Ever wish you had an extra hour in the day? We all do sometimes. When your to-do list looks daunting, you may feel tempted to power through to get it all done. You stay locked in front of your laptop or glued to your phone, committed to sending out those emails and making those calls. You feel busy, but are you productive? Maybe not, says Lindsay Kolowich, a senior marketing manager at HubSpot.

While you can’t add hours to the day, you can do simple things to get more done. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discuss Kolowich’s productivity hacks that may sound strange but help you accomplish more.

Structure your day around your energy levels. Are you a morning person or are you most creative late at night? Schedule your most detailed and important projects then, says Kolowich.

Work shorter hours. It feels counterintuitive to put in less work to boost your productivity, but it’s an effective strategy. A Stanford University study reveals that productivity drops after employees work 50 hours a week. There’s an even sharper decline after working 55 hours. It’s simple: The more you work, the more mentally and physically tired you become. If you want to be more productive, don’t overwork yourself.

Eat breakfast. Skipping breakfast will let you start your work sooner, but it could end up harming your productivity later in the day. Kolowich says it’s best to fuel your body with healthy foods such as bananas, avocados and oatmeal to help improve your concentration.

Avoid perfectionism. Trying to get things perfect is a huge obstacle to being productive. At some point, Kolowich says you must ask yourself, “When is good enough good enough?”

Take a power nap. If you work from home, this is an easy way to boost your productivity for the rest of the workday. Set a timer and take a 30-minute nap—the same length as many meetings. The quick recharge will help you process new information and may even help you learn new skills. Working in the office? Take a walk or a break to let your thoughts wander for 30 minutes.

Admire baby animals. This productivity hack may sound odd, but it works. A 2012 study by Hiroshima University in Japan found that the simple act of viewing images of cute animals can significantly increase your performance on concentration-related tasks. Spend a few minutes scrolling ZooBorns.com when you need a productivity boost.
Turn up your favorite music. Kolowich says this hack works because music can make you happy, which prompts your brain to increase dopamine. Music can improve your mood, which can help you finish tasks quicker and often come up with better ideas.

Cue up the coffee shop sounds. The ambient noise of a coffee shop can help you boost your productivity. You don’t need to physically work in a coffee shop, though, notes Kolowich. You can create the ambient buzz and reap the productivity-enhancing benefits through Cofftivity, a site that serves up coffee shop background sounds at varying intensities.

If you have been trying to cram more meetings and more activities into your day, try a different strategy to get more done. Sometimes, all you need for a productivity boost is a streamlined schedule, a good soundtrack and maybe a cute animal pic or two.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Lindsay Kolowich is a senior marketing manager at HubSpot.