Nothing beats it.
Ending your work day, and knowing – deep down – it’s been a good day. A productive day.
Not only have you got a lot of work done, but you’ve got a lot of important work done.
Work that moves your business forward, planting seeds for potential new channels of customers, making that big step towards sealing that all-important contract that may secure a long term and fruitful business relationship.
It’s in our nature to want, seek, desire, crave days like this.
Truthfully, though, you’re probably sick of hearing about productivity ‘hacks’ by now.
Every great blog boasts their famous post about productivity hacks.
Sometimes you just wonder ‘I’m sure my most productive days weren’t the result of these random superstitions’.
Truthfully there are things you can consciously do every day to improve your productivity. Today I would like to share one that science shows works, and it’s nothing too strange:
Counter-intuitive, you may think.
“If I spend one hour per day exercising that’s an entire hour I could’ve spent working!” I hear your mind screaming.
However, before you start your 0-60, spend time making sure you have the best engine in town.
Exercise, as we all know, promotes physical health, but what many don’t know, is it significantly promotes mental health.
Many things do one or the other, very few things do both.
Research suggests exercise had an evolutionary role in our development.
It’s genetically ingrained in us, the need to physically move. Millions of years ago, it would’ve been required for our species to constantly undergo moderate intensity exercise to hunt and gather food and other necessities for our survival.
As a result, our brains reward us for exercising.
What our evolutionary DNA probably didn’t see coming is how our lifestyle would change into what it is now – prolonged and long term inactivity. Lucky for us, the benefits of exercise on our brain can be useful in the workplace.
We all know that exercise releases happy chemicals into our brain.
But it also releases a very specific protein, called brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This protein promotes the health or nerve cells and when studies compared people who exercise to those who sit, those who underwent 30 minutes of exercise demonstrated significantly better memory.
It also has a positive impact on your ability to learn, which in any workplace, makes you more productive.
In addition exercise has been shown to improve the function of your pre-frontal cortex. This part of your brain is used in abstract thinking, thought analysis, problem solving, emotion and complex thought. Handy.
As much as you think about your task at hand on any given work day, you also need to think about the future.
The wonderful thing about exercise is, you can do it for as long as your body will let you, and the best part: it is the reason that you may be able to pursue your business and entrepreneurial dreams longer than others.
Why? Exercise has been shown to prevent cognitive decline. In fact, it’s better than brain games. So instead of the newspaper games you play on your travel to work, try running to work. Your body and brain will thank you for it.
Furthermore, exercise is known to increase the amount of energy you have during the day.
How it does this is by stimulating the development of more mitochondria in the body.
Mitochondria are found within each cell of our bodies, and they produce the chemical which our bodies use for energy, otherwise known as ATP.
Therefore, exercise increases the amount of energy you have. This is why you often hear or see top executives working out early in the morning. It sets them on a good standing for the rest of the day. Where possible, I try to do this before heading to the physiotherapy clinic.
As touched on earlier, exercise is known to release ‘happy’ chemicals into the brain, and although this might sound crazy, workplace happiness increases productivity.
Exercise is simple, yes, but it’s not easy. It requires that initial discipline to get going.
If you’re willing to commit to it, make it a part of your daily schedule, and have it set in your diary at a fixed time every day, it can result in you leaving each work day feeling that much more productive, efficient and even happier.
Like we agreed on earlier, there’s no better feeling than leaving your work at the end of the day and just knowing ‘it’s been a good day’.
Regular, consistent and structured exercise is one step you can make to leap forward into that feeling every day of the week.