Why Looking After Your Health Improves Your Productivity

“If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?”

- Gary Keller, The One Thing


Why Looking After Your Health Improves Your Productivity

In this blog I will explain you how your health seriously impacts upon your time management and productivity. I also share five essential tips that personally helped me boost my focus, improve my concentration and increase the quality of output.

One of the things I have learnt from personal experience over the years is, there is an undeniable link between your health and your productivity. When I was younger I suffered from an eating disorder. I was constantly yoyo-ing between surviving on as little as 800 calories a day, then comfort eating and bingeing on sugary foods. Of course, this had a huge negative impact on my health and also my focus & productivity. With such little energy, I confused my body with huge spikes of sugar followed by nothing for days. It is no wonder I struggled with focus and concentration. My output and productivity was inconsistent & shaky most of the time.

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As Gary Keller explains in his book “The One Thing”, poor health habits are one of the ‘Four Thieves’ that can rob you of your productivity.

What is the Link Between Health and Productivity

Have you ever noticed a drop in your energy, focus or output in any of these scenarios?

  • Eating a big meal at lunchtime and then struggling to focus in the afternoon?
  • Struggling on a Monday because you've overindulged at the weekend?
  • Had to crash and burn after consuming too much caffeine or sugary snacks?
  • Felt the onset of a headache coming because you haven't drunk enough water?
  • Noticed you're more irritable or have less patience when you're tired?

When we look after our health, we automatically start to improve everything else. We get out what we put in, so what are you putting “in”? How is your sleep, eating habits, nutrition, fitness and mental well-being?

As Gary Keller explains in his book “The One Thing”, poor health habits are one of the ‘Four Thieves’ that can hold you up and rob you of your productivity. As Keller says, personal energy mismanagement is a silent thief of productivity.

Being busy is not an excuse. In fact if you're busy it is even more important to look after your health and well-being. I have noticed talking to clients and networking, that busy people, especially business owners and entrepreneurs, think they can save time by skimping on sleep, skipping meals, not taking breaks and not doing any exercise.  

I am sure like me, you have already seen first-hand the undeniable inextricable link between your health and your productivity. Neglecting your health will reduce your productivity.


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Sleep is an essential and sacrificing sleep means sacrificing productivity and your mental & physical health

The Importance of Sleep

So what's wrong with shaving the odd hour off of your nightly sleep? When there seems too much to do we often work late and sacrifice sleep. However, always remember the importance of a healthy sleep routine! Self care and sleep are important for effective time management. A life of all work and no relaxation and sleep can compromise your health and ultimately your productivity.

Getting adequate amount of sleep is essential for your well being and most people need 7 to 8 hours sleep every night. As Adam Uzialko writes in his article How Sleep Is Essential to Work and Productivity in the Business News Daily, sacrificing sleep also means sacrificing productivity and, in the long run, your mental and physical health. 

As the  National Institute of Health says in its article NIH Offers New Comprehensive Guide to Healthy Sleep, Studies have linked sleep to our ability to learn, create memories, and solve problems. Sleep has also been tied to mood. Without enough sleep, a person has trouble focusing, and responding quickly. In addition, mounting evidence links a chronic lack of sleep with an increased risk for developing obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and infections.

In his ground-breaking book, The One Thing”, Gary Keller writes, "Protect your sleep by determining when you must go to bed each night and don’t allow yourself to be lured away from it."

As Rachel Montañez writes in her article, 3 Essential Tactics For Conquering Sleep Deprivation And Burnout on the Forbes web site, sleep deprivation and burnout go hand-in-hand. In fact, the National sleep foundation says, “sleeping less than six hours each night is one of the best predictors of on-the-job burnout.”

I used to be someone whose motto was “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”, but after suffering burnout last year, I’m now 100% committed to putting my health first. I now appreciate how a lack of sleep can also have serious consequences and can lead to a burnout. In my article Burnout – What it is, what the warning signs are and how to prevent it , Dr Eleanor Akaho, shares her personal experiences of burnout, explains signs and symptoms of it and gives her tips how to recover from it.



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Top Tips for Improving Your Health and Productivity

Top Tips for Improving Your Health and Productivity

Need to improve your health and productivity? These are some of the best tips and techniques that have worked for me!

Tip 1: Get enough sleep every night

As we discussed above, sleep is an essential part of wellness, and a lack of sleep will reduce the quality of your work and your productivity.

As the Sleep Foundation explains in their recent blog on sleep hygiene, paying attention to sleep hygiene is one of the easiest ways that you can set yourself up for better sleep.

Strong sleep hygiene means having both, a bedroom environment and daily routines that promote consistent, uninterrupted sleep. Keeping a stable sleep schedule, making your bedroom comfortable and free of disruptions, following a relaxing pre-bed routine, and building healthy habits during the day can all contribute to improving the quality of your sleep and increase your productivity.

Tip 2: Practice the Pomodoro technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by the entrepreneur and author Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s.

When you use the Pomodoro Technique, you will always work in short sprints, which will make sure that you’re consistently productive. I always advocate in my coaching and training on goal setting & time management, that it is best to work in short, sharp bursts. Taking regular breaks will also keep you creative, focused and also free from burning out.

As Dr. Michael Mosley explained in his recent newspaper article, sitting continually is extremely bad for your health and your immune system. Dr. Mosley recommends standing up and walking around every 30-minutes. 

Read my blog Why Pomodoro Technique Increases Your Productivity, to find out how it will transform your time management and help you be more productive, especially if you are working from home.

Tip 3: Keep moving & get out your chair!

When you take your Pomodoro breaks, don't forget to get out of your chair and go for short walks, especially if you do a lot of sitting or computer work.

As the Weight Loss and Healthy Lifestyle Coach Anne Larchy explains in my latest book, How To Work From Home : Whilst Staying Productive, Healthy and Sane:

“Working from home we're much more seated, and often seated on regular chairs and not proper desk chairs, our hip flexors, lower back and shoulders really need attention. Make sure you don’t skip the stretches, otherwise the aches and pains will kick in sooner rather than from old age.”  

Tip 4 : Reduce your sugar intake

You may be surprised to learn that your health and productivity can be improved by reducing your sugar intake. We all realise that when we eat well, we feel better. However, did you know that we also think and perform better?

According to a recent UCLA study, sugar “forms free radicals in the brain’s membrane, compromising our nerve cells’ ability to communicate”. This causes a “foggy” or “out of it” feeling. The study drew strong connections between sugar intake and a reduction in how well we remember instructions and process ideas.

Eat more high protein and high fibre foods, like almonds and lentils, to help you focus and help curb your sugar cravings.

Tip 5 : Drink more water

I start every day with a cup of hot water and lemon as part of my Miracle Morning Routine.  I find it really cleanses and hydrates me. After a long time without hydration whilst we are asleep, it is important to make sure we rehydrate our bodies first thing in the morning.

As the Habit Growth article The Unexpected Benefits Of Hydration On Productivity explains, there are countless physical and mental health benefits of staying hydrated. The human body is made up of approximately 70% water, with certain organs containing much higher ratios than this, so a hydrated body is a healthy body. Dehydration can lead to lack of energy, difficulty in concentrating, and mental alertness, which will effect focus & time management. Dehydration also can lead to headache & dizziness, negative mood and  interfere with a person’s ability to think rationally. A 2013 study by the University of East London showed, that drinking water resulted in a 14% increase in productivity.

Most experts agree that drinking at least 2 litres of water a day will prevent dehydration, although I always drink more. Of course, other beverages (except alcohol) help you to hydrate too, but they often contain loads of sugar, and those sugar dips do NOT do you any good! Although research has proven that low to moderate caffeine intake does not have a negative impact on hydration, you should not drink more than 4 cups of coffee a day.


Further Reading

Have you heard of the Pomodoro Technique of time management? Read my blog Why the Pomodoro Technique Increases Your Productivity, to find out how it will transform your time management and help you be more productive, especially if you are working from home.

Are you suffering from burnout? Are you exhausted and irritable? Are you showing the early signs of burnout? In the article, Burnout – What it is what the warning signs are and how to prevent it , Dr Eleanor Akaho shares her personal experiences of burnout, explains signs and symptoms of it, and gives her tips how to recover from it.


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I initially signed up with Alice to help me with my time management and productivity in my business and everyday life. Alice is a fantastic coach. She is very supportive and kind. I love her honest and straightforward approach. Since working with Alice, I have discovered so many new ways of doing things. She has helped me uncover the root of some of my habitual tendencies and transform them. The amount of care and support she offers is priceless. I highly recommend working with her. 

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This article is written by Alice Dartnell, life and success coach of Alice Dartnell Limited. Alice empowers busy professionals to be successful, transform their lives and achieve more by improving their confidence, mindset and time management.

For more information please see www.alicedartnell.com.

Copyright 2020 Alice Dartnell Limited



This blog is published solely for educational and entertainment purposes. The author and publisher are not offering it as legal, accounting, health care or other professional services advice. While best efforts have been used in preparing this blog, the author and publisher make no representations or warranties of any kind and assume no liabilities of any kind with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be held liable or responsible to any person or entity with respect to any loss or incidental or consequential damages caused, or alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the information contained herein. Every person and company are different, and the advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. Alice Dartnell or Alice Dartnell Limited is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised in this blog. You should seek the services of a competent professional as appropriate. You are responsible for your own choices, actions, and results. Always consult your own General Practitioner if you're in any way concerned about your health.