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7 Tips to Make Your Afternoons as Productive as Mornings

7 Tips to Make Your Afternoons as Productive as Mornings

There’s plethora of evidence that shows afternoons are the most unproductive part of the day. And, there are plenty of culprits for the same – our eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, and more. We all know that every working professional is looking for ways to become more productive and get more done within the designated eight working hours.

If a person could somehow alter his or her lifestyle habits during these hours, then more can be done within the same time. Following the tips shared in this post and by bringing minor changes in their lifestyle, they will be able to achieve a more productive afternoon.

1. Eat productivity boosting foods

We are what we eat. Yet, we don’t pay heed to what we are eating. Not many actually think before eating about the impact it’s going to have on our productivity. Do we? But, studies from the World Health Organization have shown that by eating the right food you can improve your mental alertness by as much as 20%.

That’s why there have been researches going on in this field. Studies have found that there are various foodstuffs, which can directly impact our productivity. For instance, eating unhealthy junk food like burgers, cold drinks, pizza, fries and more during lunch hours can take the productivity curve down to the bottom.

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But, at the same time, if we tweak our eating habits a little bit and start consuming healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, berries and similar other items, this can take your productivity levels to the top!

2. Munch together with the team

They say – a team that works together eats together. And, rightly so. We all know the importance of having a good bonding in the team. Eating together gives you an opportunity to get to know each other better; build friendships and connect more on an emotional level. It creates a friendly atmosphere within the team, where people don’t hesitate to back each other.

As a matter of fact, research also supports this. In one of the surveys conducted in a tech company, it was found that team members, who were good friends as well, had higher performance rankings than the others. Not just building rapport between the team members, this also gets your mind off of the things that might be bugging you at work. For instance, if you are stuck at something in a task and you need a break, sitting alone will never help.

Using lunch break as an opportunity to get your mind off that thing, talk to team members about the tasks they are doing or plain socializing with them and starting afresh afterward, however, can be just the perfect idea.

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3. Cure your Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD)

Firstly a little bit about the disorder that I’ve mentioned here. NDD is one of the latest disorders that have risen because of the poor lifestyle habit. NDD means that condition where in people become prone to allergies, asthma and other illnesses because they don’t get out in the natural surroundings as much as they need to.

Not only medical problems, people with NDD usually have lesser mental concentration levels as well, which are already at the lowest levels in the second half of the day. In order to get rid of this disorder, it is a great idea to use your lunch time as a small getaway from the hustle and bustle of the office.

Take a walk in the park nearby, go out in nature. And, if you simply cannot afford to step out because of any reason, try gazing out of a window with a natural view for at least 40-45 seconds. Even such a small amount of time spent looking at nature can restore your mental concentration levels. And, get your mind rejuvenated to work anew!

4. Listen to your favorite beats, at the right time

One of the biggest misconceptions about music is that listening to it while you are working on a task makes you more productive. Science completely opposes this fact. According to one of the studies conducted in 2010, it was found that listening to music actually has a negative impact on your memory and concentration; especially when you are working on cognitive tasks.

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Music might make you feel like you are being more productive, but that’s only because you are enjoying yourself listening to your favorite tunes.The trick is to use music to good effect on a timely basis. Listening to music stimulates the brain to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that brings the feeling of pleasure.

So, a good way to use music to become more productive is by listening to it 15-20 minutes before you begin your work. You can use the last 15 minutes of your lunch break for listening to your favorite music and heighten the dopamine levels.

5. Use afternoons to schedule meetings

Meetings are a necessary evil, which no team can do without. But, it is a well-known fact that not all meetings are productive. Scheduling meetings in the second half of the day can be a great way to boost the mental productivity levels of the team.

Being in a meeting means you have to stay focused throughout the time you are sitting there. And, that can be a great way to keep your team on their toes during the most unproductive phase of a typical work-day. Apart from keeping your team on their toes, statistics show that an afternoon meeting time has the highest acceptance rate (3 PM to be specific).

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This means that people are more likely to agree to a meeting at 3 PM than any other time of the day. So using the most unproductive part of the day in a smarter way can actually help you boost your team productivity.

6. Save afternoons for work that requires time, and not attention

This can be a life-saver. Being productive is not always about doing more work, it is more about making most of the time that you have got in your hands. Afternoons can be the most unproductive part of your day, but if you use them to do work that requires just your time and not much of your attention, then this can be the smartest way to use those afternoon hours in the best possible manner.

For instance, you can use this time to do tasks like responding to emails, deleting junk files, reading content that you had saved earlier and similar other ones can be a great idea to make the most of your afternoon hours.

7. Prioritize, prioritize and prioritize

There’s no denying the fact that productivity is a habit. And, you need to put a strong conscious effort to make your afternoons more productive. In order to do that, the only thing that can come to your rescue is prioritizing your tasks. Planning your day; keeping important tasks lined up for the first part of the day and the easier not-so-important ones for the second half should be the first thing to do.

To make the most of your time, you need to know the activities lined up for the day and then plan accordingly. Based on the things you have lined up at work, you can prioritize your day, your tasks and your life with ease.

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Woman Sitting on Bean Bag White Using Macbook in Front of Round Table With Green Leafed Plant 7 Tips to Make Your Afternoons as Productive as Mornings

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

Have you ever thought of yourself as a problem solver? I’m guessing not. But in reality, we are constantly solving problems. And the better our problem solving skills are, the easier our lives are.

Problems arise in many shapes and forms. They can be mundane, everyday problems, or larger more complex problems:

What to have for dinner tonight?

Which route to take to work?

How to fix a project that’s running behind schedule?

How to change from an uninspiring job to a career you’re really passionate about?

Every day, you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realize that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.

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No matter what job you’re in, where you live, who your partner is, how many friends you have, you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems equal hassles for everyone concerned. And people don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less hassle all-round, the happier people are with you. Everyone wins.

Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important?

Problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.

Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, and questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.

Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives.

How to Enhance Problem Solving Skills

Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true.

You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver, you just need practice.

When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions.

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1. Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem

Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem.[1] This is because when you focus on the problem, you’re effectively feeding ‘negativity,’ which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.

I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem,’ instead, try to remain calm. It helps to first, acknowledge the problem; and then, move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be, rather than lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.

2. Adapt 5 Whys to Clearly Define the Problem

5 Whys is a problem solving framework to help you get to the root of a problem.

By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.

For example:

If the problem is “always late to work”…

  • Why am I late to work?
    I always click the snooze button and just want to go on sleeping.
  • Why do I want to go on sleeping?
    I feel so tired in the morning.
  • Why do I feel tired in the morning?
    I slept late the night before, that’s why.
  • Why did I sleep late?
    I wasn’t sleepy after drinking coffee, and I just kept scrolling my Facebook feed and somehow I couldn’t stop.
  • Why did I drink coffee?
    Because I was too sleepy at work in the afternoon, not having enough sleep the night before.

So there you see, if you didn’t try to dig out the root of the problem, you may just set a few more alarms and have it beep every five minutes in the morning. But in fact, the problem you need to solve is to quit Facebook surfing endlessly at night so you’ll feel more energetic in the day time, and you won’t even need coffee.

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3. Simplify Things

As human beings, we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be! Try simplifying your problem by generalizing it.

Remove all the details and go back to the basics. Try looking for a really easy, obvious solution – you might be surprised at the results! And we all know that it’s often the simple things that are the most productive.

4. List out as Many Solutions as Possible

Try to come up with ‘ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first. It’s important you keep an open mind to boost creative thinking, which can trigger potential solutions.

Coming from 10 years in the corporate advertising industry, it is drummed into you that ‘No idea is a bad idea’ and this aids creative thinking in brainstorms and other problem-solving techniques.

Whatever you do, do not ridicule yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as it’s often the crazy ideas that trigger other more viable solutions.

5. Think Laterally

Change the ‘direction’ of your thoughts by thinking laterally. Pay attention to the saying,

‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper.”

Try to change your approach and look at things in a new way. You can try flipping your objective around and looking for a solution that is the polar opposite!

Even if it feels silly, a fresh and unique approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.

6. Use Language That Creates Possibility

Lead your thinking with phrases like ‘what if…’ and ‘imagine if…’ These terms open up our brains to think creatively and encourage solutions.

Avoid closed, negative language such as ‘I don’t think…’ or ‘But this is not right…’.

The Bottom Line

There’s nothing scary about a problem when you start to adapt my advice.

Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about what a problem really is, it’s really just feedback on your current situation.

Every problem is telling you that something is not currently working and that you need to find a new way around it.

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So try to approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. Practice focusing on defining a problem, keep calm and not to make things too complicated.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Planet of Success: Problem vs Solution Focused Thinking

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