The Best Ways to Be More Productive, According to Science

Time is the only thing they’re not making more of. So everyone is looking for better ways to do more in what little time we have. Driving efficiency and productivity hacks are all over the blogosphere and for good reason; we are all being asked to do more with less. So let’s look at the best ways to be more productive according to science.


Exercise isn’t just good for your body, researchers almost all agree it’s also good for your brain. According to Harvard Medical School, regular exercise directly improves blood flow to your brain. In addition, being physically active improves sleep and helps you manage stress and anxiety better. And while some stress and anxiety can actually improve productivity, chronic stress has been shown to dramatically impact your memory – in a bad way.

Be Optimistic

Science has long-known of the impact being optimistic has on success. More recently, researchers at the University of California, Riverside, found that “happy people” are more satisfied with their jobs and perform better than their sadder peers. And it makes sense. When you’re optimistic about the future, you find opportunities rather than challenges. You believe there is a solution to every problem and that you simply need to find it.

Of course one can get too much of a good thing. One university study concluded that while being optimistic and positive can provide optimal success at work, it was equally important for employees, and particularly leaders, to experience both positive and negative feelings during their workday.

Take Mental Breaks

Often we think that being productive is working more. But there continues to be growing evidence that rest is just as impactful on productivity as actual work. Our brain needs downtime to process information and devise new solutions and plans. That’s why sleep, exercise, and meditation are such hot topics in workforce productivity circles.

Consider the difference between European and American paid holidays. While Germans, for example, work on average 1,436 hours a year, Americans work 1,804 hours. Yet Germans get about the same done as their American counterparts. Why? While some of it is surely cultural, much may have to do with the fact that Germans get more paid time off than American workers.

Being productive isn’t always as straightforward as doing more. What you do off the clock is just as important as what you do when you’re in the office.

By Andrew Patricio

April 09, 2018