its general upkeep. It won’t perform half as well as it had when you’d kept it up.
In this same way, our bodies serve as machines, subbing twinkies and soda for gas and oil.
Fostering a constructive atmosphere
Being around agreeable, positive people is a massive boon to one’s productivity. What’s more, research shows that altruism, positivity and optimism don’t only serve our mental abilities but have tangible physical affects. More on that here.
Sharing success with your team
Camaraderie and support are vital. Any success should be celebrated, appreciated and acknowledged. The most rapid way to lay ruin to morale is to focus on the bad more so than the good, a way of life that can often be difficult to stick to in high-pressure positions but that, if mastered, carries incredible benefit.