Advertising

7 Tips to Make Your Afternoons as Productive as Mornings

Advertising
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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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).

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

More by this author

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

Trending in Productivity

1 How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data) 2 10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021 3 13 Steps to Build a Positive Habit Stacking Routine 4 How to Build New Habits With An Accountability Partner 5 How to Find the Best Keystone Habits to Change Your Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

Advertising
How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

Advertising

Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

Advertising

Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

Advertising

3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

Advertising

The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next