Productivity problems? The solutions are obvious…

As a self-employed person, a small business owner, sole trader, freelancer – whatever you would categorise yourself as – when do you find productivity at its highest? When do you think you are most motivated, clear-headed and full of ideas?

It is nearing that time of year when summer holidays start to make business a little more challenging. Childcare during school holidays, suppliers and customers taking breaks just when your cash flow is facing a challenge, hot weather making concentration difficult, your own need to take a step back and recharge the batteries – all these things can make ensuring you are physically and mentally healthy particularly important.

A piece of research was highlighted by Somerset Live last week. It was undertaken by an organisation with a vested interest in the results, and it has uncovered nothing really new, but it sought to find out when we are at our most productive and happy at work.  In a study by British Cherries, researchers looked at the responses of 2000 people to assess the daily highs and lows experienced by people at work. It found that long tiring meetings create real ‘down’ time, but the moment someone receives a compliment from a colleague or customer the mood lifts. Similarly, if you have a good night’s sleep, you are likely to be super-charged and enthusiastic the moment you sit down to work, but if you miss the alarm and oversleep, the day will get off to a bad start.

Overall, it is not Friday afternoon that is the happiest time in the working week, but 3.25 each day, although it is likely that this applies more to employees than the self-employed, whose working day is often only half done at that time of the day.

Unsurprisingly, as a representative organisation for the cherry producing industry, it also discovered that our productivity and mood is directly affected by the healthy, or unhealthy, choices we make in our diet. Nearly three-quarters of those questioned said they felt better after eating healthily whilst working, with a third stating that they saw a direct correlation between eating unhealthy choices and their levels of frustration and low mood.

Of course, when asked when they felt at their happiest, most of the choices involved kicking off the work shoes, hugging family and relaxing at the end of the day, something that many of those starting up or managing a small business are unable to do, but the list also highlighted the importance of those compliments. Make sure you monitor customer feedback – you might find it just brightens your day and makes working hard more attractive.