Motivation is something that doesn’t come easily for many of us, for some it’s near impossible.
A side-effect of that is that it often has a negative impact on our productivity, be it at university, at work or just in every day life.
We all have our little hacks for motivating ourselves, personally I like to steamroll my way through 17 cups of coffee over the course of a day, but that’s just me.
For anyone looking for a different method, perhaps one that isn’t ruining your insides, there’s a pretty hefty list of proposed tips for boosting your productivity.
Here’s a five of the most common ones we could find that have been backed by science.
Work in 90 minute periods
One of the most common trains of thought is to work in 90 minute periods with a 20 minute rest in between. Working flat-out through the day is generally thought to be counter-productive.
Your bodies ‘Ultradian Rhythm’ is basically the frequency your brain is working at. The cycles involve high-frequency brain activity for around 90 minutes followed by low-frequency for about 20.
When we’ve got a ton of stuff to do is easy to slip into the habit of trying to do it all at once.
Whilst we may think we’re doing some good our brains aren’t actually multitasking, they’re just switching rapidly between tasks. This leaves them much less efficient, with some claiming that it actually reduces productivity by 40%.
Take a Nap
Hear us out on this one, we’re not just clutching at straws, honestly.
Obviously this isn’t really feasible at work, but if you’re studying or working from home it’s a pretty handy tactic. Usually after lunch our serotonin and dopamine levels take a dip, leaving us sluggish.
A 20 minute power nap can have a range of positive effects. Helping us with cognition, memory, performance, reaction times and general alertness.
It may seem a bit of a basic one but it’s something so many people neglect. On top of the obvious physical benefits it has a pretty huge affect on our productivity too.
This is largely due to exercise increasing blood flow to the brain, meaning we’re more alert and ready to take on big tasks.
We’re not saying you have to put in a full cardio workout every morning, things like walking to work or taking the stairs all contribute.
Work in natural light
It’s barely a secret that our surroundings will impact our work but how many times have you sat in a dark room with your laptop trying to work or study?
Researchers at the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program at Northwestern University suggest a direct correlation between natural light and productivity.
“Those with windows in the workplace received 173% more white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night.”