How To Boost Your Productivity, According To Science [Infographic]
Posted August 11, 2016, by Vivien Luu
Key takeaway points on productivity hacks:
1. The perfect performance ratio is 90:20
To get the most out of your day, work in 90 minute bursts followed by a 20 minute break. By doing this you will:
- Increase your awareness
- Improve focus
- Boost your energy levels
2. Stop multitasking (it’s killing your productivity by 40%)
According to science, there’s no such thing as multitasking.
Our brains don’t actually work that way, and can’t juggle two tasks at once. Instead, the brain actually switches from task to task – something that makes you inefficient and ineffectual.
3. Take a power nap after lunch!
This sounds ridiculous, but after lunch our body’s serotonin and dopamine levels take a serious dive – causing you to feel sluggish and tired. That’s why science recommends taking a power nap!
To get the perfect productivity-boosting nap, you should:
- Nap between 1pm-4pm
- Find somewhere quiet and dark to snooze
- Nap for no more than 20 mins, or over 90 mins to avoid feeling groggy
4. Exercise more (and do it at work!)
Studies show that workers who exercise on a regular basis are more productive than their sedentary collegues.
A Swedish study found that exercise at work mean that employees:
- Had a greater capacity for work
- Got more done
- Were sick less often
5. Crank your favourite tunes
A study found that surgeons who listened to their favourite music during surgery worked more accurately. Their response times were quicker, and they were better at problem solving.
So crank up the volume and listen to your favourite beats at work!
Top tips for listening to music at work:
- Pick music you like
- Go instrumental (lyrics can be distracting)
- If you’re learning a new skill, hit the pause button
6. Google baby animals
Finally science gives us an excuse to keep YouTubing hilariously cute animals.
According to a Japanese study, looking at pictures of baby animals like kittens and puppies can improve your concentration and focus!
Want to improve your productivity but struggle with chronic procrastinating? Here’s a 5 minute read that will help you stop procrastinating now…not later.
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2. Caldwell, J. 2008. Operational Evidence of Fatigue: Sleep and Psychomotor Performance during Commercial Ultra-Long Range Flights, Federal Aviation Administration.
3. Schulz, H & Lavie, P. 2011. Ultradian Rhythms in Psychology and Behaviour, Springer: New York
4. Anders Ericsson et al. 1993. The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance, Psychological Review, The American Psychology Association, Vol. 100, No.3 pp 363-406
5. CNN, 2005. Emails ‘hurt IQ more than pot’, CNN. http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/04/22/text.iq/index.html?_s=PM:WORLD
6. Lapowsky, I. 2013, Don’t Multitask: Your Brain Will Thank You, Time Magazine. http://business.time.com/2013/04/17/dont-multitask-your-brain-will-thank-you/
7. Kleiman, J. 2013, How Multitasking Hurts Your Brain (And Your Effectiveness at Work), Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2013/01/15/how-multitasking-hurts-your-brain-and-your-effectiveness-at-work/
8. Smolensky, M & Lamberg, L. 2001. The Body Clock Guide to Better Health: How to Use your Body’s Natural Clock to Fight Illness and Achieve Maximum Health, Holt Paperbacks, New York
9. May, A. 2013, Why you need a nana nap, The Age, www.theage.com.au/executive-style/management/why-you-need-a-nana-nap-20130705-2pgd1.html
10. Palazzolo, R. 2013, Sleep Experts Call for Siestas, ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117147
11. Science Daily, 2011. Exercise at Work Boosts Productivity, Swedish researchers find, Science Daily, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110906121011.htm
12. Erickson KL et al, 2011. Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Vol. 108, No. 7, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21282661
13. Padnani, A. 2012, The Power of Music, Tapped in Cubicle, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/jobs/how-music-can-improve-worker-productivity-workstation.html?_r=2&
14. Moore, K. 2010, Your Musical Self: Using music to learn, heal and live, Psychology Today, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-musical-self/201005/music-and-productivity-5-ideas-using-music-boost-performance
15. Nittono, H et al. 2012, The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behaviour and Narrows Attentional Focus, PLOS One,
Viv is a writer who enjoys researching and writing about creativity, how the human mind works, and neuro processes. She values creativity above all else and admires people who pursue their career dreams, no matter the sacrifice. In her spare time, she binges on HBO shows and epic fantasy novels.