Whether you work from home, a place of business, or you’re a stay-at-home mom, a student, whatever…..you’re probably looking for ways to have more productive days, specifically when your income depends on it. In my time so far of running the daily operations of In Transit Studios, I’ve had very productive days and very unproductive days. I’ve had days that felt like they went by in 1 hour and days that have gone by slower than a turtle walking….well anywhere. There are many ways to be more productive and most solutions will be relative to your situation – e.g. hours, work situation, location, etc. But let’s focus on a few universal keys that can be applied no matter who you are or what industry you’re in.

Here are 4 keys to a productive day:

  1. Hydration
  2. Nutrition
  3. Exercise
  4. Rest

1) Hydration

Ah – good ole H2O. A typical healthy body is anywhere between 45% – 60% water. A person can go without eating for days, but water…it’s a must. We HAVE to consider this in our daily routine. Water is important for a number of reasons including transportation of nutrients around the body, organ function, body temperature, digestion, muscle development and more. It helps increase concentration levels by providing oxygen to the brain along with performance and general wellbeing. Ever prepared to play a sport or dive into a big workout? What’s the first thing you do? Hydrate. Why should it be any different before preparing to work? A typical healthy person should be drinking between 6-8 glasses of water a day depending on their activities. One thing I started doing recently was drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning before anything else. It has helped tremendously with getting my mind going and starting the day strong.

Now, let’s address the biggest question. “Is coffee hydrating?!?”……….I’m happy and relieved to say YES. Yes, coffee is hydrating. Though not as much as water and most teas, but it is still hydrating. You just have to consider the caffeine that accompanies coffee. It’s also best to drink coffee ALONG with water. The myth that coffee is dehydrating was debunked according to webmd.com. (Let’s hope that holds true.)

So, incorporate water in your daily routine as much as possible! Treat a work day or creative session like you’re preparing for a good workout.

2) Nutrition

I don’t feel I need to delve into this in too much detail when it can be summed up in one phrase -“You are what you eat.” Heard it all our lives, right? Easy to understand but easy to forget. Especially when we get into our daily routines and the hustle and bustle of every day life. But I’ll be the first to admit that my productivity relies heavily on my diet. It affects my mood, my concentration, my everything. Now, am I recommending cutting out a delicious burger entirely? Avoid pizza like the plague? No. Am I saying that my meals moving forward will all be a colorful palate of greens? No, but what I strive for in a daily diet is balance. Even more important, when eating the “not so great for you foods,” is to remember the big M word – MODERATION. Choosing wisely the portions you eat, the amount of sugar you take in along with the balance of vegetables, fruits and other foods that are crucial to your health, will greatly help your daily productivity.

3) Exercise

Some hear “exercise” and light up with child like enthusiasm. Some hear it and squirm like a salted worm. No matter your predisposition toward exercise, it’s so very important to a healthy lifestyle. It’s also something to consider in our daily routines. Again, exercise is something that can be relatively difficult depending on your situation and schedule. But those who don’t find time to exercise will find time to be sick or find time in a hospital sooner than later.

But exercise isn’t something that needs to be feared, nor something that needs to be an obsessive, expensive hobby. I’ve found that during a typical work day, a set of push ups, some stretching, maybe some jumping jacks are more than enough to get my blood flowing and to boost my mood and productivity throughout the day. A “less is more” approach can go a long way if your weekly time and schedule are tight. I try to stick to a few good workouts a week and some cardio when possible, but something is better than nothing when it comes to your body’s health and longevity.

4) Rest

Ah rest – the most overlooked of the 4 keys listed here. In our digital, fast-paced, busy body world rest can be hard to come by, but it’s crucial. A productive day really stars the night before. If you get 2 hours of sleep heading into a full day of activities, you’d better believe you’ll feel it. The start of a productive day starts the night before. Planning your day or even the first hour of your day the night before can better your productivity and take care of little decisions that add up like what to wear, what to eat for breakfast, etc. And it leaves mental room for you to make more important decisions for work and daily demands.

Rest is beneficial for your immune system, muscles, concentration and so much more. Take the time you need to rest, recharge and mentally prepare for your tasks. We’re all like batteries – you can only go so long before needing recharged.

Most of these are easier said than done, right? Sure. But worth it? Absolutely. Having the discipline to maintain these 4 crucial areas could be the difference in your success and well-being. I hope these 4 keys to a productive day will resonate with you as they have with me. Cheers!