Best Practices in HR

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Robyn Whalen
  November 12, 2018

7 Healthy Habits For a More Productive Work Day

Do you ever look at famous successful business people and wonder: how do they do it?

If you’ve seen famous entrepreneurs like Mel Robbins, Tony Robbins, or Warren Buffett in action, it seems they all have endless energy to spend.


They make healthy habits a priority.  They are as busy as the rest of us, if not busier.

Mel does hot yoga regularly (and she actually hates it).

Tony does consistent meditation.

Warren sits and thinks. A lot.

While their particular habits may not appeal to you, there are plenty of options to lead a healthier, more productive life at home and work.

What’s the Secret?

There’s actually no secret. Sorry.

The key, however, to making great habits stick is to do it on a regular basis. Even when you don’t feel like it or when it’s overwhelmingly annoying, like waking up on time.

Best of all, if you start small, you’ll notice how good routines and smarter habits creep into other areas of your life. Next time you think you’re too busy, just consider how some of the most successful (and productive) people in the world are, too.

And they still do it.

Ready to pick up some great new habits? Read on.

1.  Don’t Hit Snooze

If just looking at your alarm clock makes you groan, you’re not alone. When that lovely blaring tone wakes you from your sweet slumber at 6 a.m., sometimes it takes all you have not to chuck your alarm clock across the room. But, if you hit snooze, you’re actually doing more harm than good.

Our bodies go through several sleep cycles at night, including REM sleep, which is the restorative sleep your body needs. When your alarm goes off, you usually are at the end of your last REM cycle. If you wake up on your first alarm, your body snaps out of the REM sleep and is ready for the day. Hit snooze — even for five minutes — and your body thinks you are falling back into REM sleep. When you wake up for a second time, you’ll feel groggy and even more unmotivated to get moving.

Healthy tip: Set up your alarm clock across the room. It will force you to get up out of bed and start your day upon the first ring.

2. Stay Hydrated

You hear it all the time: Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. If you drink more like eight cups of coffee, it’s time to fix that. Why is water so important for the body? It helps deliver oxygen, regulates body temperature, flushes body waste, and so much more. While some veggies and fruits (like watermelon) do contain quite a bit of water as well, doctors recommend drinking as much good old H2O as you can. Plus, you’ll feel more energized when your body is properly hydrated.

Healthy tip: Need some flavor? Add fresh fruit to give your water a refreshing twist. Diced strawberries with fresh mint and lime make for a delicious, flavored water.

3. Take a Mental Break

If you’ve been working on the same task for hours on end, sometimes you run into a dead end. Your ideas may not flow, or you can’t find the solution to the problem. When that happens, it may be time to take a mental break. That doesn’t mean zoning out on Facebook. Physically step away from your area. A study by Draugiem Group found that the most productive employees worked for 45 minutes straight before taking a 10-minute break.

Healthy tip: Try a pomodoro timer or set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to take breaks.

4. Eat Nutritious Snacks

No matter how many times you wander over to the vending machine, it will not have the option of a healthy side salad. Unfortunately, as convenient as vending machine food is, those snacks are not going to fill you up, satiate you, or make you feel good. It will make you feel bloated, tired, and possibly more hungry. Boring as it may be, storing fresh fruit in the office fridge is a better option for you anytime hunger strikes.

Healthy tip: Keep roasted almonds, seaweed, trail mix (without the chocolate), and dried fruit in your desk drawer. When those afternoon junk food cravings hit, you’ll be ready.

5. Move Your Body

According to Dr. David Agus, sitting for five or more hours a day is equivalent to smoking 1.25 packs of cigarettes. Yikes. If your job has you sitting a lot, make a point to get up and stretch often. Take the stairs when you enter and leave the building. During your lunch hour, walk around your office building or see if a co-worker will join you for a yoga session at a local studio. Better yet, ask if your company has a budget for a standing desk. Your body will thank you.

Healthy tip:Ask if your boss or coworkers would be open to a walk and talk meeting. Walking can actually boost creative thinking, according to four different experiments.

6. Have Fun

What’s the point of going to work if you absolutely hate it? The work has to get done, too, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun. If you’re an HR manager, send out funny and inspiring emails filled with goofy gifs once a week. For employees, make your work area your own. Decorate your office or your cube. If you’re obsessed with puppies, no one is going to frown if they come into your office full of puppy cuteness. Having fun at work improves teamwork, boosts company morale, and allows creativity to freely flow. Think of the successful companies that offer employees perks like pool table rooms, yoga classes, group lunches, and more — they’re onto something.

Healthy tip: Life is too short to always be so serious. It’s okay to be professional yet playful.

7. Pack Your Lunch

It can be tempting to grab some fast food with coworkers when you’re slammed at work. You know it’s going to make you feel terrible after you eat it, so why eat it during the time when you need to be at peak mental performance? Consider packing a healthy lunch the night before, or, better yet, meal prep on a Sunday evening for the whole week. Burrito bowls, chicken with steamed veggies, and salads in mason jars can easily be prepped in bulk for the week.

Healthy tip: Find a group of like-minded coworkers who also want to eat healthy. Once a week or month, bring in a healthy meal for your lunch group. It will encourage healthier eating habits, and you’ll get to try new foods!

Healthy Habits Take Time

There are tons of different healthy habits to add into your daily life, but the best ones are habits that work well for you. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by trying a bunch all at once. Try one or two at a time. Habits tend to stick best after repetition, and once you have a routine down, you’re more likely to stay with it. From meditation to daily walking, drinking more water, and healthy lunch spreads with friends, you can always find small ways to include healthier ways of living.

Did we miss anything? Share your favorite healthy habits below!

Building Healthy Habits Guide