Bananas. – Maybe the best productivity hack in the world. (Okay, I might be a little bias).
Yellow, curvy, botanically a berry and produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in warm and sunny places. And delicious.
I am pro productivity and I am pro bananas. So if you’re a banana hater, look away now because it’s all about to get a little bit gushy.
To me they are the king of the fruits – sorry pineapples.
They are ready for action at all times. There’s no prep, they’re nice and cheap and they come in their own neat packaging. Winner.
A banana sits patiently on my desk every morning, ready to assist me with what we in the UK call ‘elevenses’.
Most people plump for a cuppa (cup of tea) and ten to fifteen biscuits at 11am. But no, not me. It’s not worth it. The sugar rush (and crash) ain’t for me, I feel instant regret, a lack of concentration and my work suffers. It sucks.
If you work from home, you might find that your fridge whispers you sweet nothings throughout the day:
‘Oh just a little bit of yoghurt, that’ll be a nice snack’ or ‘You’re hungry! Let’s have an early lunch!’ …at 10am.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll know that it takes a lot of willpower to be able to resist. Bananas are my secret weapon in the fight for home based productivity.
Let bananas be your productivity co-pilot
One banana is just enough to tide me over into lunch/dinner and so easy to eat. No flow is disturbed and productivity is maintained.
Keep one by your desk, eat it, rejoice in this healthy snacking habit. You’ll not only feel smug, you’ll feel good too. Bananas have been shown to give a brain-boosting hit of nutrients*. Studies have been shown how they can improve focus and memory. Two things I always want more of.
Bananas have an ability to improve some negatives in life/work. Getting a good dose of potassium has been linked to feeling some relief from stress and the symptoms of depression**.
Potassium is something which helps our brains to make good use of serotonin. All the more reason to eat one now! Get that food-mood connection buzzing.
Okay enough about bananas.
I want to share three other tools for maximising productivity both in work and in life:
There’s a Productivity App for That
Two productivity app gems! These two really help me maintain my productivity, slay my tasks, and totally get sh*t done!
When I’m looking at my computer screen all day, I don’t then want to stare at my phone. I recently found 2 great things for this:
- ‘Moment’ is a screen time tracking app which helps me to reduce the time I spend flitting about on Instagram. It tracks my usage of each app and has great suggestions for using them less. Such as ‘put your phone in a cupboard’ Simple, but effective! We all know these things, but do we action them unless we’re directly told to? Nope, not me!
Note: On Iphones, there is a ‘screen time’ tracker inbuilt. You can set limits for specific apps, and it tells you when you have 5 min left of your daily limit. It looks great, and is working seamlessly for me… but there’s no coaching. If you’re a fan of a more coachy method, Moment is what you should plump for.
- ‘Forest’ is a lovely app – you choose a time when you want to focus on something. You commit to not picking your phone up during that time. You plant a sapling in the app and if you reach your target focus time, it grows into a tree. Each time you task-switch, that tree dies. Boo hoo! Seeing your little forest grow is incredibly satisfying. Give it a go!
Planning is Productive
Plan your week right. I personally love being a mix of creative and organised. I have a huge awareness of how the everyday wins feed into long term happiness.
My desire is to be a daily force of nature and planning my week out is important for that. I have a ‘week plan’ .PDF I print out and keep right next to me on my desk. It has check boxes for things like ‘Drink enough water’ and ‘take vitamins’ and ‘10 mins of reading minimum’.
It has a space for all my daily ‘things to do’ in order to maintain productivity and maintain focus.
I just discovered Day Designer which creates great free printables which do the job in a lovely simple way though I went one step over and created my own – completely tailored to my needs – in good old Google Drive.
Reading is Productive
Something helping me to make the most of my lunch break is a bit of good old reading. When you work from home and there’s nowhere to escape, because you’re already at home. It’s easy to kind of waste that time.
Since committing to 25 mins of reading every lunchtime, I feel calm and in control on my return to work in the afternoon. I’m going back to work rested and able to maintain my productivity, rather than that inevitable fizzle out at 3pm.
And I’m racing through books – double satisfying.
Productivity doesn’t just happen
Productivity isn’t something that just happens when you work remotely. You’re a small ship amidst a sea of distractions. Whether you love a bit of daytime telly or your games controller calls to you; don’t give in.
It’s all just too easy to fall into the ‘just five minutes’ trap or, ‘I’ll just quickly do the [insert domestic chore here].
While few employers would begrudge you sticking the laundry on while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, don’t do it! It changes your mindset. You downshift from work and into home mode.
It disrupts your flow.
Keep your energy up, kill those distractions and structure your day. Then – and only then – can you hold your own in the topsy turvy world of remote working.