It’s no secret. You are more productive when you’re in a good mood. Studies have shown that you tend to work faster and achieve more and the quality of your work is higher too. And the good news is that no matter how bad your mood is, there is a way to improve your mood and hack your productivity, all at the same time. In fact, there are five ways.
And not only are these hacks scientifically proven but also tried and tested by me, yours truly. So yes, you do have someone to blame if these don’t work out.
Have a nature bath
The Japanese have a fancy name for it – forest bath – but finding a forest in Mumbai is akin to searching for the holy grail. So, I’m revising it to a nature bath. Find the sunniest, grassiest or most wooded spot in your vicinity & take a quick 10 minute time-out to improve your mood.
Strangely enough, there is something about being outside and amidst nature that lends perspective to our daily stressors. Perhaps it harks back to the simpler times of our childhood? I don’t know why it works but I do know that it does work. There is something about the sight and sound of greenery that instantly calms my mind and reminds me that my work and the stress it brings is just a very small part of my day. And I come back to my work table rejuvenated and able to dive back into my work with the right amount of perspective.
Listen to your favourite upbeat track
If music be the food of love…play on and all that jazz! I have taken the effort of loading several playlists on my Apple Music app that are coded by mood. And I listen to a lot of music and make it a point to add tracks as and when I find them into the right playlists. Whenever I am down and stressed or just feeling blue I make it a point to tune into my workout playlist that I have on my phone. And then you just let the beats improve your mood.
Another angle to hacking your productivity is to deepen your concentration with music. This may sound contradictory but when I was younger, I used to have my deepest hours of study to the accompaniment of blaring music, as did a lot of my friends. A habit that caused my worried mother, no end of consternation. But it sure did work. And I have used this hack, well into my adulthood. At work, I would plug in my headphones, block out the ambient noise and dive deep into my email stack! And emerge victorious!!!
I also read a recent study that found that (among other things) music can be used as a way to change your mood. So start with the track that most reflects your mood and pick the next track which is a shade away from your current mood and heading in the direction of the mood that you want to be in. And sure enough, over the space of a few tracks, you will find yourself in a brand new mood. Apparently, it is possible to engineer your mood if you know how. Who knew? Now you do.
Have a nap
I know that you must definitely have read about this one particular hack, but I think it sure bears repeating! There is a complex neurological process that is akin to clearing house that happens when you take a short nap during a busy day. You wake up to find your mind cleared of all the cobwebs that made it all musty and dusty and prevented clear thinking. The trick, I have found, is to keep the nap short and not be found in a corner of your workplace with your mouth open and eyes closed. The reverse is generally appreciated!
I personally like being horizontal during my power naps, but not too comfortable. Unfortunately for me, I can’t sleep unless I am horizontal (on an aside, it sure does make long flights intolerable). But if I’m comfortable and snuggled under a cover, then the short nap turns into a long snooze. So, Virus from the 3 Idiots movie, had it right. Get comfy but not too comfy and wake up raring to go.
Call your Mom
This one has benefits other than just improving productivity. It also earns you major brownie points if done during the weekday. But studies have shown, that especially for women, connecting with our parents can bring down our stress level and calm our blood pressure. Now that can only be a good thing, no matter which way you look at it.
In conclusion, moods are funny things but like spouses, have to be dealt with and cannot be wished away. So, we might as well learn to hack them if we can! What say?