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CAPE TOWN - Today marks World Mental Health Day. Mental health is fundamental to an individual's well-being and productivity. We reveal 7 ways in which you can increase your productivity at work. 

According to the London School of Economics and Political Science 2016 IDEA study, depression costs South Africa 5.7% of the GDP, the Psychiatry Management Group (PsychMG) said on Sunday. This translates to more than R232 billion. 

Given that mental health has such a colossal effect on the country's economy, it is worth improving. 

The absence of mental health leads to mental illness. 

Apart from mental health, there are a few pro-active things you can do to beat lethargy and increase your productivity. 

7 ways to improve your productivity at work 

1. Set your schedule the day before 

Prioritising tasks which need to be completed will save you time and avoid you from completing hurried tasks. A schedule will also keep you organised and remind you of important tasks that need to be completed. A schedule also gives you the satisfaction of crossing items off your 'to do list'. 

2. Take a 5-10 minute break 

It is crucial to note that your body cannot function properly if you are working several hours non-stop. Therefore, a five to ten-minute break will keep you awake and energised. Brief interludes such as a walk will get your blood flow running and allow you to return to work with a burst of energy. 

3. Reduce your multitasking 

Attempting to carry out more tasks than one can be harmful instead of helpful. This may lead to regular distraction which may affect the quality of your work. It is advised that one first completes a task then moves on to another task. 

4. Eliminate potential distractions 

Interruptions during work is at times inevitable. However, distractions can be minimised by simply closing the office door and informing co-workers than you are preoccupied. Conversations can always be followed up later, however, work takes precedence. 

5. Stick to deadlines 

Deadlines are similar to financial budgets, both have a sell by time. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of deadlines and impose them upon yourself. You may find that you are able to complete your tasks quicker. Yet, it is important to work at a healthy pace and not succumb to pressure which may affect your mental health. 

6. Avoid heavy lunches 

Instead of a heavy lunch that may leave you lethargic, snack on foods that are high in protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Granola and berries may keep your energy levels at a healthy pace whereas sugary food provides a temporary energy rush, leaving you 'crashing' later in the day. 

7. Keep your workspace clean 

A clear and clean space will not only put the mind at ease but can also save you time of looking for misplaced items. This is something that should be worked at daily and will lead to greater productivity. 

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