5 Simple Tips To Making Your Afternoons More Productive 58

5 Simple Tips To Making Your Afternoons More Productive

This is a guest post by Kayla Matthews. She writes about self-development, productivity and goal setting for sites like MakeUseOf and The Daily Muse. You can read more of her tips on ProductivityTheory.com.

You had a productive morning — you knocked out several items on your to-do list, attended a few lively meetings and topped it off with lunch.

Now you’re back to your desk, and you feel like you could crawl into bed. Your eyes are glazed over. You’ve checked your email inbox five times in five minutes, and you can’t seem to recapture that drive you had earlier in the day.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

The afternoon slump, the least productive time of the day for most office workers, has been studied to the point where researchers have pinned the average start time at 2:55 p.m.

Your time is valuable, and while a nap sounds great, you want to get more work done. What steps can you take to increase your productivity and beat that afternoon slump? Here are five tips to get you over the hump:

1. Have a plan.

The best way to approach your afternoons is with an actionable plan.

When you’re working on a bigger project, you want to maximize everything. As you and your teammates work through a project, you will constantly change and adapt what you’re doing as you learn what works best. Because of this, valuable time and energy often go into wasteful tasks that could have been avoided with a better plan.

There are countless ways to go about preparing for each project, each phase and even each day. Take the time to find a planning method that works for you and your teammates.

2. Energize during lunch.

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Your lunch break is a vital time to recharge before heading into your afternoon.

There are some obvious ways to give yourself a boost — eat plenty of carbs and protein that take a while to break down in your system, such as grains, meat, fish, beans, eggs or dairy. Fruit and veggies are good as well, but make sure that’s not all you eat.

Spending time with your coworkers outside of the office setting is also a good way to spend your break. You can take this time to hold informal meetings, bounce ideas off of one another or just strengthen bonds.

For some, a quick 10 to 20-minute power nap can do wonders — but don’t sleep any longer than that, lest you risk entering deeper stages of sleep that will make you groggy.

If napping isn’t your thing, a brisk walk in nature — if available — can help you distress and get ready to take on the afternoon.

Related: 7 Natural Stress Relievers

3. Do one thing at a time.

There is this notion that multitasking is the best way to approach our work, and we need to focus on many different projects at once to be our most efficient.

This isn’t necessarily true all the time, however, and you may find the concept of “monotasking” instead to be a better use of your time.

Separate your day into individual tasks, and then allow yourself to do nothing else during each block. Hide your phone, don’t look at your inbox, artificially shorten your deadlines and really focus your whole mind on whatever project you’re working on in the moment.

Related: Mistakes You’re Making That Sabotage Your Productivity

4. Maximize your morning.

If you can’t beat the slump, work with it.

When creating your schedule, keep in mind that your mornings are naturally your most productive, so you want to utilize them wisely.

Schedule your most intensive and demanding projects in the morning to help you put a serious dent in them, and save your less demanding work — like checking your email, attending meetings and answering phone calls — for the afternoon to make the slump far less daunting.

Related: How to Add 2 More Hours of Productive Work to Your Day

5. Stop wasting time in meetings.

There is no denying the importance of meetings. A well-run meeting is an effective way to get brains in a room together to solve problems.

However, not all meetings are effective — in most workplaces, about half end up being a complete waste of time.

If you’re able to run meetings, consider whether every meeting you call is necessary or if a simple update email for your group would be a better use of their time. Keep meeting groups small and have a specific agenda.

In addition, scheduling your meetings like departing trains — at specific times like 1:03 p.m. to 1:26 p.m. —  can create interest, get people to show up on time and keep things brief.

The afternoon slump can be a daunting foe, but if you work to increase your productivity, you will not just overcome each workday — you’ll conquer it.

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How to Stay Focused When Studying: 5 Tips to Keep You From Getting Distracted 4

How to Stay Focused When Studying: 5 Tips to Keep You From Getting Distracted

All people have been interested in studying at one moment in their lives. There are different goals set for diverse learners and each of them requires serious learning at one point in time.

Successful learners are those with full concentration during their studies as this helps them in remembering what was learned and apply it in the undertaken tests. However, irrespective of the reasons as to why people study, most of the times one would have his mind invaded by different thoughts distracting his concentration.

It is also possible to have one diverted by noises and stories made by one’s roommates, children, and neighbors among others.

With these intrusions, an individual would lose focus and this is what is required to be successful in what one was reading. It is therefore important to identify possible issues that can lead to distraction in order to come up with the most appropriate ways of remaining focused. Here are some tips:

1. Pick the right time and place when reading.

This helps in getting rid of the clear distractions.

For instance, a person would not easily focus if he chooses to study in the presence of friends who are engaged in other activities. Similarly, one would not read well if with music, television, phone, or computer on.

Once the phone vibrates or rings, an individual would be tempted to answer and this would divert his attention.

In understanding how to stay focused, it is recommended that a reader has conducive environment bearing in mind that different learners would stay alert at different circumstances.

This is an indication that no single environment fits all types of students. The right time would also involve studying at the moment when a learner feels comfortable with the schedule such as in the evening or very early in the morning.

The place chosen should not be the classroom or bedroom. But rather a quiet and nice place with a relaxed sitting position such as the library or the office.

2. Take frequent breaks.

How to Increase Your Productivity No Matter Where You Are

In addition, tips for students indicate that instead of succumbing to distraction, a pupil has to take short breaks.

When engaged in 45-minutes of learning, the student should take breaks of between ten and twenty minutes. Taking longer of breaks of over 20 minutes are dangerous for they might lead to forgetting what one was initially studying.

By planning breaks with an alarm, you not miss them or accidentally take longer ones.

Breaks are considered very crucial because they help the brain to recharge after processing the earlier acquired information. Breaks involving walking around should also be taken as an opportunity to improve recalling memory and test scores.

Breaking in between reading is, therefore, a good way of ensuring that a reader does not overburden his brain/mind with information that would not be processed. Taking pauses in between the reading session refreshes the brain and makes it possible to read for long and wide volumes.

3. Staying focused while reading is also linked with staying motivated.

As stated on EssayZoo, there are different forms of distractions for varied learners and this can be addressed by understanding the reason behind one’s studying.

This is done by taking a test or exam as something meant to challenge the reader’s learning. Since a person’s learning would eventually be rated, the process should start by setting a goal.

Even though the set goal should not be unrealistic, it should be challenging so that the learner can perform better than he has been found in the past tests or maybe better than people expect.

Once an individual is able to surprise others based on their expectations, he would feel motivated to continue studying.

Additionally, learning should be motivated with a reward, which acts as a form of self-control by ensuring that a student is compensated for hard work, studying well, being prepared, and performing well in an exam.

Encouragement should also be done by understanding what learning is important, which is different for diverse readers but all meant to enhance attentiveness to achieve personal goals.

4. Getting enough sleep during studying is a vital way of improving concentration.

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Even though many of the times pupils learn under pressure especially when exams are near, this does not mean an individual should read without sleep.

Just like taking breaks during a day of reading, sufficient sleep refreshes the brain and makes it ready to be fed with and process acquired information.

Learning is successful if one can remember and apply the learned information during a test. This is possible if a person is able to actively concentrate during the planned hours of studying.

According to tips for students, studying for long hours without break or sleep is on strenuous and does not bear the expected results.

Dedicating at least 6-8 hours of sleep ensures that a person wakes up fresh, alert, ready, and relaxed for the day’s scheduled learning activities.

Once ready to learn, a student would be organized and in an ordered place with only the reading materials a person requires, aware of the number of hours to spend on a topic, and the number of breaks he will take including their times.

5. Stay calm to concentrate.

Lastly, remaining focused when learning can be done by practicing concentration.

Once a student has everything he needs on the table, he should not postpone the learning exercise. It is advisable that a pupil is aware of the most crucial information to study first before proceeding to the rest. This is to ensure that one is guided by key concepts that would make the learning enjoyable and encouraging.

Also, practice concentration by not panicking, minimize computer and phone use, don’t listen to music unless it aids in studying, and remaining on topic.

It is notable that by panicking, one would make mistakes.

So make sure you remain calm, take deep breaths, and convince yourself that you read, understand, and pass the exams.

Further, a student should turn the computer, Internet, and the cell phone off to ensure maximum concentration. This is to avoid responding to text messages or searching via the Internet things that are not related to the topic of study.

It is arguable that listening to music when learning acts as a distraction because the learner is provided with additional information to process thus interfering with the real intention of the learning process.

In order to stay on-topic, you shouldn’t explore different subjects at the same time more so when studying boring, complex, and unexciting topics.

Studying would thus be effective if a person remains focused in order to achieve the set goals. Nobody enrolls for a course or learning institution without a goal. This would be achieved if concentration is always at its maximum.

While there are major ways of enhancing attentiveness, the discussed ones in this essay are picking the right time and place, instead of succumbing to distraction, taking short breaks, staying motivated, getting enough sleep, and practicing concentration.

The aim is to ensure that a learner understands the importance of learning and is committed to achieving his intentions.