Quirky science-based hacks to boost productivity

Tips include listening to music and which kind to pick

Quirky science-based hacks to boost productivity

With many legal professionals working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring productivity remains high while not in the office is a significant concern.

Moving beyond ensuring a good work-from-home experience, here are hacks you can use to boost productivity that sound quirky but are actually backed by research.

Listen to music. A study published in Psychology of Music found that workers who listened to music had better quality of work, spent less time on tasks, and were more energised. However, you might want to listen to songs without lyrics. A study published in the journal Work found that if background music is played in a work setting, songs without lyrics are preferred because songs with lyrics decreased worker attention and performance.

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You can also boost your performance by keeping a couple of plants around your work area. Research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology discovered workspaces that used plants had 15% higher productivity, as well as better work satisfaction, than those without. Make sure your plants in your home workspace can be easily seen to ensure you’re getting the benefits of having them around.

Keeping plants around may have another benefit, because keeping plants in your workspace at home may require you to pick a room with plenty of natural light. A study published in the online supplement of the journal SLEEP found that those working in offices with windows received 173% more white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night. Workers with more natural light exposure were more physically active and scored better in quality-of-life measures.

That brings us to our next tip, which is to take naps and sleep well at night. A study published in Current Psychology found that employees who have been empowered to take naps at work increased their productivity. Another study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, said that sleep disturbances contribute to decreased employee productivity at a high cost to employers. A Harvard study also said that the cost of insufficient sleep is much higher than most people recognise. It said that sleep loss, or even poor-quality sleep, can lead to decreased productivity, as well as increased errors and accidents while working.

Speaking for rest, take mental breaks. A study published in the journal Cognition found that brief diversions or breaks from mental tasks keep people focused. Maybe take the chance during your mental breaks to stand and walk around for five minutes for every hour of work, which a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity said would improve mood, decrease levels of fatigue, and reduce food cravings.

But even if walking around may reduce your appetite, don’t skip on meals. Research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA said that two thirds of the energy needs of the brain is used to help neurons send signals, while a third is used for maintenance. Simply put, if your brain is starved of energy, it can’t function at its best and can’t maintain itself.

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