The modern world is obsessed with finding the key to being productive at work. Many modern trends focus on things like utilizing tech tools to automate mundane tasks as well as flexible work hours and remote-work capabilities. While these can all help to a degree, they can only get you so far. At a certain point, productivity becomes dependent on the current condition of your own mental and physical health, as well.
The Need to Work Smarter, Not Harder
The biggest problem with many of the modern productivity tools is that they are often accompanied by an expectation to work harder. A workflow app that helps you stay organized naturally encourages you to put more time into grinding away at other work. The ability to work from home comes with an implicit need to always be available at all hours of the day or night.
The truth is, this pressure to over-perform isn’t just unhealthy. It can be detrimental to the very productivity that it supposedly enhances. Instead, employees and employers alike should take the time to focus on their physical and mental health to tap into the plethora of productivity benefits that a well-fueled body, mind, and soul can offer.
With that in mind, here are several of the best ways to care for your physical and mental health, along with the benefits that each activity can have — particularly on your work productivity.
Tend to the Basics
First thing’s first, if you want to be able to maintain your productivity, you must be able to care for your physical body. This doesn’t just mean taking a nap today or eating a healthy breakfast tomorrow. You must set up hearty healthy routines that you can maintain far into the future. Three of the most important basics to address are:
- Eating a healthy diet: This isn’t about weight loss, it’s about properly fueling your body. Find a diet that works for you and then put the time in to stick to it.
- Sleeping well: Make sure you’re getting between 7 and 9 hours of quality sleep and try to keep your bedroom as a space specifically reserved for your slumberous rest. Even if you work from your bedroom, make sure your bed itself is only used to sleep. No working in bed!
- Exercising regularly: This can be a job in the morning, scheduled trips to the gym, or even setting up a good deskercise routine.
While the rest of the suggestions below are important, a well-fueled and cared for body should be seen as ground zero for proper mental and physical health.
Take Breaks Often
It’s recommended that you don’t spend more than two hours on any one activity. This means you should regularly be taking breaks throughout the workday. At times, these “breaks” can simply mean switching up the task that you’re working on. At other times it can be a legitimate break from work to rejuvenate yourself by getting some fresh air or even going for a walk.
If you’re a procrastinator, it’s still important to use breaks as a way to regulate your activity. Instead of taking advantage of the need for a break as an excuse to avoid work, though, time your activities and breaks to hold yourself accountable for both.
Unplug Every Day
Remote work has been heralded as a great innovation of the tech era, and it has certainly opened up the doors to greater productivity — even to a fault. In fact, an inability to unplug after work is the number one greatest challenge that remote workers struggle with.
If you want to remain productive, you mustn’t just take breaks throughout the day, but actually unplug from work when you’re done, as well. This lets your mind and body rest and recuperate. You can successfully unplug by looking for stress-free activities, giving yourself a virtual commute, or even deciding to do nothing for a while after work.
Tend to Real Self-Care
Finally, in addition to tending to basic needs, taking breaks, and consistently unplugging, it’s also wise to give yourself a little time for regular self-care. This is about genuine care and concern for yourself, which can be found through a variety of quality-focused activities like:
- Giving yourself time to slow down and be in the moment.
- Listening to your emotions, such as processing stress from a quarter-life crisis caused by a job search or a major professional decision.
- Scheduling PTO and vacations, as time off has been directly linked to successful careers.
- Taking advantage of training opportunities to better your professional skills and productivity.
By allowing yourself to mentally and physically benefit from your self-care activities, you can stay ready to put your best foot forward whenever you’re on the clock.
Finding Productivity In Your Health
While modern tools and technology are helpful, both physical and mental health are also essential elements of long-term productivity and success. These critical factors are often overlooked in the struggle to churn out productive work in a never-ending cycle.
Nevertheless, tending to the needs of your mind, body, and soul can keep you charged up, focused, and positive — all of which serve as productivity fertilizer as you go about your work every day.