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Well, it’s bloody freezing out there, and rather inconveniently our office air-conditioning is set to cool, so we’re sitting here with jackets on our knees and teeth chattering over our mugs of coffee.

The sky might be blue outside, but it’s January and that means darkness when you wake and when you commute home too. Frankly, you’re not alone in thinking that the world (and our country…. #Brexit) feels like a pretty bleak place at the mo.

So here’s some goodness for your Thursday: you have the power to break through the doom and gloom. Granted, you may not be able to banish it completely, but we reckon that being productive at work is a great way of getting the cogs moving again, and feeling content and satisfied while the government goes to pot.

Don’t laugh now, but we have spent the last few weeks trying to eat ourselves happy. Not with chocolate, you understand (we reserved that for Christmas), but rather with cherries. Ok, bear with us. Alice’s family have been in the fruit business for 5 generations now, which means from age dot, she was reared on fresh produce and all of its benefits.

So when we were approached by the Love Fresh Cherries team with a challenge to replace our sweet treats with cherries, document the results and see if we felt more productive, we thought what the hell.

Here’s the science bit: eating cherries as part of your daily diet, means your brain produces more of the mood-enhancing hormone serotonin. And when your brain is rich in serotonin, you will feel happier and more able to cope with all that winter – and work – has to throw at you. As a useful side offering, cherries are also jam-packed with melatonin, which is the hormone that promotes healthy sleep patterns. And we certainly need some of the zzzz’s at the mo too.

Honestly, we have actually spent the first few weeks of the New Year putting cherries to the test, and you know what, we’re engaged in our projects, sleeping better and generally ready to attack the year ahead better than we had expected. Obviously, cherries alone cannot create this state of well-being but, as part of your daily food ritual, they certainly beat a chocolate digestive or even one of those healthy, date-rich trendy snacks, at keeping you on an even keel.

So with our energy levels up, we thought it would be useful to share 3 other productivity tips for getting you working smarter in 2019:

There is just no point having hundreds of entries on your daily To Do List, because the simple fact is, you just won’t get them done. And completing tasks is necessary to keep us feeling successful and in turn, productive at work. That little dopamine hit you get when you put a tick next to a finished task, is what you’re after. And the best way to do this is to have two concurrent To Do lists. One that contains a single vital entry, and the other, in the background that’s a reminder of everything else you need to do. With this structure in place, all you need to do is choose one task each morning from your background list, move it to your vital To Do, and feel the daily satisfaction at getting that job done and out. It’s simple and effective.

Distraction is a massive productivity zapper. We’ve all been there; you’re working through a task, you think you’ll have a quick look on Instagram, or at the headlines, and suddenly, bam 30 minutes have disappeared and your work is stuck in the same place. If this is you, be structured in how you manage your work time. Many career experts (ourselves included!) believe that a 25-minute work cycle, followed by a 5-minute browsing break, put you in the best and most achievable stead for getting the job done. If you want to eat cherries in your 5 minute break, all the better.

Honestly, if you’re feeling disengaged in your work, or need a creativity hit, take a little walk outside. This is the easiest (and cheapest!) way to get back on track when it comes to productivity. The simple act of walking away from your desk, preferably without your phone, is underused in the workplace because so many of us feel that if we aren’t tapping away at our laptops then we’re somehow not working hard enough. The truth is, we need variation in our days, to work effectively. So take a walk, or better, find a place to meditate or catch a quick gym session if you can, and feel the immediate productivity boost on your return.

Find out more about cherries and their benefits at @lovefreshcherries