Cartoon depicting productivity
Jan 24, 2017 | Yemi Faleti

A new year is seen as an opportunity to not only mentally and physically reset, but to enrich who you are as a person, regardless of age and situation.

New Year’s Resolutions are tied to ancient Babylonians, who would make promises to the gods in order to court their favor and usher in a new year on the right foot. In light of that continuing tradition, here are ten habits that you can develop in 2017 to elevate your productivity.

Drink Water

The seemingly endless benefits of water, ranging from keeping skin clear to energizing muscles, are often overlooked due to how readily accessible water is. An increase in daily water intake can see to it that your body is internally in top shape, allowing you to maximize your time to the best of your ability, rather than staving off illness.

Stay Active

In conjunction with consuming a good deal of water throughout the day, staying active is of the utmost importance. Tim Cook, Apple CEO, is described as having “superhuman energy,” because he exercises daily at 5 a.m. and subsequently goes on to manage 12 hour plus work days. The energy that your body generates from working out allows you to maximize your daily potential.

Meditate

In contrast to staying active, meditation maybe be seen as a relaxing act. While this is the general belief, meditation actually has great potential to sharpen the mind, benefit emotional health, and greatly strengthen self-awareness. Despite its several religious connotations, meditation is an activity that anybody can partake in, allowing you to reap its many benefits

Read Something New

In the words of renowned author, Stephen King, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” There is a wealth of information that can be acquired from reading, whether it be a poem, novel, or autobiography. A study by the NeuroImage journal in 2006 revealed that your brain does not differentiate between living through an experience and reading about one. The same brain regions are stimulated in each instance, allowing readers to truly be able to simulate experiences in their mind. Next time air fare or gas prices take an unexpected hike, immerse yourself in a book. Your brain certainly will not mind.

Shorten Deadlines

When we set goals, we often choose deadlines that are comfortable for us. While these deadlines might give us some space to slip up every so often, it’s beneficial to consider why you chose those deadlines. When setting goals, always ask yourself why they can’t be completed sooner. That extra push may well be the catalyst that allows you to reach productivity levels that enable you to achieve the goals you’ve set.

Prioritize

Distractions come in all shapes and sizes, and tuning them out may not be as simple as it seems. While it’s beneficial to take breaks and divert your attention from whatever it is that you may be working on; they can also be detrimental to your focus if you are diverted for too long. To-do lists are a great way to hold yourself accountable for the tasks that you need to complete, and in the technology driven world that we now find ourselves in, cell phones can be very effective in setting reminders and keeping you on track with your day.

Check on Yourself

Life is always moving forward, but the pace at which it moves can very well become overwhelming and too frantic for us. It never hurts to sit yourself down and ask “how am I doing?” Oftentimes, especially when asked by others around us, the default answer is usually along the lines of “I’m fine, thanks.” Consider how you have been feeling recently, and ask yourself if you really are fine. If the answer is yes, continue to put yourself in a space, both mentally and physically, where you can truly say that you are fine. If you find yourself feeling that things could be better, identify what the issues are, and confront them head on.

Pay It Forward

The act of “paying it forward” constitutes of doing a favor or performing an act of kindness for somebody; the only condition being that they do the same for somebody else. Dr. David R. Hamilton, chemistry professor and author, found that acts of kindness create the releases of oxytocin and nitric oxide. These chemicals, in turn, dilate the blood vessels and reduce blood pressure, protecting the heart and cardiovascular health. Being the highlight of somebody’s day while simultaneously maintaining body health is something that we should all consider; it could very well leave the world in a better place.

Socialize

Although having time to yourself can advance self awareness and give a sense of peace, being social is conducive to mental health as well as physical health. Socialization has similar effects on well-being that paying it forward does, in addition, there is the added ability to enhance your views and personal philosophies, as conversation can make for an effective yet enjoyable learning experience.

Travel

Whether you need a change of scene, something to wind down from hard work, or simply the desire to explore; traveling can benefit you in many ways. Travel does not necessarily have to take place via air, even a drive to somewhere new can refresh you and give you a new sense of determination. Trips to Europe, specifically, are already starting off at low prices in 2017, so now may be the time to make this your year of exploration and discovery.

Taking action can be harder than it seems, but with these 10 habits, you can maximize your potential and see your productivity skyrocket, whether it be at school, work, or even home.

Academics