Day planners, email alerts, calendar updates, one more cup of coffee (or maybe three)… The list goes on and on. These are just a few of the things we’ve all tried at least once to increase our productivity and achieve our goals throughout the day. Sometimes it can feel like we need the planets to align and mercury to be out of retrograde for a productive, check-everything-off-the-list type of day to occur.
Yep. We get it. Our world is so laden with distractions that we rely heavily on other things to help us with our productivity. But, why is it that we forget to pay attention to the one thing that will truly help us generate more productivity naturally? The human body was not designed to sit still. We were designed to be active for a number of reasons, and it’s amazing how a little activity can go a long way.
Next time you’re feeling an unproductive slump, think about your weekly routine. Are you exercising enough? Is your lack of activity becoming lethal to your work output?
Here’s how exercise can help you be more productive, and ways you can take advantage of these benefits:
Add exercise to your morning routine
There’s nothing like a great workout to kick-start your body into gear. When you exercise, you increase your blood flow and your entire body begins to fire on all cylinders. Getting a workout done in the morning or at lunch, whether it’s a 25-minute jog or a 45-minute bootcamp class, can foster the mental and physical (energy) benefits that help power us through the day.
By creating a morning routine that includes exercise, you’ll see your productivity appear in different areas of your life, not just in your physical activity. According to the Georgetown University Journal of Health Sciences, “incorporating this change in lifestyle allows for better concentrations in one’s daily activities.” When we’re consistently working out, we’re more likely to stay on top of our daily “chores”, from maintaining a clean house and office, to prepping our meals for the week - leaving us with more time to tackle those projects that come up through the work week.
Exercise clears your mind
As mentioned, physical activity increases blood flow throughout the body, including to the brain. Where there’s more blood, there’s more energy and oxygen, which allows the brain to operate better.
When you clear your mind, you’re getting rid of all of the stressors that trigger your anxiety each day, whether you realize it or not. Our minds are often jumbled with work, chores, family, money, you name it. Starting your day with a clean slate allows you to focus on your items at work without ‘what on Earth am I going to make for dinner tonight’ getting in the way.
Be more intentional
First, let’s think about that word: intentional. What does this even mean? Think about your actions throughout the day. Maybe you fill out spreadsheets, speak on conference calls, present big ideas to decision makers. You’re constantly communicating with other people, even when you might not notice. For instance, everyone interprets body language one way or another, even if we don’t mean to. Being intentional with communication, such as your body language, can help with many aspects of life, including your work productivity and relationships.
When you make the choice to take care of your body, you’re making the choice to take care of all aspects of your life. The same way exercise increases your mental clarity, it also increases your mental focus. You’ll think more intentionally about how you go about your daily tasks, helping you execute your goals more effectively and efficiently.
Exercise = endorphins = happiness
Ever had a bad morning, day, or week, and tried to be productive? It’s hard. How can someone be expected to finish a report when all they can think about is the horrible ending of that Netflix series the night before, or Ross and Rachel’s breakup, and whether or not they were on a break (they were).
Have you ever had a really great workout and then felt a euphoric rush afterwards? That’s because exercise gives you endorphins, which make you happy. Don’t believe us? Ask Elle Woods. Attitude is everything, and the right outlook has the ability to shift your entire perspective. When you tackle your day with a positive mindset, you’ll shift from seeing obstacles as roadblocks in your way and start seeing the solutions to move past them.
Are you ready to leave procrastination and idleness behind?