WORKPLACE / NOV. 20, 2014
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5 Bad Habits That Enhance Your Health and Productivity

bad habits

Modern culture is obsessed with maintaining good health and productivity. In furtherance of that goal, numerous publications churn out countless lists of things one should do and shouldn’t do. The following are five simple items that under normal circumstances should be shunned due to their adverse impact on the ability to get the job done.

#1 Sleeping In

The average American does not sleep enough, often between five and six hours a night instead of the seven to eight hours recommended. This creates a situation where people are harming themselves in both the short and long term. Sleep deprivation has been linked to everything from weakening immune systems to increased risks of many forms of dementia.

To combat this scourge, it is a good idea to intentionally sleep in three or four times per week. This helps your mind heal, and increases your ability to focus during the work day. How much should you sleep in? Until you reach those eight hours.

#2 Drinking Too Much Caffeine

Caffeine is one of the most controversial substances you will never see make the front page. Its ability to improve cognition is well known, as well as being a very short-lived antidepressant. The trick to successfully using caffeine is to understand how much is needed, and when. To avoid the oft mentioned warnings of disturbed sleep cycles and heart palpitations, avoid injecting caffeine starting in the late afternoon.

#3 Having a Beer

We all know the potential impact that alcohol has on the body. With both short term and long term health risks well documented and trumpeted in the media, the question of why it should be consumed is raised. Alcohol, in limited quantities, is an amazing anti-inflammatory agent capable of alleviating the symptoms of everything from carpal tunnel syndrome to arthritis. With research indicating that depression may be an inflammation triggered ailment, the possibility for alcohol being a helpful agent in limited quantities cannot be ignored.

With a slightly relaxed mind, it is easier to enter the mindset needed for creative thinking, allowing the freelancer to achieve higher quality work in a shorter span of time. Just be careful to not overdo it!

#4 Listening to Music

Anything that stimulates the mind hinders its ability to relax enough for deep sleep. That is why a large number of people advocate avoiding music during the evening hours. However, the ability to sharpen one’s focus cannot be ignored. If you are able to accomplish a task faster by being able to more keenly focus on it, the total amount of time you will have to relax and sleep will grow.

Find a genre of music that works for you, and spice it up with new songs and artists on a regular basis. Variety is key for music to work, since the brain ignores frequently encountered patterns in the environment.

#5 Eating While Working

People do not eat healthy in this country. Even after accounting for the graying population and its expectant weight gain, the degree of obesity in this country has reached a staggering level. The reasons for this are complex, though the most common element has been a lack of time to eat a healthy meal. This creates a situation where people grab the nearest fat and carbohydrate laden foodstuff and chow down between errands.

The best way to handle this problem, and obtain the healthy rush of energy that a healthy diet provides, is to accept that you will have to incorporate eating into the work day. Pack a lunch and eat it during the work day.

See also: Office Life: Making Healthy Habits Hard

As you can see these five habits, some of which are often derided as being counterproductive to work, can actually provide benefits to work. Your boss probably won’t let you bring a beer into work any time soon, but he might let you listen to music if you make a good case.

Do you incorporate any of these into your daily routine? Do you find that they make you more productive? Your thoughts and comments below please…


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