It’s fair to say that the last two years have been draining on our bodies, in particular our minds. More and more articles have come out with reports of COVID fatigue, brain fog, and languishing, and if we were being honest, we’d probably all say that at least some of these symptoms resonate with us. After all, when have you ever napped this much?
So, what’s the trick to doing better this year? Don’t worry. We’re not going to tell you to do away with the naps! Instead, we’re giving you a handful of tricks to maximize your productivity in 2022.
Exercise. Oh, the dreaded physical activity…As hard as it is to get in shape, the grind really is worth the time. And we’re not just referring to weight loss and improved heart health! Research shows that people who get up early and exercise are much more productive throughout the day.
Part of it is purely psychological: I knocked one thing out and feel accomplished, so might as well keep up the momentum to continue feeling this way. The other is chemical. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress hormones and increase the growth factors in the brain which are essential for creating new neuronal connections. And guess what?! Neuronal connections and lower levels of stress are the very things that help prevent depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders that tend to get in our way. Looking to stay sharp in 2022? Exercise is step one.
Eat healthy snacks. Another doozy, we know, but one that will shift your energy level almost immediately. If you’re anything like the vast majority of the population, you tend to take the easy route when your stomach growls: chips, cookies, cereal bars, etc. It’s quick, and I can get right back to work! we tell yourselves. But in reality, that unhealthy treat is way less efficient, setting you up for energy crashes, lowered moods, and the need for another snack break real soon.
You see, sugar-packed, processed foods only supply short-term energy, leading us to repeat this cycle again and again. But foods higher in fiber and protein—such as Greek yogurt, almonds, cheese sticks, whole grains, fruits, lean meat, protein bars, etc.—provide both the nutrients and the long-term energy you need to have a successful day. So, stock your pantry! This year is the year you eat for fuel.
Make a list of crucial results. In 2022, it’s time to reimagine your to-do list. According to research, we often don’t complete our biggest priorities because we are so overwhelmed by everything else on our plate. So, rather than list every item you have to complete, come up with daily “crucial results.” Crucial results are a list of goals that must be accomplished during your day to move projects or greater objectives forward, and they aren’t as fancy as they sound. Simply sit down with a pen and paper and write down your three most overarching, critical objectives for the day (We suggest you do so the night before or the morning of), and that’s it! Place this list where you can see it as you work, and when you get disrupted, which is bound to happen, practice directing your attention back to it.
If you use a project management system, list crucial results there as well, along with any “in-betweens” that might make them more feasible (aka the breakdown of mini tasks that must be done to check each one off your list). Implementing this daily practice will help you stay organized and focused in 2022, reducing your likelihood for distraction and maybe even helping you mark off some of those resolutions too!
Schedule out blocks of time. The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss should’ve been on everyone’s Christmas list—because you can’t beat the nuggets of wisdom inside! One of our favorites is the idea of doing work in “batches” instead of breaking up activities into small chunks of time. Too many of us start a task, finish parts of it, then move on to another as soon as we get bored. When, truth be told, working on one task until its completion is much more effective.
Ever notice that it takes a minute, sometimes half an hour, to get into the rhythm of starting a new task? Rather than wasting time trying to catch up every time, try hunkering down and pushing through to the end. And the best way to do this is to make a schedule. Block out extended periods of time to fully accomplish your tasks, and you’ll be surprised at how your schedule opens up—giving you more time to do the things you love.
Curb that fidget habit. We all fidget, whether it’s biting our nails, stretching, touching our hair, popping our neck, tapping on a desk, chewing a pen, or our very own, personal habit. Fidgeting relieves excess energy and gives our minds a break from whatever we are facing at the moment, which is why we like doing it so much! It’s a response to anxiety and boredom, occurring when we experience elevated levels of stress. When released, stress hormones prepare our muscles to exert energy, and fidgeting is their response.
So, how can we stop it? That’s just the thing. We all fidget because we all experience stress, so instead of quitting cold turkey and letting stress boil up, we should allow ourselves to fidget in more productive ways. And one of those is, you guessed it, indulging in a spin! Our spinning tops are easy to transport: small enough to fit in your pocket, stuff in your bag, or better yet, store in your desk! Or if you don't want to spin, try our magnetic slider for some productive fidgeting. With options in aluminum and other durable metals, our spinning tops and magnetic sliders are sure to last you the entirety of 2022 and many years to come. Most importantly though, these "fancy" fidget toys don’t waste your time or money. They are a fun, efficient, and affordable means to have a mental break, increasing the good chemicals in your brain and engaging your fine motor skills.
We hope that the combination of tricks above help you get back to work and be more productive than ever in 2022! Make it your best year yet! To browse our spinning tops or magnetic slider, click here.