It’s been a tough few years for the world, dealing with the fallout from Covid-19 and the huge impact that has had on many of our lives. It’s no secret that for many of us, the lockdowns were incredibly tough, throwing spanners, generously, into almost every facet of our lives.
With this on our shoulders comes a boat-load of stress, which can be a big problem for smokers, and vapers for that matter! Quite often, more stress means more vaping or smoking, which at the very least means more nicotine coming into the body - but for smokers, this means taking in a lot more harmful chemicals found in tobacco cigarettes.
So - instead of tearing your hair out, puffing on your vape like there’s no tomorrow, or worse: picking up another cigarette, what can we do to boost our productivity and improve our wellbeing?
HOW DO POSITIVE HABITS BOOST PRODUCTIVITY
Positive habits are behaviours that make us feel good, but quite often, it’s the result of hard work - ‘no pain, no gain’ as they say. Sometimes the degree of work changes, but we are essentially talking about using your time with a sense of purpose, to achieve something.
Whether it is a physical or mental task, achieving your goals produces rewarding feelings - these rewarding feelings then translate to reduced stress, which can help you be more productive!
This is what we call a positive feedback loop - getting something done encourages you to do more, which makes you feel good and reduces stress, helping you feel capable of doing more, so you do!
Habits that help you to do this will see you knocking tasks down like toy soldiers. Capitalise on this as more time means getting more stuff done and more time to relax when you’ve done everything - doesn’t that sound much more enjoyable than procrastinating and stressing out, while still having all of those tasks to complete?
STICK TO A ROUTINE
The easiest way to improve productivity is to literally increase the amount of time you have in the day - late risers: that means making a change to your daily routines and setting your alarm to wake up early!
OK - so you’re up early, what next? A good way to start your day would be to do a little exercise, even as little as 15 minutes will get the blood flowing, shaking off the remnants of sleep and making your brain and body feel synchronised.
If you can, try to eat at the same time everyday, allow for a degree of exercise, and get to bed at the same time to maximise the effectiveness of the routine.
Organising your tasks on a daily basis will help you manage your time to get the most out of your day. Allowing 30 minute slots for tasks - some tasks may take up several slots - gives you a framework to schedule tasks.
Don’t leave something for tomorrow that you can do today! Small tasks are easy to push back to another day, but this is missing a golden opportunity to get that hit of reward chemicals to help you feel good, productive and positive.
Many productive people find that tackling large, important tasks in the mornings sets them up for success. This is a favourite for small businesses, as things that must be done get done, and the afternoon can be used to tackle small jobs and any tasks that arise!
STICK TO ONE GOAL
It can be easy to persuade ourselves to split up a daunting task, deciding it would be better to go and do something else and come back later. This onset of a form of boredom can occur when engaging in ‘deep work’ - difficult, time consuming tasks that aren’t necessarily interesting.
This form of work will be familiar to business owners. There is no way around these tasks, they just have to be done. In these instances, it helps to be comfortable being bored, and just working away until the task is done. It’s not a great experience while you’re doing it, but it’s a great feeling when you finally finish!
Distractions make things worse - checking social media or browsing on the phone are the bad habits that need to be kept in check. They don’t help you physically or mentally, and give you no results, so it doesn’t feel like an effective break.
Those of you that pride yourselves on multitasking would be wise to do a little reading on the matter - when you multitask, you are splitting your brain power but, like an old computer, trying to run two programs at once results in both programs running less than half as well as they should! There could even be long term negative effects from multitasking!
MAINTAIN A BALANCED DIET
Keeping a good diet goes a long way to helping you stay productive. The gut microbiome - collection of gut bacteria - is impacted by the food you eat, and has now been tied to many aspects of our health.
Managing a chronic illness is going to take time out of your day, and the gut biome produces markers for many diseases years before the disease takes hold, suggesting that an adjustment to your diet could reduce risk of disease - like how a diet rich in fibre helps to promote better control of sugar levels, potentially preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes.
As far as your day to day goes, eating and drinking sugary rubbish is likely to lead to an upset stomach, overeating will make you feel lethargic, and too much caffeine can make some people feel sick - keep a lid on these to stay productive throughout the day!
PROPER SLEEP AND REST
We’ve all been there, we are all aware that we don’t function at 100% when we’ve slept poorly.
Getting to bed at a decent time is important to get that 7.5 hours sleep required for the average person. It helps to hit the hay at the same time every night - this plays into our circadian rhythm, the day/night cycle that our bodies follow.
Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day gets you in sync with the circadian rhythm, helping you feel good when you wake up, encouraging you to have a productive day!
Using CBD products could potentially aid in helping you get to sleep - check out our SMOKO article on sleep and CBD and see if CBD could help you improve your sleep!
AVOID EXCESSIVE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Limiting your time on social media helps you to avoid using it as a distraction, but it is filled with an awful lot of conflict and bad news these days, so it can be a depressing distraction!
Then there’s the darker side of social media that seems to be avoiding the limelight - the fact that the developers want you on their site so they can profit from the adverts they put in front of you. This means social media wants you interacting with the site to trigger a hit of dopamine in the brain, to get you to keep scrolling.
Put your phone out of sight when working, and switch it off at least 20 minutes before bed so you aren’t stimulated, which can make getting to sleep more difficult.
GIVE UP BAD HABITS
There are a variety of ‘bad habits’ out there, but all will likely impact your ability to maintain high productivity levels.
Unhealthy snacking is one of those - over indulging will make you feel bloated, eating sugary snacks will lead to a sugar crash; both leading you into an unproductive state.
It’s not good for your long term wellbeing, either - consistently eating refined carbohydrates reduces insulin sensitivity, a precursor for the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Smoking is certainly one of the biggest bad habits. It is well established that there is an association between smoking and mental health disorders - though it is not known if this relationship is causal.
What we can say is that the improvements to mental health from nicotine consumption are temporary, and while productivity may increase briefly, it suffers until the next cigarette is consumed.
POSITIVE HABITS TO BOOST PRODUCTIVITY AND IMPROVE YOUR WELLBEING: CONCLUSION
The best ways to keep your positivity and productivity going are to exercise, eat well, and sleep well. This puts your body and mind in the best position to forge a path forward!
Then it’s a matter of aiming for consistency - getting that routine solid, waking up and going to bed at the same time.
While you work on the routine, try some of the task tackling tactics mentioned earlier - scheduling tasks, hiding distractions, and eating healthy snacks are all things you could try today!
There may be a few people out there who, despite doing these things, may still find themselves struggling to be positive. In this case, try writing a gratitude journal to encourage more positive thinking. This means writing as little as 3 things per day to be grateful for - just remember to be specific, and avoid repetition to make sure you really have to think about reasons to be grateful.
Don’t forget - if you are a smoker, then quitting cigarettes will go a long way to helping you feel physically better, and is one big reminder that you can achieve your goal!
Make the switch to the UK’s premium e-cigarette today to improve your health as well as your bank balance!