Productivity and Well-Being go Hand-in-Hand

As a productivity coach, I help my clients cultivate sustainable performance holistically. It’s not just what happens during “working hours”, which continue to extend into personal time, it’s how we marry intention, attention and execution in all areas of life.

We all have intentions – the accomplishments we are aiming for. The greater our clarity around intention and the more they are in alignment with our values, the better. The more we can manage our attention to stay focused on those intentions, the more we can accomplish. This requires managing our energy and directly ties in to our well-being. And the richer our foundation in productivity skills, we will be more effective and efficient in our execution.

With that holistic picture in mind, let’s take a closer look at a few ways to improve our productivity, which is constantly under threat from external disruptions and internal triggers. While some things are beyond our control, here are three areas that, when attended to, will preserve energy and boost focus.

1. Set up for solid sleep.

If you are well-rested, you will be able to think more clearly, make better decisions, exercise more intensely and manage relationships with greater patience.

a) Set a bedtime. Yes, grownups need one, too. If work is eroding your personal time, you might be tempted to stay up scrolling to reclaim some time for yourself. This is often referred to as “revenge bedtime procrastination.” If this sounds like you, figure out an alternative enjoyable activity that won’t dangerously cut into your sleep time.

b) Be sleep-aware. I can ask my Google Nest Hub how I slept the night before and it will report on the quality and quantity of my sleep, as well as how well I kept to my intended sleep schedule. That’s smart because our bodies love consistent schedules – even on weekends.


c) Take daytime #brainbreaks. Knowing more about my sleep experience guides my naptime during the day. If you’re working from home, take advantage of having a bed a few steps away to reboot your brain if you feel sleepy. Set an alarm for 20 minutes to avoid feeling groggy and disoriented upon waking up.

2. Stay comfy at your workstation.

If you’re not comfortable, you won’t be as productive as you could be. Worse, you could be incubating an injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff tendinitis, or the most common office worker injury, back pain. Follow these steps to create a more comfortable workspace.

a) Choose a desk surface to support the work you need to accomplish. If you can incorporate a standing desk, your body will appreciate the ability to shift postures during the day.

b) Select a chair with a seat pan depth that fits your body. Adjust the chair height so that you can use a keyboard with your wrists flat and elbows at 90 degrees. Add a footrest to support your feet if necessary.

c) Add a separate wireless keyboard and mouse which will enable you to raise your screen(s) and keep your neck and spine straight and long. Ergonomic keyboards help keep wrists even more comfortable by helping to maintain wider postures with less wrist flexion. I’ve been a fan of the Microsoft Sculpt line for several years.


d) Pay attention to the intensity with which you strike the keys. A softer approach will be kinder to your body.

3. Keep lighting kind.

The right type of light for each task and time of day can help keep your energy up when you need it and avoid interfering with your ability to fall asleep.

a) There are a few kinds of light to pay attention to in every workspace.

Task – lighting for a specific activity

Ambient – surrounding light for mood and safety

Natural – daylight which helps mood and circadian rhythms

Production – for filming or photography

Screen – the light emitted from screens and devices

b) Prevent exposure to blue and green light in the evening to avoid dampening melatonin production. Use dark mode, install f.lux on your computer (free software that alters the colour temperature of your screen), or try wearing blue light-blocking glasses. When I’m watching TV, blue blocking glasses make my eyes feel much more relaxed by eliminating significant screen glare.


c) Lights with colour temperature settings (warmth or coolness of the colour) as well as intensity settings will allow you to control for comfort. Cool, white daylight is best during the day and warmer tones are best at night. Be aware that for some, cool, white lights used in dark spaces can trigger headaches.

Practicing these habits consistently will help you to be more productive and increase your overall well-being. Over time, your body (and mind) will thank you.

By Clare Kumar

June 29, 2021