Do you want to increase your daily productivity two-fold? One of the best ways to do this is by cutting out the slumps that you have each day. During those periods, you are less focused, alert and productive.
One of the most frequent times that we hit this slump is in the middle of the day. After a successful morning and big lunch, it is common to hit a mental dead zone. Learning to control your energy levels in order to manage 8 hours (or more) of high-quality daily work, though, will pay large dividends. Plus, it is totally feasible — even after a huge lunch.
Here are 10 tricks you can pull out of your pocket to help you stay productive after lunch:
1. Plan out important afternoon tasks.
Before you head off to lunch, you should give yourself an idea of what the afternoon has in store. First off, this will mentally prepare you for what is coming after lunch before you get there. Then, your brain and mind will be subtly prepping even during your lunch for what lies ahead.
Plus, it will prevent you from wasting time after lunch trying to figure out what to do. There is not much worse of a feeling than sitting down a bit dazed and wasting time figuring out what tasks to take on. Before you know it, an hour has passed and nothing has actually been accomplished.
2. Take a quick break if needed.
Despite having just taken a break for lunch, if your mind is completely blank and you cannot fight it, then take a break. Ten minutes walking around or doing breathing exercises is a much higher-leverage activity than staring at your computer blankly.
3. Eliminate distractions.
It goes without saying, but when you have less energy, which often happens in the afternoons, you are even more susceptible to being distracted. You do not have as much strength to stay off your phone when it buzzes or quiet the urge to check Facebook.
If you eliminate your distractions, though, you will not have to spend energy avoiding them. That means silencing your phone away from your desk and blocking any sites on your computer that might be detrimental.
4. Stay hydrated.
A frequent cause of afternoon slumps is dehydration. Lack of water will drain your energy and focus levels quite significantly. This puts a large emphasis on staying hydrated throughout the day. It is easy and will do you wonders.
5. Move around a bit.
Moving around can be a great way to wake up. Do some jumping jacks or stretches or run up and down a set of stairs. Getting your body moving and your heart beating will, subsequently, help your mind focus. You can even pull in a few colleagues to join your activities so that they are more fun.
6. Schedule a walking meeting.
One of the best ways to combat the feeling we have after a big lunch is to walk it off. It helps our bodies process the food and the small bit of exercise gets our brain moving again.
You can productively employ walking into your post-lunch schedule by having a walking meeting. Not only will this help with your energy levels, but there is also evidence that we think more clearly while walking.
7. Work in spurts.
Another great trick, especially when we are low on energy, is to work in 20-30 minute increments. The Pomodoro Technique has spread widely in many circles, which is 25 minutes on, followed by five minutes off.
You do not have to follow it exactly, but something in that range is quite useful. It forces you to work hard and stay disciplined for 25 minutes, knowing that you will have a nice five-minute break at the end of each spurt. I like the Pomodoro Technique — but I have to do a one-hour break, then five minutes of stretching.
8. Set challenging goals to reach.
In addition to planning out your afternoon ahead of time, you should set challenging goals for yourself. It will create a sense of urgency when you sit back down to work which will immediately spark your energy levels and efficiency.
Even if you are unable to accomplish all of the goals you set, aiming for a high ceiling will leave you more productive.
9. Find the right work ambiance.
Feeling like the space and sounds around you are correct — can also dramatically help with your focus. If you were in a room full of loud monkeys running around, it would be much more challenging to do good work.
Setting the right mood.
This though on the ambiance of a room or space can put an emphasis on setting up your afternoon space to help you thrive. This is different for everyone and can even change day by day.
When you sit back down after lunch, though, it is worth the few minutes to get comfortable in your seat, make sure you have all the items you need, and turn on good music that can help you power through the next few hours.
10. Keep a positive mood.
Just the process of enjoying your afternoon can have drastic effects on your output. You will be in a better mood if you are laughing with your coworkers during little breaks and finding other ways to boost your spirits. With a better mood comes more energy put towards the tasks at hand over larger periods of time.
Building up a toolbox of tricks.
The more that you practice these methods above and explore your own, the easier it will be to remain energetic. You will also begin to get a better gauge of your energy levels and which tricks to employ at which times. This will, ultimately, leave you far more productive and energetic each day, leading to greater levels of happiness and success.