Productivity: The Art of Staying Focused

Whether you already have an efficient routine or you are yet to find one, many of us could do with mastering the art of productivity. Planning our working day as efficiently as possible enables us to reap the benefits of hard work, whilst also enjoying some free time too. This guide offers tips on how to foster productivity, minimise distractions, and the art of prioritisation.

cup of aromatic cappuccino on table in cafe
Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

Sleep

Sleep sets you up for the day. Avoid waking up on the wrong side of the bed by getting the recommended 7-8 hours. Create a warm, cosy bedroom environment to make getting enough sleep as achievable as possible. Calm a busy mind before bedtime by utilising the 4-4-4 breathing technique. Breath in for four seconds, hold it for four seconds, then exhale to the count of four. According to scientific research, slowing your breath triggers a relaxation response in the brain and body, setting you up for the perfect night’s sleep.

Efficient Planning Tool

Have you ever come across Eisenhower’s urgent/important matrix tool? If you have, I’m positive that you can testify its effectiveness. If you haven’t, you can check out a visual here. This time management tool is a powerful way to prioritise time, tasks and goals. The planner displays four quadrants which enable you to divide tasks by their level of urgency and importance. This matrix allows you to visualise and determine what tasks you need to do and which tasks should be prioritised. Often we are productive, but none of it has real value in the long run. This method will empower you to plan and prioritise long-term goals each week.

Start with the Most Important Tasks

According to Laborit’s law, we should start with the most mentally draining task at the beginning of the day. The following scenario may sound familiar to you. You have a dreaded task to do, instead of doing it right away you procrastinate, carrying out simpler tasks that bring immediate satisfaction. Also known as “The Law of the Least Effort”, we’re essentially perpetuating the sensation of that unpleasant task hovering over us. To master productivity, start the day with the most difficult task and reward yourself as soon as it’s finished.

Adios Distractions

Are you susceptible to distractions such as Whatsapp messages, aimlessly scrolling on social media or googling random thought processes? Guilty as charged! If, like many, you tend to get distracted by your phone, leave it another room. Keep it on silent and out of reach in order to let your focus flow. Also, try not to constantly check emails and carry out several tasks at once. Focus on the task in hand; monotasking, not multitasking, is the secret to getting things done efficiently.

macbook air flower bouquet and magazines on white table
Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

Get Inspired

The subconscious mind is one of the most powerful tools and, in turn, ultimately the key to our success. Every day our mind is shaped by the environment in which we live. Our memories, beliefs, fears, subjective maps of reality are all examples of our subconscious mind that govern the course of our life. It’s essential to override subconscious negativity with inspiration. Listen to podcasts, read books, and spend time with people that inspire you. Fill your environment with inspirational quotes, vision boards, get out in nature.

Productivity is the result of commitment, efficient planning and focused effort. I highly recommend Stephen R. Covey’s best selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to learn more on efficiency and expertise in purposeful productivity.

“The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen R. Covey

The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

Want to be healthy, and live sustainably at the same time? Well, look no further – a plant-based diet is the answer you’ve been looking for. Its benefits extend way beyond health as it also promotes a more sustainable, ethical way of living.

photo of vegetable salad in bowls
Photo by Ella Olsson on Pexels.com

What Is a Plant-Based Diet?

You may be wondering what a plant-based diet actually is. To put it simply, it focuses on consuming products primarily produced from plants. Don’t be deceived, the likes of dairy, meat and fish are still permitted, just on a much narrower scale. It means mainly choosing to consume plant-based foods as opposed to animal-based ones. So, let’s dive into the benefits it can bring us, and our wonderful planet.

A Healthier Heart

Did you know that foods that are high in saturated fat mainly come from animal sources? These include: red meat, poultry and dairy. The good news is that this type of diet equates to a much lower intake of such products. Foods high in saturated fat can raise your cholesterol levels, in turn increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. It can also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. High cholesterol levels lead to a higher chance of having a stroke, heart disease or a heart attack. But beware, other foods that are high in saturated fat include baked goods and fried foods.

Ethical Living Meets Compassion

We’re educated to be compassionate, yet we often fail to do this when it comes to our diet. A strong desire to alleviate suffering was my reason for turning veggie and I’ve never looked back. The famous book Sapiens, pointed out that “animals are the main victims of history”. It rightly points out that animal farms are “perhaps the worst crime in history”. Cutting out animal products is an effective solution, and a great way to start making a difference.

nature animal agriculture cow
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Environmental Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

The environmental impact is also huge. Dr John Cullimore sheds light on how a vegan diet uses only a third of the energy, land, and water than an omnivorous diet uses. In terms of individual changes, it’s an effective way to help reverse the effects of climate change. According to the United Nations University, “twenty servings of vegetables have fewer greenhouse gas emissions than one serving of beef”. Dietary shifts can also help prevent wildlife and habitat destruction. David Attenborough is also an advocate of the plant-based diet being one of the most effective ways to take action.

Good for Weight Loss

In addition, plant-based diets can also be great for weight-loss. Not only does it tend to reduce our intake of saturated fat, it also means a higher intake of fibre. The magic of fibre is that it helps fill you up, without the dreaded surplus of calories. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, we should ideally aim for around 40 grams of fibre a day. Foods that are high in fibre include: wholegrain products, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. According to Mayo Clinic, vegetarians are “less likely to be overweight, a known risk factor for some types of cancers.”

Meat’s Impact on Cancer Rates

Research suggests a link between the consumption of meat and cancer. This is because of the chemical compounds created when red meat is cooked. These harmful compounds are also found in processed meat. This diet not only radically reduces the harmful effects of meat consumption, it also contains more phytochemicals and fibre. Phytochemicals, literally – plant chemicals, are an anti-inflammatory. These compounds work to protect cells from damage. According to Breastcancer.org, they are also believed to “help stop carcinogens from attacking cells”. See, plants really do have powerful medicinal value.

agriculture background bell pepper broccoli
Photo by Adonyi Gábor on Pexels.com

Going plant-based can bring excellent nutritional value to your diet, help save the planet, and improve your overall health. Like any diet, this requires consciously healthy eating habits. Take a look at One Green Planet’s Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition if you have any nutrition-related queries. Let me know in the comments below why you made the transition, or why you’d like to be.

“The future is about a plant-based diet.” – Jamie Oliver