Productivity is often seen as being almost entirely to do with the mind, mental wellbeing, and cognitive problem-solving. Humans are prone to seeing themselves as separate from nature and, by extension, separate from their own bodies. There’s a tendency to view ourselves as minds within a body, not as part of a body. However, grasping the concept that we – our minds and our bodies – are a single entity can have significant benefits for achieving goals and increasing productivity. Here are a few physical considerations and how they impact the mind’s ability to produce.
Maintaining a healthy level of physical fitness makes cognitive and creative productivity much easier for many different reasons. Increased stamina, more oxygen entering the bloodstream and brain, and the knowledge that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to – they all contribute to how fitness impacts productivity. If you prove to yourself that you are the type of person who goes for a run or a swim or a cycle even when you’d prefer to sit and watch TV, you are also the type of person who can reach their goals by persevering in the face of obstacles. Similarly, physical exercise has been shown to increase positive chemicals in the brain and lead to greater contentment. It’s easier to be productive when you are happy.
Our senses are the channels through which we perceive the outside world. Without them, we would be enclosed within our minds entirely. In order to be our most productive, we need to keep our senses as sharp as possible or accommodate for their deficits. For example, you might need reading glasses to see the information in a book or on a screen before you can process that information and create something with it. Visual, auditory, and other sensory inputs are translated and provided by the body, without which our minds would be cut off.
The way we hold our skeleton, either when standing, sitting, walking, or lying down, can affect our muscles. Bad posture can lead to aches and pains that distract from our ability to work. Avoid putting unnecessary strain upon the body by making adequate and appropriate accommodations. This includes adapting your work environment to suit your posture and making sitting or standing for long periods of time more comfortable.
We are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of sufficient and quality sleep. While there may still be some productivity gurus out there who proudly announce their ability to thrive after only four hours of sleep, neglecting your rest adversely affects your health in the short and long term. It might be tempting to assert that you are strong enough to withstand the side effects of sleep deprivation in order to complete tasks, but your overall focus and productivity will diminish.
Research is showing ever more increasingly that the environment of the human gut has a large impact upon mental wellbeing, and mental wellbeing has a clear impact upon productivity. Eating well and getting the right nutrients fuels the mind for optimal performance.