We all know how important it is to be productive at work but what is the secret sauce?  Is it all about being the first to walk in and the last to leave?  How many cups of coffee you can possibly consume in a day?  How fast you can answer your emails??  Turns out that productivity has more to do with strategic planning than with being a workhorse…certainly being focused is important but recent research has pointed to some interesting and not always obvious strategies that can help you get more done. 

Here are a few tips I have picked up over the past year during my Bulletproof Executive Coach Training sessions - the first thing you want to do is turn off your notifications…all of them.  The brain adores distraction because then it feels busy…only then you get nothing done.  So.  Turn them off.

Hack 1

The Human Brain is built to work in short concentrated bursts.  Notice how after a certain period of time you become twitchy, you start shifting in your seat, yawning, stretching…checking social media….in other words you start to get distracted.  You’ve been sitting and pounding away at some project/proposal all morning and you are exhausted. 

Tomorrow - try this: set a timer on your phone to go off either every 60 or 90 minutes.  For most people 60 minutes is the sweet spot - but you decide.  When the timer goes off stop what you are doing.  Get up out of your chair.  Go for a walk to get water, to the washroom, even better, go outside and see real sunlight.  If you don’t mind drawing attention to yourself, jump up and down for a couple of minutes, breathe deeply….in other words - recharge and renew.  Bring light and oxygen into your body and give your brain a break.  Then.  Go back to work.

This may seem counterintuitive but time and time again I have given this strategy to clients and without fail they report back that they actually get more done. 

Hack 2

Hydrate.  Drink water.  All day - seriously.

Hack 3

Trade sugar for good fats and protein.  Stay away from grain based carbs during the day.  There’s a reason why you eat your rice at night - it helps you sleep ergo eating it at lunch is counterproductive. 

Hack 4

Adopt a higher fat, moderate protein diet at least during working hours getting most if not all of your carbs from vegetables.  This will stabilize your blood sugar while providing a steady source of energy to your brain - the end result is that you are no longer a slave to Tim Horton’s and Starbucks - you eat what and when you choose to.  Yes this is simply a different way of putting Hack 3 - it’s that important….give it a try.

Hack 5

Make lists.  At the end of your day - create a list of what you must get done tomorrow, then what you’d like to get done and then odds and ends.  When you walk in the office…DO NOT check your email.  Plow through your “A” list priorities (applying Hack #1)….when these are completed….check email.  then proceed accordingly.

In Closing

If you’ve made it this far, I commend you….you deserve a break.  Next time, we can get into some specific supplements on the market (aka Nootropics) that may help with focus and concentration.  Until then…work smart.

Want to Geek out on this stuff?  Check out Dr Robert Cooper’s website, newsletters and podcast - UpWire….He does a Friday edition that’s short, sweet and to the point.  Cheers!