6 weird things that will accelerate productivity improvement

We’ve all heard the normal tips and tricks, productivity tools, etc.,  for productivity improvement. They’re all about staying focused, being dedicated, and just putting your head down and hammering things out. But what about the weirder tips for improving productivity? What about the things that maybe seem quirky, but truly boost efficiency? We’ve come up with a few out-of-the-box ideas for you to try out.

1. Add more yellow in your office

This is probably the weirdest tip, but also the most interesting. Colors have a psychological affect on humans, (that’s why there’s a lot of thought/time that goes in to colors when branding a company —read more about it here — but it’s also physiological, too).

Get this: Putting yellow things around you actually gives you more energy. It’s true, really! Yellow decreases melatonin in your body which is what tells it it’s time to go to sleep, thus giving you more energy. Therefore, it allows you to improve productivity. More energy = more probability of productivity. Plus, who doesn’t like a good cheery yellow?

2. Free, unlimited coffee

coffee at the office

Do you know the scientific reason why coffee improves productivity and energy? It’s interesting: Caffeine doesn’t actually give you more energy as much as it actually stops your body from pressing the breaks with fatigue. It postpones it, letting you work longer before hitting that tired feeling. It also affects dopamine and serotonin, making you less depressed.

Brad likes to talk about how when he started managing his first team earlier on in his career, he got on Starbuck’s weekly brew program where they would send a bag of coffee each week. They always had coffee brewing and productivity on his team skyrocketed. Now, I’m not saying you should force your employees to drink coffee (because it is amazing), but make it available–it’s a nice perk! (See what we did there?) We always have Starbucks VIAs around our office. It’s super cheap for you, and it can improve productivity of your team. Plus, it makes the office smell amazing.

Bonus: Which jobs drink the most coffee? Find out here.

3. Get up with the sun

sunrise

Instead, try timing your sleep schedule to wake up before or right at sunrise. ZenHabits.com suggests there are many productivity improvement benefits that come with rising early. And doesn’t it seem like the most “together” people are the ones who get up early and aren’t scurrying to get to work? Who knows…it might even open up time in your schedule to get in some exercise and fully wake up your senses before diving into the workday.

4. Have a chocolate stash

chocolate stashAround the 2:30 mark most days, it seems like your mind and stomach start demanding reinforcements. Having a chocolate stash (especially dark chocolate) is the perfect answer to that afternoon craving. Not only does dark chocolate offer a slight caffeine boost, but it’s full of antioxidants and can help regulate blood sugar. Read more on the benefits here.

Another good reason to have a chocolate stash: It’s a conversation starter. If people in your office know where to find the good stuff, they’ll pop in and open up a conversation that may not have happened without the bait. Also, chocolate is just really, really tasty.

5. Get an office dog

office dogPets make people happy. I mean, come on—who can resist a dog that may happen to wander into your office for a quick pet on the head? Studies have shown that dogs in the office place energize communication, sparking interaction between co-workers who otherwise may have difficulty finding common ground. Not only that, but these office pets reduce stress and make people smile throughout the day.

Having a furry friend in the office also builds rapport between employees. This study showed that groups with a dog in a prisoner’s dilemma situation were 30 percent less likely to sell each other out. It’s not for every workplace, but it’s interesting, don’t you think?

6. Re-charge with an outdoor walk

walkingInstead of slumping into your chair during breaks or reaching for a soda, try stepping outside for a brisk 15 minute walk. Even if it’s hot or cold outside, the fresh air is a good way to re-charge your mental batteries, switch up the scenery, and get your heart rate up and pumping blood throughout your body.

Taking short breaks improves productivity and creativity and keeps you from mentally bottoming out. Working for too long (or sitting for too long) can eventually be harmful to your work flow, as the productivity starts to drop off when your mind gets tired. Hop up! Take a walk and don’t think about your task for a few minutes. You’ll be fresh when you sit back down.

There are lots of unconventional ways you can improve productivity, and these tips are just a starting place for you. Some might be perfect, some might need tweaked. Try them out and introduce them to the office and see how they increase your team’s productivity!

What weird things do you do to inspire your team and improve productivity?




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Photo credit: Leah Gregg55Laney69NouhaillerginnerobotLachlan Hardym-louis,

Devan Perine

Devan Perine works with small business owners on their marketing and multimedia efforts. She's passionate about helping businesses build their presence online, and giving Gen Y a voice in the workplace. When she's not working, she loves to make a mess in the kitchen, and play with her band around Chicago. She loves to chat! Give her a shout on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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