5 Scientifically Proven Ways to Increase Productivity

Get the most out of your workday.

There are plenty of tips for increasing your productivity: take exercise breaks, drink coffee, get a good night’s rest, and even look at cute animals. While these tips may be beneficial for some, many people still struggle with finding a way to stay productive at work. So, what really increases productivity and what doesn’t? How can we become more productive according to science?

For those wanting the facts, here are 5 scientifically proven methods for strengthening productivity.

1.  Work in Natural Light

Researchers at the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program at Northwestern University suggest a direct correlation between natural light and productivity. According to the study, employees with access to natural light in the work environment slept an average of 46 minutes more per night and reported higher quality of life scores than those stuck in windowless rooms under fluorescent lights.

Also, employees with natural light exposure were significantly more alert than those exposed to artificial light. So, if your office lacks natural light, take a quick trip outside and enjoy the sunshine. Chances are you’ll return to work more energized.

2.  Add Some Yellow

Many of us associate the color yellow with happiness, but the sunny hue has also been proven to boost concentration and alertness  Yellow also helps with decision-making as it relates to clarity of thoughts and ideas. If you find yourself losing steam, try adding pops of color to your work area or take a look at this very yellow slideshow.

3.  Bring the Outside, In

New research shows that “green” offices – those decorated with plants – increase employee engagement by making them more physically, cognitively, and emotionally involved in their work. Researchers found that introducing greenery into an office setting not only resulted in a 15% productivity boost but also improved morale and the overall perception of air quality in the office. Now, more than ever, you have the perfect excuse to add succulents or cacti to your cubicle.

4.  Adjust Your Thermostat

Many of us complain that the office temperature is never quite right. We freeze in the winter and sweat to death during the summer months.  However, to increase your productivity, you may want to crank up the heat. When our body’s temperature drops, we expend energy trying to stay warm instead of using it for concentration, inspiration, and insight. In fact, studies show that workers committed 44% more errors and were half as productive when the temperature was set at 68°F compared to those working in 77°F conditions.

5.  Work in 90-Minute Intervals

The Association for Psychological Science suggests ratios of 90:20 – 90 minutes of work followed by a 20-minute break – may be the prescription for maximizing productivity. Scientists monitored elite performers, including musicians, athletes, and chess players, and found that the best performers typically practice in uninterrupted sessions that last no more than 90 minutes. Resting the brain for 20 minutes refreshes your body and prepares you for the next 90 minutes of work.

Everyone is different and so is the way in which we increase our productivity. While some may become energized after a second cup of coffee, others may find a walk in the fresh air and sunshine more effective. Find a way that works for you and enjoy accomplishing more throughout your day.