Some days your to-do list isn’t just calling, it’s screaming. But before you start freaking out because maybe (probably) you’ve left it all until the last minute and you’re wondering how on Earth you’re going to get it all done, we have some good news. Fortunately, there are a number of science-backed hacks that will set you up for the most productive day ever. The key lies in a little prep and planning so you can cut the stress and smash your to-do list like the boss that you are.
1. Work out in the morning
A quick, intense workout first thing fuels your body with the mental and physical energy boost you need to get things done. Plus, according to a study in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, a good workout improves cognitive function and concentration. Not to mention, a sweat sesh can dial down any anxiety you have about all the stuff you need to do.
2. Eat foods that help you focus
Diet has been found to have a significant impact on brain health and mental function, with different foods boosting alertness, focus and even intelligence. So not only will fuelling up with a nutritious breakfast combat the distraction of a rumbling stomach, it will also help you work more efficiently and effectively throughout the day. Pack your brekkie with nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, B-vitamins and antioxidants by including berries, leafy greens, nuts and salmon on your plate. Need a smart snack to keep you going? Chow down on blueberries for morning tea – a study by Reading University in the UK found that volunteers who drank a blueberry smoothie in the morning did much better at mental tasks in the mid-afternoon than people who had an alternative drink.
3. Prioritise the tasks that matter
About that to-do list – aim to cut it in half. Do you really need to get all of those 28 things ticked off in the next ten seconds? Probably not. Spend some time the day before deciding what’s truly important, and what can wait until the following day, week or month.
4. Take regular breaks
That loss of focus and brain fog you get during a big day is your body trying to tell you to take a break. Instead of ignoring these cues, enlist the help of your Samsung Galaxy Watch* – it will vibrate when you’ve been idle for too long and remind you to get up and move. During those breaks, stretch your legs or use the Health app* to do a short, guided meditation to de-stress. A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that sitting for long periods can reduce blood flow to your brain. Past studies have found that short-term drops in brain blood flow can impact thinking and memory, which puts productivity on the back-burner.
It’s tempting to do all of the things, all at once, but that’s a recipe for a brain meltdown. A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that multitasking is less efficient, because it takes extra time to shift mental gears every time a person switches between the two tasks. Instead, systematically working your way through your list, focusing on one thing at a time is a more productive use of your time.
6. Tidy up
Is your workspace a hot mess? Well, that could be tanking your ability to concentrate. A study has found that people who worked in a clean, tidy environment out-performed those who worked in a cluttered one. Researchers say that being surrounded by chaos restricts your ability to focus on the task at hand, so get out a garbage bag and nix distractions ASAP.
*Galaxy Watch is not a medical/therapeutic device and fitness and health functions are for informational purposes only. Using Samsung Health app with Galaxy Watch requires signup and pairing with your compatible smartphone.