The first way to being healthier and becoming more productive is following a proper diet. Eating right and drinking the right fluids will help provide energy and lead to getting things done.
When I was really struggling with my productivity and health, I was drinking cup after cup of coffee and had barely any regular water intake. I would live off of the caffeine and then go back for more when I would run out of energy.
The other main problem I had was I would comfort eat. Working in a large office, someone always brings treats that are less than healthy – donuts when management comes into town or pizza when we celebrate some obscure holiday.
While I might eat better at home, I would inhale this junk food because it was comforting and tasted good. However, it would also snuff out my energy and make me have terrible sugar highs and lows.
When I started to make changes, I ate healthier foods in smaller portions and drank tons of water. There was definitely a detox-like period when switching from high calories and caffeine to food with actual nutrition, but it was worth it.
I started to experience better energy and clarity throughout the day. Most of all, my physical and mental strength sustained for longer periods of time. I could get more done during those longer time frames.
And all it took was a few changes:
First, I drank only two cups of coffee a day – one in the morning and one right after lunch. The rest of the day I drank water. Have a reusable water bottle at your desk and keep it full with ice cold water. If the water gets warm, just dump it out and get more ice water. This will help!
Second, I reduced my sugar intake to nearly zero. There is a ton of research out there that sugar is a killer. Sugar consumption leads to a lot of dire health issues. I cut it out of my diet, and surprisingly, the world didn’t end. Now I try to use more natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup for my coffee – anything but the white sugar packets.
Third, I ate a lot of vegetables and proteins. I do not have any science to back this up, but I use my fist to measure appropriate portion size and follow a two to one ratio of veggies to protein. If I do this, I tend to feel less sluggish and more focused.
This is your next action; drink more water, forget the sugar, and eat more vegetables and protein.
I will be very honest with you. Proper sleep can be the most difficult if you have small children. When I first started making healthy changes to improve my productivity, we had a one-year-old, and she wasn’t always sleeping through the night.
If she didn’t get a full night of sleep, then I wouldn’t get a full night of sleep either. And sometimes, I might sleep six to eight hours, but it would be constantly interrupted.
We need a solid six to eight hours of sleep to recharge our mental, emotional, and physical selves.
When we get better sleep, we not only have more energy but we also tend to be kinder and more understanding. Our bodies have the ability to repair muscles and maintain a strong immune system, leading to less sick days away from work.
We must make sleep a priority. But how do we do it?
I don’t nap every day. However, if I am up multiple times or for long stretches during the night, I take a nap at some point in the afternoon. At my office, we don’t have fancy napping chairs like Google, so I go to my car, put the seat back with a pillow and sleep.
This takes practice; it is hard to sleep in a car. However, I have a small travel pillow and a blanket to help me feel more like a bed, and then I turn on white noise and get 30 to 60 minutes when I need it.
So here is your next action: How much sleep do you get at night? If it isn’t enough, take a 30-minute nap once a week during the day. You will see a huge change in your productivity. And your health.