Work Better, Stress Less, Be More Productive

Yes, we just completed the year. It’s been challenging, interesting and filled with hope, some crap and politics…let’s leave that one alone. Working better, stressing less and staying productive are all good things to aim for. But how do folks like you and me get this done?

I been chatting with thousands of diverse individuals at the conferences I’ve keynoted this past year and they’ve given me a lot to chew on regarding their post-pandemic views of work, life and stressing less. An earful, a mouthful, a variable smorgasbord of thoughts, complaints and, thankfully solutions. As usual, I took notes. Here are three things that stuck with me.

1- Stop what you’re doing and take a break every hour. It’s difficult at first. It’s a pain in the butt because it takes us away from what we’re doing. And, that’s the point! It is a form of exercise. Exercise is challenging at first and then becomes easier and commonplace.

Increased productivity, lowered stress and increased focus follows after taking a 5–15-minute break every hour. Here’s the hard part; social media does not give us that break we need And, we don’t need science to tell us this. However…

Participants who took a phone break mid-task took 19% longer to complete the assigned task, and solved 22% fewer problems than other participants. But it wasn’t the break time in general that caused the depletion in mental energy. It was specifically taking a break by looking at their cell phones: published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions.

Your break can include petting your dog/cat/bird. Going for a walk. Phoning a friend. Taking a short nap of 20 minutes in the afternoon has also proven to be very beneficial. I know this personally and have been taking them every day for 20 years. And, they are very rejuvenating!

2- Eat something, drink water or cooking something you like. We tend to work and function better when hydrated and with food in our bellies. Concentration is better and stress can be kept in check as we navigate the twists and turns of our M-F lives.

Cell phones can take care of reminding us and the rest is easy. Keep water by you at all times and take a meal break when your timer goes off. And don’t shut off your timer until you stand ‘cause standing gets us half way there. Productivity flourishes when we are not hungry and our bodies are not craving water.

3- Call, don’t text. We’re used to texting and it is an amazing way to communicate. However, studies show that connecting with a human is really good for us. Not necessarily the one who is always negative (you know who they are), but the ones who have a more positive outlook on the world, life and also listen well. According to Messente, (a communication company), as you hear someone’s voice, you can be 100% sure that the other person is present and paying attention to what you have to say.

Additionally, talking to the recipient is much more personal; you can easily convey emotion to ensure your message is delivered appropriately.

No doubt, your life is filled with stressful moments and calm ones too. To function best during the day, I encourage you to try one or more of the ideas presented above. I’m confident that you’ll focus better, stress less and become more productive too!

As always, feel free to comment or email me at