Walt Disney once said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” If you’ve got an ever-growing schedule of tasks, meetings and sales presentations, where do you begin? And how do you stay focused when the demands of your job are so great? You probably know the importance of productivity in the workplace. It’s the ultimate measure of efficiency, for starters. Generally speaking, the more productive an employee is, the more attractive he is to the employer. Why? Because high productivity generates bigger business profits.

But could science make you more productive?

If you’re struggling to concentrate at work or find your mind wandering during the day, scientific research could transform the way you perform in your job.

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Don’t feel sorry for taking a vacation.

Feeling guilty about that two-week vacation you booked? You don’t need to. Science shows that respite from the office could improve your productivity when you return. When you’re lying on a beach and sipping a cocktail, your stressors are removed. Letting your body recover from the effects of stress on your immune system could prove to be useful. According to Dov Eden from Tel Aviv University, your vacation will enable you to regather “crashed emotional resources,” and you could return to work with a spring in your step.

Procrastination could be good for you.

Habitual hesitation is the root of all evil — or so you’ve been told. It turns out that procrastination could actually prove to be a useful productivity tool. Science productivity research shows that doing something emotionally rewarding in the short-term, like checking the weather online or cleaning your desk, might just seem like delaying the inevitable; however, reflecting on the long-term benefits of the task you are putting off could help you to get back to work. Ask yourself whether delegating the task to someone else will provide you with the same benefits; if not, it’s time to knuckle down and return to the job at hand.

Don’t give up habits — change them.

Old habits die hard. Whether it’s checking your emails as soon as you arrive at the office or calling clients before you leave, the same old work patterns could be slowing down your productivity to a snail’s pace. If you’re stuck in your ways, research shows that replacing habits with less destructive behaviors could revolutionize your productivity. Here’s the science: A repeated action strengthens the neurological pathways in the brain, but giving up a habit will likely lead to nasty withdrawal symptoms. The solution? Replace the habit with an action that produces the same satisfying sensation but is ultimately more productive. Instead of obsessively checking your emails, devise a daily briefing session in which you influence your department’s work direction or use to-do software to plan your weekly schedule. Your inbox can wait; in fact, experts agree that you shouldn’t be answering email early in the morning.

The Takeaway

Want to boost your efficiency and be more effective when it comes to project management? Taking time out to let your body recover from the stresses of your job and replacing old habits with more fruitful tasks could improve your productivity. If you’re prone to procrastination, evaluating the long-term benefits of the task that you’re putting off could get you back on track. These science-backed strategies could provide the secret to a more constructive day.

P.S.
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Patrick Hankinson
Patrick Hankinson

I'm one of the founders of Hello Focus. Big fan of productivity, startups, and many other things.