Working in IT often means late hours, liters of coffee and a lack of work-life balance. Not many of us recognize that daily habits can have a huge impact on our work and performance. We are trying to do more and more without proper recovery and taking care of ourselves. I would like to introduce you to a few changes you can apply to your life that will lead to enormous change.
Sleep Should Be Your Priority
I know, I know, there is never time for sleeping. However, you cannot even imagine how important it is in your life. I highly recommend the book “Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams” by Matthew Walker, which has opened my eyes on this topic. Sleeping less than eight hours per night can extremely affect your life and performance. You cannot sleep in advance or recover from sleep deficiency. Eight hours of sleep should happen every single night for your brain and body to recover. In the mentioned book above, you can find studies that show that only one hour of sleep deficiency — when you sleep seven hours instead of eight hours — can dramatically decrease your brain processes and your effectiveness and productivity overall. Sleep should be your No. 1 priority above everything else.
Fats Are Good
I know many of us don’t pay so much attention to what we eat every day at work. We order quick takeaway or grab donuts from our colleagues. However, we need to remember that we need healthy fats for our brains. Don’t forget about it while preparing your meals or buying takeaway. Provide your brain with Omega 3, healthy fats coming from fishes, olives, avocados, nuts and so on. Your first meal should be full of healthy fats and protein. Remember about it the next time you eat donuts and coffee for breakfast! You want more focus? Then get your fats!
Move Your Body
Moving during the day is extremely important. I recommend reading “Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success” by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness. It’s an extremely interesting book about improving our own performance. Think about starting your days with a short run or simply stretching. During the day, stand up from your desk a few times — ideally get in a walk around the office or outside. It is proven that a few minutes of walk outside can increase your productivity by 30-40%. I know the day can get busy, but don’t forget about it. Maybe your lunch break can be a perfect time for 15 minutes of yoga?
A Place for Work
This point is especially important during pandemic times. Creating a separate environment for work is crucial for finding work-life balance and avoiding burnout. Trust me, I know what I am talking about, I used to be a perfect example of a workaholic, and I experienced burnout before my 30s. When you are working on the sofa or at the dining table, you will never finish your work. All around your house there will be places that remind you about your work. Try to separate these two things. Find the best place to work and keep only working there. It can be a separate room, space, table or chair. Just make it clear for your brain that whenever you go to this place, it is time for work and whenever you are out of this place, it is time for no work.
The points above are just a few tips on how you can improve your performance at work in the IT world. This topic really fascinates me, so you can find more tips in my blog series Maximising Human Performance & Abilities. My background is as a Magento developer, so feel free to also check out my blog series How To In Magento 2.
Żaneta Baran is Magento 2 Certified front-end developer and Certified Scrum Master. She has been working with Magento as front-end developer, tech lead and technical project manager. She is blogging, among others topics, about Magento 2, traveling and maximizing human performance. She is in love with traveling, extreme sports and discovering new ways of gaining optimal lifestyles.