6 Tips to Being Productive to Improve Mental Health

Caucasian counseling patient talks with counselor


Did you know that poor mental health can lead to a loss in productivity? This implies there is a strong correlation between the two and suggests there may be another way to increase one’s mental health. If poor mental health is recognized, perhaps by focusing on being more active and productive we can improve our mental health.

Here are 6 tips to increase productivity and therefore improving overall mental health.

  • Sleep – Starting the day off right starts the night before by getting the right amount of sleep to have the energy to accomplish the tasks for the day. Appropriate sleep duration varies from one person to the next, but the working adult requires 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. However, depending on the demands of someone’s lifestyle, 6 or 10 hours of sleep may also be appropriate. National Sleep Foundation
  • Exercise – It is of no surprise that exercise plays an important role in mental health and productivity. Exercise releases chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin which act like an anti-depressant and boosting energy levels. Psychosomatic Medicine, 2007
  • Take Small Frequent Breaks – You give your muscles short breaks between physical exercises, so why not your brain? Studies show that taking a deep breath and relaxing for 30 seconds can increase your productivity by up to 13%. Another for those who spend a lot of time on the computer, looking away from the screen for 15 seconds every ten minutes can reduce your fatigue by up to 50%. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/work/the-importance-breaks-work.html
  • Prioritize Tasks – If feeling overwhelmed by the work load, increase productivity by utilizing a method similar to Dave Ramsey’s “Debt Snowball” approach. Instead of listing debts from small to large, list job tasks that need to be completed by the shortest to longest duration. If possible, focus all your energy on completing the shortest task first and work your way down the list. This will give you quick completion satisfaction and create the mental momentum to complete the longer more daunting tasks. https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-the-debt-snowball-method-works
  • Forget About Perfection – It is important to do the very best you can do every day. Doing your best boosts your confidence and ability to take on larger tasks. However, holding yourself to perfection will have the opposite effect. Even after successfully completing a task, there can be doubt and too much energy spent thinking about how it could have been done differently. This inhibits productivity and your ability to move forward. https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2015/01/20/how-successful-people-stay-productive-and-in-control/#aa8fe6e2b9c5
  • Add Fresh Air – Studies show that air polluted with Carbon Dioxide and Volatile Organic Compounds commonly found in office environments negatively impacts productivity. When possible, open windows or turn on fans to increase ventilation in the building and draw in less polluted air. If windows or fans aren’t options, try to take your scheduled breaks outside to help refresh your body. https://www.officerenew.com/articles/better-office-air-quality-proven-to-increase-productivity

By: Jason Schreiter, Safety, Health and Environment Specialist, Marseilles, Illinois