Want to work more effectively? All the time saving tips in the world won’t work if you’re not thinking holistically, & that means focusing on the body not just on the mind. Here’s 4 simple ways you can make sure you’re not sabotaging the best laid plans for maximum performance:
1) Step away from the sugar. And the caffeine too for that matter. We know that when you’re tired, a strong coffee seems an obvious choice, and reaching for a chocolate bar mid-afternoon might seem like a good idea to perk you up, but it’s a false economy. Caffeine and refined sugar create short term rushes of energy that aren’t sustained, resulting in a crash a few hours later and a slump that has you reaching for the same crutch again, creating a vicious cycle that messes with your blood sugar levels and muddles your brain. Staying well hydrated (think water, herbal, fruit or green teas, or coconut water) is the key to staying alert, and healthy snacks such as fruit, rice cakes with a dip or a handful of nuts & seeds will give you the energy to stay focused.
2) Get the right amount of sleep. Not too little, not too much. 8 hours is the recommended amount and it’s best to establish a regular routine, going to bed and getting up at a similar time each day. Don’t lay in bed browsing social media, and switch your devices onto red light a few hours before bed so that even if you can’t tear yourself away, the blue light isn’t tricking your brain into thinking it’s daytime. In the mornings, although it’s tempting, don’t set the snooze alarm - you’re just delaying the inevitable and encouraging your body to wake up more slowly, which means you’re fuzzy-headed for longer. Try drinking a warm glass of water with a slice of lemon when you get up, before eating breakfast or doing any exercise: it’ll wake your body up and is great for flushing out toxins.
3) Eat lunch away from your desk. It’s called a lunch break for a reason! Don’t just sit at your desk hunched over a sandwich: if for no other reason than the crumbs will play havoc with your keyboard! Ideally, get outside - take a walk around, breathe non-office air and look at the sky – even if it’s wet and cold, time outdoors will make you much more productive when you do return to your desk. If the weather’s just too awful, make sure you go and sit somewhere else for lunch, read a book, check the news or just watch cute cat videos: do whatever you want, but don’t do work. Working from home? – no excuse: eat lunch in a different room and switch your brain onto something else for at least half an hour.
4) Move more: You’re in the zone and working to a tight deadline... before you know it several hours have passed and you haven’t moved. Not only is this horrendous for your posture it’s also pretty horrendous for your concentration. Get up. Go for a walk. Stretch. Make a drink. Do a dance if you want to: just move! It gets your blood pumping, sending oxygen to all your muscles including the brain, so you’ll be more productive when you return to your work. 5>