Culturally speaking, we have learned that we need to be productive at all times and in everything we do: at work, when we play sport, during our leisure time, when we do household chores, time spent with the family and in every other area of our lives.
But what is productivity?
If we look at a definition, productivity is the capacity to produce, to be useful or beneficial. Generally speaking, we could say that productivity is the capacity to act effectively in any activity we undertake.
But beware! We mustn’t confuse being more productive with working longer hours during the day. We must ration the energy we expend on our daily tasks and, above all, be aware that in order to improve productivity we must ensure we give our mind and body a proper rest every day.
Tips to improve productivity
A number of factors can cause productivity to vary, such as a person’s age, the activities they carry out or even their personality. But, generally speaking, there are certain tips to improve productivity:
• Planning the day
• Learning to be organised
• Setting yourself objectives
• Focusing on just a few tasks
• Keeping things tidy
• Practising productivity exercises
There are also other factors related to our habits that directly impact productivity:
• Having enough physical and mental energy
• Taking short breaks between tasks
• Sleeping well
• Eating healthily
• Looking after our digestive system
• Doing physical exercise
• Having a good attitude and thinking positively
• Controlling stress
Nutrition and productivity
Improving productivity depends on several factors. We already know that a healthy diet is one of them, so we will take a look at a list of nutrients that can be fundamental when it comes to increasing personal productivity:
Some B-complex vitamins (vitamin B6, vitamin B12, biotin) contribute to normal energy metabolism – in other words, to obtaining the energy we get from food.
Magnesium contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system while also reducing tiredness and fatigue.
Fatty acids Omega 3
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) helps maintain the normal functioning of the brain*.
Some plant components
There are also certain plant components that can be a huge help when it comes to productivity:
· Adaptogens(1): natural plant-based substances that are able to regulate body functions and strengthen organic systems compromised by stress. Some examples are: rheum rhaponticum root extract (Rhaponticum carthamoides), schisandra fruit extract (Schisandra chinensis), ashwagandha root extract (Withania somnífera), Rhodiola rosea, etc.
· Brahmi extract (Bacopa monnieri (L.) Pennell) can help improve concentration and memory (2) and ginkgo biloba leaf extract (Ginkgo biloba L.) helps to maintain good cognitive function (3)
· Studies have shown that some bioactive components of wild green-oats extract (Avena sativa), such as flavonoids and saponins, help improve cognitive performance (4)
So, can we really improve productivity?
What is clear is that if we want to have time for everything – enjoying time with our family, our friends, enjoying our free time and our job – we need to be more efficient.
Planning, organisation, stress control and healthy habits such as a balanced diet are all tools within our reach that will help us to give 100% of ourselves.
(1) Definition by SEFIT (Spanish Society of Phytotherapy).
(2) EFSA-Q-2008-4701 – ID 3986
(3) EFSA-Q-2008-4487 – ID 3768
(4) Kennedy DO, Jackson PA, Forster J, Khan J, Grothe T, Perrinjaquet-Moccetti T, Haskell-Ramsay CF. Acute effects of a wild green-oat (Avena sativa) extract on cognitive function in middle-aged adults: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subjects trial. Nutr Neurosci. 2017 Feb;20(2):135-151. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2015.1101304. Epub 2015 Nov 30. PMID: 26618715.
*The beneficial effect is obtained by a daily intake of 250 mg of DHA.