Why Dehydration is the Silent Productivity Killer

Many hacks, apps, and tools exist to increase your productivity and time management efficiency. But if you don’t feel well, none of those tools are worthwhile if you are running out of steam in your day. As simple as it sounds, staying hydrated will dramatically increase your productivity.

Studies show that even mild dehydration is enough to cause moodiness, problems concentrating, headaches, and fatigue. Both our brains and bodies are affected by dehydration, so mentally and physically we perform well below optimal levels.

It’s almost impossible to be at your best if your body is craving water.

Just a 1% drop in hydration could lead to a 12% drop in productivity. Feeling parched? You could experience a 25-50% drop in productivity. Water truly is the silent productivity killer. No app can overcome the effects of poor hydration.

We often forget to drink water because of work pressures, busyness, and everyday distractions. Fortunately, there are some easy solutions to staying hydrated and increasing your productivity.

3 Tips to Optimize Your Water Intake:

1) Drink Steadily Throughout the Day

You hear it all the time – drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated. But it’s actually possible to drink too much water at one time which disrupts the salt and sodium levels in your body. This is called water intoxication. 

It’s better to drink small amounts of water steadily throughout the day. Experts recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces each day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should consume about 75 ounces of water daily. If you drink a lot of coffee, exercise regularly, or live in a drier climate like Colorado or Arizona, you may require even more water to remain fully hydrated.

For me, the toughest challenge is remembering to drink throughout the day as I move from task to task. I solved this by piggy-backing on my 50-10 Sprint productivity system.  In that system, you work 50 minutes straight on some activity, then take a mandatory 10 minute break when the timer rings - even if you feel you could continue working. Our minds and bodies need breaks to stay productive. When it’s time to take that mental break, I also refill my water bottle. Like any good system, I no longer have to think about the steps – the process is defined and easy to follow.

​2) Add a Squeeze of Lemon

Lemon water is a popular choice for staying hydrated while also improving overall health. Studies show that lemon water is good for your immune system, energy levels, and mood. Here are a few benefits of squeezing a lemon into your water:

Promotes Weight Loss – Lemon water has significantly less calories and sugar than soda and fruit juice. Choosing lemon water for your beverage reduces calories, so you can reach your weight loss goals faster.

Helps Detoxify – Lemons contain citric acid which helps the liver detoxify naturally.  Like coffee, lemons also produce a diuretic effect. Your body will flush out waste products more frequently when you drink lemon water.

Improves Your Mood – Lemons smell good. The fragrance from a cut lemon wedge can quickly improve your disposition and reduce stress.

Makes you More Attractive – As a citrus fruit, lemons contain vitamins which are shown to support younger looking skin and slow the onset of wrinkles.

​3) Drink with the Environment in Mind

There’s a big push to reduce the use of plastic, specifically plastic drinking straws. Whether you support this movement or not, each of us can contribute to creating a healthier planet by reducing our use of non-recyclables.

You can save money and use less plastic by bringing your own water bottle to work. Many companies provide water coolers or water fountains for their employees. Simply make an effort to refill (or top off) your water bottle each time you pass a cooler, and you’ll always have water within reach.

Love straws? Purchasing hard plastic, reusable straws are a great alternative to disposable plastic straws. Many are dishwasher safe, so you can properly clean them between uses to keep them fresh.

Finally, consider a whole house water filter system to treat all of the water in your home. This is an environmental and economical way to cleanse your drinking and wash water. One benefit of a filter is that it reduces the amount of chlorine and other contaminants we absorb from water. This results in good internal hydration which leads to healthier hair and skin. Here’s a great resource for water filter answers.

Drinking more water can solve a lot of productivity challenges.  Next time you feel that afternoon slump approaching, reach for a glass of filtered lemon water instead of an afternoon snack or sugary beverage. Simply re-hydrating may be all you need to power through the rest of your day with increased energy.

Please share and leave a comment about these ideas.

Nancy Gaines

Nancy Gaines is CEO/Founder of Gain Advantages Inc. and has been advising small businesses and Fortune 100 companies how to increase revenues through proven systems for almost two decades. She is a best-selling author and international keynote speaker. Nancy has been named in the Top 100 Productivity Experts to follow on Twitter and has a global podcast downloaded in over 95 countries. Her main focus is creating business processes with actionable steps so her clients achieve more consistency, ease, and ultimate success.