7 free hacks for improving performance you can do today

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I love the latest shiny new productivity things. Whether that be tech such as bio-feedback, supplements that boost focus or software for helping me to manage email overload. However, all this shiny new stuff can often lead to the simplest, time-tested and effective approaches to be overlooked. Here are a list of my favourite free hacks for upping your game.

1. Mindfulness meditation

You don’t need to do anything except watch your breath come and go. And you don’t need to sit on a cushion in silence to practice. You can practice wherever you are. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve focus and attention1. Mindfulness meditation stimulates activity in the pre-frontal cortex, the area of the brain associated with awareness, concentration and executive decision making1. It also reduces the size of the amygdala – the primitive part of the brain responsible for the fight or flight response2.

2. Water

This is so overlooked. Keep your hydration in check. Hunger, tiredness and low focus are often due to low hydration3,4.

3. Paper

The physical act of putting pen to paper has benefits over and above any of the fanciest computers, smart phones and tablets. Students who note take over typing digital retain more useful information5. The creative process is stimulated by writing free hand. Many writers get their writing on paper first6.

4. Intermittent fasting

Fasting is free and will actually save you money! Find out more on the cognitive benefits of IF can be found here.

5. A walk in the park

Seeing trees and being in nature stimulates creativity7. Taking time away from difficult problems will allow solutions to percolate through the subconscious mind8.

6. Exercise

Even doing 5 reps of an exercise (e.g. burpees, push-ups, squats) can stimulate higher energy levels. This is great for working at home. I haven’t built up the courage yet to do star jumps off the side of my desk in the office, so alternatively I’ll go for a brisk walk.

7. Cold showers

They wake you up for sure. But did you know they also stimulate the production of mitochondria in the body? Mitochondria are the bodies batteries- the more of these you have the more energy you have9.

There you go, you can up your productivity for free. No excuses 😉

Paddy.

Have you got any free hacks? Please share in the comments below.

If you are interested in trying out a FREE 7-day meal plan you can grab a copy of that here. Just add your details and we’ll get that over to you. 

Disclaimer: the content provided in this blog is the personal opinions of the Nutrition and Productivity Blog / Patrick McCay and is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute any type of professional advice. The content may or may not be true. The Nutrition and Productivity Blog / Patrick McCay makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. The Nutrition and Productivity Blog /Patrick McCay encourages you to seek the advice of the relevant licensed professionals before making any decisions related to health.

References

  1. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1533210108329862 ‘Mindfulness Research Update: 2008′
  2. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0064574 ‘Dispositional Mindfulness Co-Varies with Smaller Amygdala and Caudate Volumes in Community Adults’
  3. http://www.medicaldaily.com/pulse/lack-drinking-water-deteriorates-human-body-adverse-effects-dehydration-329640 ‘Lack Of Drinking Water Deteriorates Human Body: Adverse Effects Of Dehydration’
  4. http://visual.ly/water
  5. http://www.npr.org/2016/04/17/474525392/attention-students-put-your-laptops-away ‘Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away’
  6. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/nov/03/creative-writing-better-pen-longhand
  7. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0051474 ‘Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings’
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3990058/ ‘Creativity—the unconscious foundations of the incubation period’
  9. https://www.foundmyfitness.com/?sendme=cold-stress ‘Report on Cryotherapy & Cold-Water Immersion’
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