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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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