5 Ways to Boost Productivity at Work

As a blindly idealistic millennial, I am new to the workforce and am constantly exploring new ways to navigate it every day. My job and my peers challenge me to be my best self, and I am constantly learning how to improve myself and grow my career.

Today, I’d like to introduce a few tips that I use to boost productivity on the job.

Get moving

Did you know that only 50% of adults get enough exercise every week? When you feel the responsibilities are piling up, making time to workout seems entirely unreasonable. Truth is, taking mental breaks for physical activity will boost your focus. Exercise improves brain function, heightens creativity, and floods your brain with endorphins. Staying seated for long periods of time actually reduces your body’s physiological abilities to cope with stress. Even though exercise can seem like a waste of time, or even an enemy, during busy hours, it can actually be the perfect tool for boosting productivity.

At Virool, each employee is given a FitBit to help us create and attack personal fitness goals. Several times throughout the year, we are challenged to friendly walking competitions. I haven’t won yet, but I’ve got a pep in my step!

Get fueled

While short term stress makes people inclined to eat less, longer term pushes us to reach for that second slice of cake. Pizza is one of the earth’s greatest creations and I personally cherish every cheesy slice, but it should not be a consistent, albeit convenient, meal replacement. Maintaining a wholesome, balanced diet helps your brain cope with stress. Foods that seem inherently comforting are typically high in sugar or carbohydrates and are actually the exact types of foods that exacerbate the hormones linked to stress. Instead, try reaching for nutrient rich foods high in B vitamins, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show a direct link between these and mental mood boosts, so (healthy) snack away!

At Virool, we’re well fed with delicious and nutritious choices! Every day, we are delivered fresh lunch from Zesty catering, with plenty of options for the picky eaters, allergy-prone and gluten-free dieters. Our stockroom is chock full of healthy options with fresh fruit and snacks from NatureBox.

Get outta here

A 2015 study showed that only 51% of Americans actually use all of their time off and 61% of individuals polled still work during that time. To add some context to these numbers, American workers receive around 16 days of paid time off on average while comparison, there are mandates in the EU requiring 25 to 30 days of PTO, depending on the country. “Work/life balance” is a bit of a buzz-phrase, and for a good reason. There needs to be a separation between the two worlds! Being “on” all the time is mentally exhausting; it depletes productivity, decreases creativity, and strains workplace relationships.

At Virool, we have unlimited paid time off (PTO). I know how much time I need to spend in the office to get my work done, so I know how much time away is reasonable for me and my lifestyle. I don’t feel hindered when I can tell it’s time to get the heck out of Doge.

Talk it out

Silicon Valley is buzzing with big ideas, hard work, and long hours. Sometimes, that can be at the risk of your employees’ well-being. I am the first to know how easy it is to say “yes” to every task being handed to you. There are times when things pile up and you’re feeling the heat, don’t be afraid to speak up. Sometimes it takes a little communication between manager and worker to sort out a messy plate and prioritize your responsibilities against your schedule. A good manager pushes her employees to be their best selves, but knows when enough is enough.

At Virool, I know I can talk to my manager whenever I feel overwhelmed and she’ll be there to offer advice or help because she cares and wants to see me succeed. It can feel a little unnatural at first, but stick with it!

Let’s work on being productive together!

There’s this bizarre sense of martyrdom in the American workforce to drive ourselves into the ground. Long, caffeine-fueled hours without respite become a source of pride for many, but at what cost? Burnout is a real phenomenon. The most important thing to remember is that you come first. Your health is always more important than that deadline. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, break a sweat, bring on the brainfood, and take a day for yourself. We’re only human and we need to recharge. Different solutions will work for different people, but striking the right balance is what makes all the difference.

I’ve found my stress solution. What’s yours?