1. Cultivate a routine of regular stretching. Morning stretches are great for waking the body up but if you don’t have time or you already worked out in the morning, try to stretch at lunchtime. Ideally, this should be done before lunch but could also be done 30 minutes afterwards. The act of stretching will ‘reset’ the spine, open the lungs, pump blood into all the muscle-groups and ultimately help prevent the after-lunch slump so many of us experience. Stretches can be as simple as raising the arms while trying to touch the ceiling, touching your toes, rolling the shoulders back and hugging the arms behind the back.
2. If you work in a noisy environment and music is too distracting to work to try Noisli, an excellent web and mobile app. Noisli is a background sound and noise generator. If you work better to the sound of birds chirping while water flows through a windy meadow then this is the app for you. Random white noise can be generated as well as coffee shop sounds. The web version is free and the app costs a couple of dollars.
3. Give up the coffee and try Matcha Tea. Matcha is a cancer-fighting, fat-burning super drink that delivers caffeine in a more steady release fashion. Coffee tends to give us a jolt and then bring us back to earth with a thud. Matcha tea gives a milder buzz for a longer period of time. Matcha is packed with antioxidants and doesn’t raise insulin levels, thus helping keep cravings and blood sugar under control. We got ours from Le Palais de Thés on Wicklow Street in Dublin.
4. If you are easily distracted by the likes of Facebook and twitter you have two tools to help. Use Rescue Time to get a log of exactly how much time you are spending on these sites in relation to the amount of time actually working. It's an excellent tool for understanding where time is being wasted. Secondly, use website blocking software. Most browsers (Chrome, Firefox) have plugins that will do the job.
5. Use the Pomodoro Technique to work in chunks of time. The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management tool in which you use a timer to break work down into 25-minute intervals. Then you take a short break, the idea being that chunks of solid, undistracted work followed by short breaks help maintain mental agility.
6. Practice Yoga once or twice a week. Yoga can help with posture and concentration and is an excellent way for stressed-out workers to relax. Check out the MindBody connect app which allows you to search for Yoga schools in Ireland and abroad.
7. If you must snack at the desk try to go for low-sugar snacks. Sugar will cause a spike in insulin levels leaving you hungrier later on and can bring your energy levels right down. Snacking on high sugar foods at work is probably one of the least productive things you can do. Eat fruit, nuts or chocolate high in cocoa. We love Clonakilty Chocolate’s Raw and Sugar-Free Mulberry Goodness chocolate bars.
8. Put a plant or plants near your workspace so you not only have something green and natural in the room, but the plant's air-filtering properties will also help remove contaminants in the air. The air in the modern office is full of dust, ozone, viruses, and bacteria. Anything you can do to help lessen the impact of these contaminants will improve your productivity and health.
9. If you find you are tired in the morning and can’t sleep at night, especially during the winter you might be suffering from SAD or just a badly adjusted internal clock. A natural light can work wonders in lifting your mood, energy, and productivity. We use the Philips goLITE on our desk for 15-20 minutes first thing in the morning. The natural light from the goLITE helps trick the body into thinking it’s a bright, sunny morning. The body clock resets, you have more energy in the morning and you become sleepier in the evening for bedtime. The Irish winter months are an ideal time to use a natural light daily.
10. Get a Standing Desk. Yes, this will change your life, and we’re not just saying that because we sell them. We love standing desks and use them at work and at home. Our energy and concentration levels have improved considerably. They take a little bit of getting used to but once you’ve used them you will never go back. The legions of techies in Silicon Valley currently using standing desks can’t be wrong!