10 Habits to Enhance Your Productivity and Happiness

How many hours of your work week do you devote to relaxing or just enjoying time with family and friends?

If you find yourself becoming increasingly distracted and unable to focus (or even physically exhausted and emotionally drained), it’s worth making some lifestyle changes. Try giving these healthy habits a go.

1. Put away your devices.

Our mind and body crave activity, and we owe it to ourselves to look for pastimes that promote productivity and don’t always require going digital. If you already spend 8 hours at work in front of a screen, give your eyes a break. Edwin Soriano, life coach, trainer, and author of You Can Be Happy Again, advises to “make your bed a no-device zone. The glow of screens emit light that mimics the effect of sunlight on our body, thus keeping the body ‘awake,’ and messing up our sleep cycle.”

2. Eat slow.

Food should be as much about enjoyment as it is about sustenance. Take notice of the various tastes, colors, aromas, textures, and temperatures of every meal. Paying attention to what you eat creates small delights that inspire a daily “discovery,” rather than a much desired escape from work.

Soriano suggests scheduling “a monthly lunch with a mentor, to learn something constructive while enjoying a good meal.”

3. Drink water–plenty of it.

Staying hydrated can do wonders to your brain activity and general well-being, encouraging productivity. It helps boost the immune system and flush out toxins.

In his book Water for Health, for Healing, for Life: You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty!, author Fereydoon Batmanghelidj says that “the body can suffer from deep dehydration without showing a dry mouth.” Don’t wait until you feel thirsty.

4. Have regular personal conversations.

Nodding to acknowledge someone is nice, but making the effort of conversing with a person you see on a daily basis can exponentially brighten both your days. Make it a habit to speak to different people. It will improve your social skills, and allow you to build relationships easily.

“Smile more often,” says Archimedes Miranda De Leon, San Francisco-based life coach of 10 years, fitness trainer for 15 years, and yoga teacher for 17 years. “It helps release serotonin and oxytocin for joy, and helps create trust.”

5. Add one song to a playlist every day.

Music can enhance experiences, heighten emotions, and perk up moods. So if or when you’re stuck in traffic, take the opportunity to look for new artists and discover old ones. Not only will you chance on some gems, but you’ll also build an interesting playlist worth sharing.

“You can also listen to motivational audiobooks,” De Leon suggests. Learning can distract you from the negativity of road traffic, and help you get to work or home in a better mood.

6. Get your unread emails down to zero.

It’s unsettling, isn’t it? Those little numbers staring back at you on your desktop and mobile, and never quite going down. You don’t know what’s what anymore, and it’s better to leave them be than go through each of them individually. But it’s a chore that needs to be done.

Open those newsletters, click “unsubscribe,” then delete. Commit to a few minutes of digital decluttering everyday for a friendlier inbox. Create folders so you can keep track of important matters, and use those folders to help you organize your affairs.

If or when you’re on holiday, Soriano suggests setting up an “out of office” auto-reply to let everyone in your professional circle know that you won’t be available until a certain time. “If there is anything important, have the sender re-send the email when you’re back at the office,” Soriano adds.

7. Learn to prioritize instead of multi-task.

This is easy. You need only remember two factors: important tasks and urgent tasks.

To help you identify which is which, ask yourself if the task is for you or for someone else. Most tasks demanding immediate action are most likely for someone else. They qualify as urgent because ignoring them can have implications for another person that is not you. But that’s not to say you can’t put yourself first.

If you feel that a task can wait and your needs are more important, communicate this with the people involved, and try to find a reasonable middle ground. By prioritizing, you are giving yourself more time and energy to do what you feel matters more, rather than trying to do everything at once. This can greatly enhance your personal productivity.

8. Don’t ruminate.

In other words, get out of your head. Don’t spend too much time thinking about something over and over. Do it, then move on to the next.

Whenever you catch yourself lost in thought, ask yourself why this matters…then find an outlet. Write down your thoughts, draw them, and share them with someone you trust. Don’t keep it inside, and don’t brush it aside. It will come back, and you’ll be running the same circle over and over again.

Take it from Derek Doepker’s book Why You’re Stuck: Your Guide to Finding Freedom from Any of Life’s Challenges. He says, “The first obvious reason why awareness is important is that you have to be aware of what the problem is in order to overcome it.”

De Leon says that focusing on what’s happening in the moment instead of what happened or what could happen, is key: “Be awake and be present to what is now.”

Soriano also shares a wonderful nugget of wisdom. “Instead of spending excessive time and energy on making decisions, learn to make ‘provisional decisions.’ You will never have all the information you need, so work with the information you have at hand. Move forward by taking that one step…and be okay with making adjustments later.”

9. Weigh the costs of your projects and commitments.

Everything has a price; the currency just varies. Some projects will cost you more time than necessary; others will cost you energy you can invest elsewhere. Opt for projects and commitments that give you the best returns.

Assessing opportunities is a good habit to have in achieving work-play balance, so ask yourself these questions: Does the project demand more than I’m happy to give for the amount it pays? Will it help me grow personally and professionally? Am I in the company of people I admire?

10. Live close to places where you work and play

Cutting down travel time will certainly boost your productivity as well as enhance your happiness. Alveo Land properties are always within ideal locations in the metro that help promote a happy and productive lifestyle. This includes residential condominiums for sale in Makati, BGC, Pasig, or QC, so choose to invest in the best place for you.

Once you work all these into your consciousness, you should be able to notice bits of positive shifts in your daily routine. In time, these will contribute to a significant and mindful life.

STACKED: FIVE INDIE DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINES TO GET HOLD OF

While relatively lighter reads continue to take up space in everyone’s gadgets, a number of design and architecture publications still reign supreme offline in a constantly online world.

Fashion and current affairs magazines have long been conquerors of the newsstands. However, the physical presence of design and architecture publications does not fall far behind.

Many continue to stand tall and proud while garnering thousands of online followers at the same time, as nothing beats the experience of color, imagery, and tactility in real life.

Apartamento aims to show the unpretentious side of living spaces by taking readers through honest and candid interiors. Instead of concentrating on design per se, it tackles the stories behind homes and objects that not only interest readers but inspire them as well. The cult magazine is a highly coveted title as one issue can sell out in just a few days

Design Anthology is Asia’s premier publication on luxury interiors, design, architecture, and urban living. It is a sophisticated volume packed with content that celebrates Asia’s cultural and creative scene, along with the latest projects and products from around the world. As each issue explores a theme, its international team promises high-quality editorials for a pleasurable reading experience.

Anthology is a quarterly read on home and lifestyle. What sets it apart from the flock are its writings, which take a narrative or literary form. The creators envisioned Anthology to be “a collection of stories” rather than a structured publication. It is definitely a breath of fresh air in the field—a publication both professionals and enthusiasts would love collecting.

Dirty Furniture is anything but your ordinary design magazine. It puts a special focus on the relationship between people and the things they live with. Each issue takes a particular piece of furniture as its theme and creates stories and stunning imagery with it, exploring different topics such as history, technology, and humor.

FIVE OF MANILA’S INNOVATIVE RETAIL CONCEPTS

Pushing boundaries in retail design, today’s stores have traded up for highly interactive and experiential spaces.

RONNIE & JOE

is an optical eyewear salon that carries a global casting coup of brands while dressed in a black marbled and lacquered interior. Steel shelves and glass drawers frame an impeccably curated selection of eyewear to create an overall museum-worthy salon.

Ronnie & Joe is located at the Power Plant Mall, Makati; SM Aura Premier, Taguig; and SM Megamall Fashion Hall, Ortigas.

GENERAL

boasts of handsome interiors that goes well with its handsome items. The store provides today’s stylish gentlemen with a cool selection of clothes and accessories. From brands like Lyle & Scott and Victorinox, explore an urban space of tiles, wood, and metal furnishings.

General is located at Bonifacio High Street Central, Taguig.

THE WHOLESOME TABLE

is one of the first farm-to-table restaurants in the country. It promises a space that feels exactly how its food tastes—exquisite, natural, and clean. With wooden floors and light beige walls, trees and plants surround the restaurant that could pass for a quaint indoor farm.

The Wholesome Table is located at Bonifacio High Street Central, Taguig; Infinity Tower, H.V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati; and Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Pasig.

UNIVERS

is inspired by cigarette smoke. Designed by Ed Calma, the store’s palette of whites, greys, and blacks complements its exquisite and modern lineup of international fashion labels from Lanvin to Balenciaga and Comme des Garçons to Maison Margiela.

Univers is located at the ground floor of East Tower One Rockwell, Makati.

CRAFTSMITH

is sparsely designed to accommodate storied items that in themselves provide an ideal “back in the day” ambience. Artisanal, old-timey, and without a strict in-store layout, it’s the disheveled yet carefully curated corners and spaces that make Craftsmith the charmer that it is.

Craftsmith is located at 2J Crown Tower on 107 HV Dela Costa, Salcedo Village, Makati.

Nationwide Culinary Tours: Indulging in Appetizing Local Dishes Across the Regions

PANCIT NEGRA | CAVITE

INGREDIENTS
1/2 kilo vermicelli pasta (cooked according to package directions)
1/2 kilo fresh squid (cleaned and cut into rings)
Celery (chopped)
3 tbsp. olive oil
5 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 large red onion (chopped)
1 thumb size ginger (cut into small pieces)
Chicaron bits
Salt and pepper to taste

COOKING DIRECTIONS
Cook your noodles to save you time while preparing your sauce and squid.
Clean the squid and carefully remove the squid’s funnel and place the ink on a clean bowl.
Slice the squid as well as its tentacles into small pieces. Rinse well and drain again.
Using a sauce pan, sauté the garlic, onion, and ginger over high heat. Add the sliced squid and stir-fry for one to two minutes.
Add vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, and squid ink. Pour a cup of water then slightly raise the temperature for it to start boiling.
After two to four minutes, lower the heat to medium flame then add the vermicelli. Stir well until it is absorbed into the sauce.
Season with salt and pepper and chopped celery then mix.
Sprinkle with chicharon on top alongside toasted garlic before serving.


MILLIONAIRE SALAD | VISAYAS REGION

INGREDIENTS
250 g heart of coconut palm
5 cooked medium sized tiger prawns (peeled and deveined)
1 ripe avocado (diced)
220 g of tomatoes (halved)
2 mangoes (diced)
50 g cooked pork (finely sliced)
1 small white onion (finely sliced)
carrot (julienned)
red chilli (seeds removed, finely sliced)
1 tsp of sesame seeds
2 tbsp of white wine vinegar
80 ml (1/3 cup) of extra-virgin olive oil

COOKING DIRECTIONS
Combine the oil and vinegar in a bowl and whisk.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
Slice the coconut palm heart lengthways and place in a mixing bowl.
Add all the remaining ingredients, except for the sesame seeds. Toss well.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds then serve.

Curating Your Own Workspace

PURPOSE DRIVEN | Establishing the purpose of your office will make it easier for you to arrange your space. Why are you putting up your own work space? Will it be your main office or an auxiliary one? Will it be a private office, or will you be meeting clients here?

KEEP DISTRACTIONS AWAY | Separate areas and di­viders also help keep distractions at bay, ensuring that your work area will remain professional.

LET THERE BE LIGHT | A dark and musty office is never inspiring, so keep your work area well-lighted and well-ventilated. Using natural-like lights are also a great option if placing your work area by a win­dow isn’t possible. An air purifier can also help keep your work area fresh. Keep the temperatures to a comfortable level too.

DAUB ON COLOR | Studies show that color can affect a person’s mood. Red and orange signify energy and action, while blue and brown are believed to encour­age people to be more focused or productive. Yellow and other bright colors on the other hand, are said to be distracting. However, choosing colors that you like, regardless of what science or popular opinion says, is often the best for you. Pick a palette that’s pleasing, and combine two to three colors for variety.


COMFORT IS KEY | Most professionals spend hours sitting in front of a desk or computer. Aside from rest¬ing your eyes and stretching every once in a while, in¬vest in ergonomic furniture that will lessen the strain on your body after hours of hard work.

PERSONALIZE YOUR SPACE | Place a few key pieces around your work space to inspire you. This could be a print of your favorite artwork, a figurine, or a photo of your loved ones.


STAY ORGANIZED | One of the challenges of any of¬fice is keeping clutter to a minimum. It’s distracting and can slow down productivity. Containers keep your items in place, things like zip ties or velcro loops lessen the mess of wires and cables. Don’t forget that organization extends to your digital files as well, and be diligent in performing backups.


POWER UP | No matter what kind of work you do or what work space you have, it’s important to have enough power outlets to accommodate your needs. Look for extension plugs that have a surge protector and individual power switches for each socket. Don’t forget to unplug the devices that you’re not using to save electricity and lessen the chance of a short circuit.

ESTABLISH BOUNDARIES | Keep clear guidelines of what you can and cannot do in your office. It would be ideal to keep this space specifically for work, and leave other things out.