A quick internet search on how to be more productive results in more than 36 million (yes million!) articles. Whether you’re a working professional or a college student, figuring out how to be more productive in the limited hours you have each day may feel like a constant work in progress.
While there are many non-food strategies that can lead to success, emphasizing health and wellness may help you navigate your to-do list more than you think. How you treat your body — from fueling it to moving and resting it — can play a big role in your level of productivity each day. Take care of your body and boost your productivity with the following strategies.
- Start your day with breakfast. Your brain requires consistent fuel to function properly, and after a night of fasting while you were sleeping it needs to be replenished. Aim to eat something within an hour of waking up. Short on time in the morning or consistently miss the café or dining hall hours? Prep your breakfast the night before (see #5).
- Eat regular meals that include a source of protein, fat, and fiber. Keeping your blood sugar stable by eating regularly and including these nutrients in your diet is key to your brain functioning at it’s best. Aim to eat a meal or snack every 3-4 hours. Everyone’s needs are different, so pay attention to hunger levels and just don’t let yourself get to the point of feeling starved.
- Fill up on brain boosting foods like salmon, walnuts, and blueberries. For more brain bites, read here.
- Fit in exercise. Your day is completely jam packed with to-dos, but making time for as little as 15-20 minutes of exercise (even just a brisk walk) may help you move through that list more quickly. Short bursts of exercise have been linked to improved memory and cognitive performance.
- Make healthy the easy choice. Prepare ahead so you don’t have to make decisions when you’re hungry, which is a recipe for choosing the less healthy option. Check your cafe’s lunch menu on cafebonappetit.com before heading down for your meal. For meals, or snacks on your own, prepare meals or ingredients for the week on Sunday to make the breakfast or dinnertime rush easier.
- Shut down at the end of the day. Rest and recovery are just as important to your productivity as prioritizing your day and fueling well. While it may seem counterintuitive to take a break when your to-do list is never ending, letting your brain rest and getting a good night’s sleep will make the next day more efficient.
- For occasional times when burning the midnight oil is unavoidable, keep fueling. While the media may want to to believe that you shouldn’t eat after 6 pm, if you’re up late working on a project, fuel your brain with healthy bites just as you would during the day.