Career Advice, Watercooler

4 Unexpected Ways To Improve Your Work Performance

Chances are high that you spend a large portion of your waking life at work, possibly even more than you spend at home or with your loved ones. So if there’s a way to enhance the quality of your experience and performance in the office, you’d probably want to get in on that, right? Luckily, there are some science-proven and surprisingly fun ways you can boost not only your work performance, but also your perception of your job and your daily tasks.

Keep reading to find out four key things you can do outside the office that will improve your life, both at work and at home.

1. Exercise
The primary reason for taking up a new workout routine is usually weight loss, but there are so many other positive effects to be reaped from regular sweat sessions—especially when it comes to your career. You know how you just feel so much better when you’re in an exercise routine? You probably sleep more soundly, wake up feeling energized and hit that mid-afternoon slump way less frequently than you normally would. All of these things can help you do better at work, but there’s actually evidence that working out can help to increase your productivity, too. A recent study out of Denmark published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science showed that after a group of corporate workers started exercising consistently, not only did they have better muscular strength and cardiovascular health, but their productivity levels also shot up. Plus, if you decide to set a major goal like running a race, the positivity you feel from your success in that pursuit can translate into other areas of your life, namely work.

[Related: How to Exercise in the Office]

2. Meditate
Similarly to exercise, meditation is hardly ever something people take up because of job performance concerns. Generally, meditation is recommended to help ease depression, soothe anxiety and improve emotional awareness. Research also suggests, however, that it can assist people in developing crucial skills that aid them in a professional environment, like self-esteem, self-care and, you guessed it: increased productivity. A 2014 study in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction found that “meditation can effectuate a perceptual shift in how employees experience their work and psychological environment.” That is, if you’re not loving your job at the moment or struggling with something in particular that’s work-related, meditation might be a way for you to see your gig in a whole new light. Plus, participants in the study also saw betterments in the areas of job satisfaction, levels of work-related stress, and employer-rated job performance.

[Related: 4 Billionaires Share Their #1 Secret to Success]

3. Get Creative
You don’t have to work in a creative industry to reap the benefits of thinking outside the box on the job. A Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology study showed that employees who took on a regular creative creative activity (anything from writing short stories to playing video games!) seemed to have improved job performance. If you think about it, it makes complete sense that doing something creative that you enjoy might help spark an idea or new way of thinking about something you deal with regularly in your job.

[Related: 11 Jobs for Creative Types Hiring Now]

4. Get Enough Sleep
It might sound obvious, but getting the right number of hours of sleep (seven to nine, people!) really is important when it comes to the quality of your work. While numerous studies confirm this, a recent one in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine confirmed that not getting enough sleep definitely causes adverse effects at work. On the plus side, getting on a regular sleep schedule and being aware of how much sleep is healthy helped the test subjects notice reduced stress levels, increased energy and a higher quality of life. Sounds like a no-brainer to us.

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