12.30.2013Personal Tech

How Technology Can Push You Past the Post-Holiday Doldrums

This time of year can be particularly challenging when it comes to maintaining productivity. Visions of sugar plums are still dancing in my head even though Christmas 2013 has passed. And, I know I’m not alone.

According to a 2013 survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Red Bull North America, 43% of us are less productive immediately before and after holidays and vacation.

I struggle to get my groove back this time every year when my schedule has been disrupted. Thankfully, I’ve found ways to re-energize as I head back to the office and into the new year.

One of the most important things you can do is get some shut-eye. Sleep is an amazing thing. It helps you retain information, makes you more productive and helps you say no to unhealthy foods more easily.

The best way to return to work with ease is to keep your same sleep schedule during the holiday break. I use a tracking device called Fitbit Force to track not only my daily exercise, but also my resting time so I can see exactly how many (or how few) hours I’m getting of uninterrupted sleep.

With this device, you can chart your sleep patterns and make adjustments, like reducing your caffeine intake if needed before you go to bed, so you’ll be well-rested and at the top of your game when your first day back in the office rolls around. And if you’re looking for white noise to help you fall asleep faster, there are plenty of apps available on your smartphone or tablet (like Sleepmaker Rain) that plays soothing sounds.

Perhaps surprisingly, experts recommend you “amp up” the music. A study led by Dr. Teresa Lesiuk of the University of Miami found that those who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly and came up with better ideas than those who didn’t because the music improved their mood. So when you’re returning to your cubicle, bring along Tracks™ Headphones BY SOL REPUBLIC® or Beats Studio™ Over-Ear-Headphones so you can listen to iTunes or stream your favorite music app, such as Spotify.

One of my best friends is my Bluetooth headset. A study conducted at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center showed office workers could reduce neck, shoulder and upper back muscle tension as much as 41% by using headsets like Jabra Motion Bluetooth® Headset and Plantronics MX200 Universal Earbud Headset. Not only do headsets reduce muscle tension, they also free your hands for greater productivity.

Lastly, anxiety can wreak havoc on us as we return to our jobs after a break. While some factors contributing to anxiety (a few thousand emails waiting for your attention, for example) are not in your control, there are some causes that can be managed or eliminated.

As much as I use my wireless device, I am pretty good at keeping it charged. But, when my smartphone tells me I have 10% battery life remaining, I get this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach…and I know I’m not alone. According to a UK Post Office survey, 85% of mobile phone users become anxious when they run out of battery, have no network coverage or lose their phone altogether.

I avoid this experience by keeping my Mophie Juice Pack POWERSTATION on hand. Its quick-charging 4000 mAh external battery can resuscitate your smartphone, tablet or any other USB-charged device.

The best bet for a solid return to work is to plan ahead. I try to accomplish what’s on my plate for the weeks leading up to my time away and anticipate those tasks that will trickle in over vacation and sit in my inbox, waiting for me to return. Taking advantage of today’s technology helps me make a smoother transition back to work and it can help you too.

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