Our health and wellness directly impact our productivity. In the US alone, employee illnesses cost employers billions of dollars each year due to lost productivity. Whether you work in an office, you have your own business, or if you’re still in school–when your health declines your energy and focus also declines. This means low to zero productivity. You might force yourself to work even when you’re sick, but the quality of your work will not be the same compared to when you are feeling 100% okay.
That’s why in Asian Efficiency, we always highlight the importance of your health. Not only do we help our readers and customers be productive through systems, we also help them be more productive through their health and well-being. We have never (and never will) advocate for long work hours and short sleep. If you have been following Asian Efficiency for quite some time, you know that we always say that a productive day starts with a good night’s rest.
Over the years, the team has researched and experimented on how we can push our bodies to feel energized and focused. We’re going to share with you some tips on how you can do this.
10 Health Hacks for Energy and Focus
1. Drink apple cider vinegar before going to bed
This is something Thanh has been doing even before all the craze for ACV (apple cider vinegar) started. Before he could only buy it in select stores but now, it seems that everyone is selling it. So why the hype?
Studies have shown that drinking ACV before bedtime helps control blood sugar levels by slowing down the emptying of our stomach. In turn, it helps prevent an increase in our blood sugar level. It also helps with sleep and weight management.
There are a lot of brands out there for ACV but the most popular and one that Thanh and I personally use is Bragg. Just take a teaspoon of ACV and mix it with water. DO NOT DRINK straight–it is not tequila.
Just like anything else, especially if you are under medication, consult your health provider first before you add this to your routine.
2. Get a Manta Sleep Mask
When Brooks’ visited the Philippines last week, I asked him “So did you bring your Manta Sleep Mask with you?” Of course, he did. He was on a plane for more than 15 hours (Vancouver – Seoul – Manila – Dumaguete) and the Manta Sleep Mask helped him get some shut-eye.
Before you say “it’s just a sleep mask”, let me tell you that it’s not JUST any ordinary sleep mask (not the usual kind that airlines give away). It’s 100% blackout and no pressure on your eyes because of the eyecups. With the regular sleeping masks, you will not be able to open your eyes comfortably. But because the Manta Sleep Mask has eyecups, you can open your eyes and even blink without feeling any pressure.
We featured the Manta Sleep Mask on our podcast. You can listen to Sleep Secrets to Boost your Focus and Productivity recording here.
3. Use activated charcoal supplements
Food poisoning sucks. I got food poisoning several years ago and I ended up in the hospital for several days. Thanh and Brooks, while traveling, got food poisoning as well. Fortunately for them, they had activated charcoal (food grade) and they recovered ASAP. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t know about it then. Always carry a few tablets with you especially when you travel to other places and even keep a bottle at home. Activated charcoal has toxin-absorbing properties that even emergency rooms use it to treat overdoses.
Aside from helping with food poisoning, activated charcoal also helps improve kidney functions, teeth whitening, skin exfoliation (I use it in my hand-made soaps), and a lot more.
4. Take Congaplex by Standard Process
The day before we are full-blown sick, we usually know. It could be that we noticed that our voice is starting to change, we lack energy, a bit of headache, our nose starts to run, etc. So before you even get sick, drink Congaplex since it gives your immune system support. This is something you can also take before you travel. It’s exhausting to travel especially if it’s several hours and you need to transfer from one plane to another. If you’re sitting with someone sick, most often than not you will end up sick yourself. Just because you felt 100% A-OK before you traveled doesn’t mean that you will be 100% A-OK when you land.
This is also Thanh’s go-to supplement when he travels and when he feels that he’s going to get sick.
5. Drink green tea in the afternoon
Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks that the world has to offer. It’s common knowledge that green tea is full of antioxidants. Although it has caffeine, it doesn’t mess up your sleep. In case you need a caffeine boost in the afternoon, don’t reach for your coffee–drink green tea instead.
Green tea also helps improve brain functions and increases your metabolism (meaning burn those fats!). Since green tea is full of antioxidants, it may reduce your risk of certain cancers like breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer.
6. Start meditating
There was a study made in school children that meditation in the classroom helped the students become more focused, settled, and calm. No wonder meditation has been around for 5,000 years because– viola! It works! Not just in school children but in adults as well.
Meditation can help you start your productive day. It doesn’t have to take hours–10 minutes will do. Meditation has been credited with reducing anxiety and depression and believe it or not, brain growth!
You don’t need an application to meditate but if you need help starting, you can use Calm.com and do the guided meditation.
7. Use a float tank
It’s also called sensory deprivation tank or isolation tank that is used for Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (or REST). Imagine a dark and soundproof tank with saltwater. That’s the float tank. You don’t have to worry about drowning since it’s only a foot deep. But why? Based on scientific research (and Thanh’s experience), using a float tank helps relax the muscles, better sleep, reduced stress–just to name a few. Based on other studies, it also helps with your creativity, focus, and concentration which leads to precise thinking.
8. Get the Waterminder app
Before I joined Asian Efficiency, I was a terrible water drinker. I used to just drink coffee and soda and maybe 2 glasses of water each day. Then I joined AE and Thanh showed me that it’s pretty easy to drink 500ml of water in one go (part of my morning ritual). However, drinking water in the morning to start my day is different from drinking water throughout the day.
The Waterminder app is precisely there to help remind you how much water you drank and to remind you to drink water. Dehydration is a silent productivity killer because our body and brains get affected when we are dehydrated.
9. Go to Egoscue once a quarter
Let’s face it. We’re no longer 7-year-old kids that can play all day and still feel perfect the next day. It simply comes with age and the work that we do. Whether we sit in front of a computer or we’re always on the go, our body is a machine that we need to maintain. Just like a car, make sure that the oils are changed regularly.
Egoscue is used to correct posture issues that are causing you discomfort. Imagine sitting on your chair for an hour and when you stand up, you immediately feel this discomfort on your lower back–that’s the issue we are referring to. It’s simply posture therapy.
Thanh used this when he dislocated his shoulder a few years ago. Although he is already completely fine, he still goes every three months just for prevention. As they say, prevention is always better than cure.
10. Track what you eat using MyFitnessPal
Ask any personal trainer and they will tell you that no matter how much you work out if your nutrition is lacking, you will not get the body that you want whether you want to bulk up or slim down. You can work out every single day, but if you binge eat pizza and ice cream after every workout, you’d just be wasting your time working out.
That’s where MyFitnessPal comes in. You can use the app to log or keep track of EVERYTHING that you are eating. It will tell you if you are getting enough protein, enough carbs, enough fat, etc. You can also use it to track your progress and tell you which food directly impacts your focus. When you track what you consume and also your workout, it will give you the data you need to make improvements for your health.
The tips that we just shared are all proven and tested by some (if not all) Asian Efficiency team members. Some tips we even got from members of the Dojo, our online productivity community.
Pick one health hack that you can implement today and observe how it helped you.
What other health hacks do you know? Let us know in the comments.