5 Simple Tips To Making Your Afternoons More Productive

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.

healthy

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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5 Health Hacks That Can Boost Your Creativity

5 Health Hacks That Can Boost Your Creativity

We all live such busy lives that it is totally normal to feel run down from time to time. You can’t be switched on 24/7, and if you were, you’d be burnt out pretty soon afterward!

When you’re tired and stressed, there are many things which can happen to your body and mind, but one of them will almost certainly be a waving goodbye to any creativity or concentration you were hoping to keep hold of.

Creativity is something we all need in our daily lives. But if you have a job which relies upon your ideas and thoughts when it packs up and goes on vacation for a short while, it can be super-distressing, and frustrating to say the least.

You will have no doubt heard of the old ‘writer’s block’ adage, but you don’t need to be a writer to suffer from creativity problems. The good news is that there are several things you can do to give your creativity a boost, and welcome it back into the fold. Let’s check out five of the best.

How to Boost Your Creativity

1. Reduce Stress

Stress does nothing, absolutely nothing, good for your focus, concentration, and creativity levels. If you are stressed out, you’re burnt out, and you’re not going to be able to keep your mind on anything other than the thing that’s stressing you out. Or it’s going to be flitting from one thing to another, and never doing anything productive.

Put simply, stress is dangerous on so many levels, that you need to do everything you can to reduce it as much as possible.

It’s unrealistic to say that you should kick stress out of your life for good and never feel even the tiniest amount. A little stress is good for you, it helps to motivate and push you to achieve. When stress is prolonged and severe however, it can impact every single system in your body – including your heart. It’s just not worth the hassle, so instead, look to become much less stressed than you are.

You can reduce stress:

  • by taking time for yourself,
  • enjoying social time with friends and family,
  • exercising regularly,
  • eating a healthy diet,
  • getting plenty of sleep,
  • and tackling the thing which is stressing you out, head on.

2. Incorporate Regular Exercise Into Your Routine

run fast

We just mentioned regular exercise as a way to reduce stress, but it also helps to boost your creativity too.

Exercise gets your blood pumping, your heart rate up, and it ironically also helps you to relax. You’re much more likely to get a good night’s sleep, you’ll be healthier overall, and exercise is also a known treatment method for low mood and mild depression.

If you are suffering from low mood, or if you feel like things are becoming a little too much, exercise is a great way to help boost your mood and your overall health and wellbeing. By doing this, you are giving your mind clarity, and that in turn helps to boost focus and creativity.

You will notice that when your mind is clogged up with a million worries, you just don’t have the scope to be creative. When you clear your mind, you will notice that your creativity starts to come back!

3. Try Regular Massages for Relaxation

There is a lot of evidence to suggest that having a regular massage can help to boost your overall health and wellbeing by giant leaps.

Once upon a time, massages were thought to be luxuries, things that you only indulged in when visiting up-market spas. Thankfully, all that has changed, and more and more people are noticing the extreme benefits of having regular massages.

If you can’t afford to head to a heath center or spa on a regular basis, or if you simply don’t have the time, you could instead buy a massage chair to use in your home, so you’re not missing out!

Massage can help to boost your creativity because it gives you the chance to totally relax. You hold tension in your body when you’re stressed out and over-thinking, and that adds up to not only aches and pains, which aren’t going to do much for your state of mind, but it also clogs up your mind and stops you rom thinking straight.

By allowing yourself to totally relax, you are clearing your mind and allowing you creativity to flow. You’re also getting all the other benefits of massage too, such as increased healing, increased mood, increased circulation, better sleep patterns, etc.

4. Good Quality, Regular Sleep

How do you feel when you’re tired and lacking in sleep? Do you feel like coming up with new, innovative ideas? Not likely. You’re sluggish, irritable, and snappy. Creativity disappears when you are not getting the right amount of sleep, so it’s easy to turn that back by ensuring that you do get the right amount of sleep!

The amount you should be getting depends on you as an individual, but overall, between 7-8 hours of good quality sleep per night should have you firing on all cylinders.

If you find it hard to switch off, try drinking a warm, milky drink before you sleep, having a warm bath, switching off your phone and all your social media feeds around an hour before bed, and avoiding anything which is mentally stimulating.

Massage is also something you can use to help bring a better sleep pattern into your life, so look into this option too.

5. Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet

What you eat has a direct impact on your creativity levels, because it impacts your mind.

If you’re clogging up your body with fatty, saturated foods, full of nasties and impurities, how can you expect your mind to be clear? It’s going to be very foggy, to say the least!

Try eating a healthy diet, organic if possible, and only eat anything which is clean and has had a life itself. This will give you a sharper mind, allow you to focus better, and have a fantastic effect on your overall health and wellbeing.

If you can incorporate this with regular exercise and relaxation, you’ll be super creative before you know it!

When you’re tired and stressed, there are many things which can happen to your body and mind, but one of them will almost certainly be a waving goodbye to any creativity or concentration you were hoping to keep hold of. If you can incorporate these tips, you’ll be super creative before you know it! #healthhacks #healthtips #creativity