Five Habits to Increase Productivity This Holiday Season and Beyond

November 7, 2014 Providence Health Team

Healthy ways to increase productivity.You know the people who get more done by 9 a.m. than you dream of accomplishing in an entire day? What have they got that you don’t? And, how are they physically able to “do it all” – with a smile, no less – and still maintain their sanity? Want to be one of those people? Give these healthy habits a try.


Oxygen begets energy. Without enough O2, you’re basically useless – your brain can’t concentrate, your muscles get sluggish – and nothing gets accomplished. Increasing your oxygen intake will give you the energy to stay productive throughout a busy day. Here’s how to keep your levels up from start to finish.

Exercise. Motivate yourself to get 30 minutes of exercise four days a week. Include aerobic activities like power walking or running and anaerobic muscle-building exercises like weight lifting and calisthenics in your training schedule. Exercise oxygenates your blood and keeps your metabolism charged for hours afterwards. So, the earlier you work out, the better. And, change up your routine to keep your body challenged, to build your muscles and stamina.

Eat right. Food has calories – and oxygen – to supply essential energy. Food can also make you lethargic and tired (think Thanksgiving dinner). So, make sure you’re eating the right things to boost oxygen levels in your blood cells – like nutrient-rich raw fruits and green vegetables (antioxidants), beans and legumes (iron), fish and eggs (B12) and nuts and seeds (copper). Eat small meals every few hours to keep adequately fueled, but not bogged down.

Stand up. Hunching over a computer (or book) all day takes its toll. Your chest collapses and your diaphragm presses against lungs, making it hard to breathe. Stand up (or sit up tall), inhale deeply, and you’ll instantly be filled with oxygen and energized – ready to charge ahead with your day.

Keep it Cool

A warm room saps your energy. Turn the thermostat down – you’ll be amazed at how you pep up. The optimal room temperature for working (and concentrating) is between 69 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Dress so you don’t get too cold or hot in your specific work environment – and you’ll perform at your peak.


Make a list tonight of the most important things you’ll accomplish tomorrow. Prioritize just one or two things – the rest you can do as time permits. You’ll sleep better knowing that you have goals – and a purpose. Even if they’re seemingly inconsequential mini-goals, mental planning is an important step toward being productive.

Organizing tasks in your mind clears a path for your body to work hard and achieve what you need (and want) to get done. Remember, 10 minutes of preparation at night can save you two or three hours the next day.


Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool. And, if you get a solid seven to eight hours of sleep tonight – you’ll get more done tomorrow. Undisturbed sleep refreshes your body and mind, guaranteeing you’ll be energized and alert when you awake. But don’t sleep too long. Studies reveal that more than nine hours of sleep can have the reverse effect – and lead to back pain, fatigue and an increased risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, even death – all things that make you less productive.


When you wake up, drink a big glass of water. Check. Meditate (or work out) for 20 minutes. Check. Eat a healthy breakfast (steel cut oatmeal or eggs). Check.

Whatever your morning ritual, stick to it. You will have signaled your brain that it’s time to get down to business (be it work, exercise or school) – and positioned yourself on today’s road to success. Remember, the manner in which you begin your day is likely the way you’ll finish it.

Try these five tactics, and make them your new habits. You’ll soon be the highly productive person you strive to be each and every day.

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