Our daily habits, no matter how inconsequential they may seem, affect our performance in life. Although there are a lot of things that we have no control over, we can choose whether to adopt the right habits or not. The habits we have are certainly within our awareness and we do have a say over them.
Habits are the foundation of our lives and they can either set us up for success or failure. When it comes to productivity at work, we certainly have habits that sabotage our well-being and performance.
If you think your productivity has suffered long enough, you may be engaging in these behaviors.
1. Working too much in front of the computer with no breaks.
Excessive screen time has ill effects on your brain, which leads to decreased performance at work. According to Psychology Today, brain scan research has shown that screen addiction shrinks the gray matter in your brain. Gray matter is your brain tissue that’s responsible for processing information. Shrinkage in the gray matter leads to impaired cognitive abilities as well as poor planning and organizational skills.
To prevent this from happening, set limits for yourself. Make a concerted effort to get away from your desk after 45 minutes of staring at your screen. Stand up and take a 15-minute walk around the office building. If not, grab a coffee with your co-worker or use this time to make important phone calls.
2. Skipping meals.
You need adequate fuel each day through food so you can function at your best. If you think that skipping meals is harmless, you’re wrong. The sad truth is that meal skipping is common among employees who hurry off to work each morning or fail to take their lunch break so they can get stuff done. Meal time is worth taking.
When you miss out on a regular meal, your blood sugar levels drop. Frequent fluctuations in blood sugar can lead to diabetes. Skipping meals can also decrease your focus and energy as well as increase your stress at work. To keep your metabolism running to stay alerted throughout the day, make sure to eat every 4 hours. Don’t hesitate to take that well-deserved lunch break. Wake up earlier so you have more time to eat your breakfast.
3. Snacking excessively.
Snacking is essential to our well-being and productivity because it helps prevent hunger pangs and gives us additional nutrients that we are unable to consume in our regular meals. However, people have the tendency of taking the importance of snacking for granted by mindlessly eating too much. Worse, they binge on the wrong snacks.
To prevent uncontrolled snacking, eat more mindfully. Pay attention not only to the serving size of your snacks but also their quality. A good idea to practice portion control at the office is to prepare a healthy food to snack on before you leave home for work. Choose high-fiber snacks that help you feel full longer such as Greek yogurt with nuts and blueberries, broth-based soup, and celery sticks with peanut butter.
4. Being stuck inside the office the entire day.
Don’t you know that the poor air quality in your office affects your ability to perform and make decisions? It has been found out that employees who work in “green” offices can think and respond better to a crisis because of lower air pollution and carbon dioxide levels.
As a manager, encourage your staff members to take breaks outside to get a breath of fresh air. Some workplaces have gardens or trees outside that help people relax and de-stress.
5. Failure to exercise.
The worst habit that could wreak havoc on your productivity is not exercising. Daily physical activity not only contributes to better health, it also improves your mental functions. Exercise promotes better learning and higher thinking. Moreover, it boosts the release of happy hormones in our bodies. No wonder doctors prescribe working out as one of the treatments for depression.
An excellent way to incorporate exercise in your employee engagement program is to conduct team building activities outdoors. This will allow team members to move and run. Some great ideas include Sack Race and Scavenger Hunt.
6. Eating in front of the computer.
Whether you need to take a meal break or snack break, avoid the habit of eating in front of your computer. Your computer can serve as a huge distraction and this prevents you from paying attention to your stomach’s satiation signals. In effect, you’ll tend to eat more and feel less satisfied because you haven’t really appreciated the meal that’s right in front of you.
Remember that overeating because of being distracted can decrease your productivity. Savor the experience of eating and you’ll consume the right amount of food to feel comfortably full.
7. Drinking too much caffeine.
While coffee has several benefits, drinking too much of it can lead to symptoms that affect your day at work. According to an article on Inc, the overuse of caffeine can put a person at risk for adverse effects. These include heartburn, anxiety, stomach disturbances, and irritability.
If you find coffee as a great day starter, limit yourself to 3 to 5 eight-ounce cups per day. Be careful not to add too much sugar and creamer. They could cause your blood sugar level to spike.
8. Poor posture.
Sitting all day in a poor posture can lead to back problems, lower energy levels (leading to poor mood), and gastrointestinal disturbances. Moreover, a poor posture can increase your stress at work. Slouching can compress your body and this leads to less efficiency in breathing.
Start improving your posture at work by sitting upright and opening your chest. Another useful strategy is to get yourself an ergonomic chair – something without a back rest. This helps you to sit up straight. A kneeling chair is also great for maintaining the proper curvature of your spine.
Nearly all your accomplishments or problems at work result from your everyday habits. To better shape your work life, cultivate the right habits so you can be more productive, happy, and healthy. You’ll be surprised of the tremendous benefits of the small changes you make.