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One Delicious Life Hack to Crank Your Productivity

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One Delicious Life Hack to Crank Your Productivity

You know the old  saying “You are what you eat,” right?

Well, today, I’m adding a little addendum: “You are as productive as the food you eat.”

Not sure what I mean? Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar.

It’s Friday (woo-hoo!) You walk into the office with your usual cup of coffee, exchange TGIF high-fives with your colleagues, and get down to work.

You might munch on a pastry, or just keep sipping on caffeine while you plow through morning meetings and deadlines.

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Then, someone pokes their head into your workspace. “Come on, it’s time for lunch!”

This isn’t just any lunch, mind you. This is Friday lunch. The caloric splurge day where you celebrate the coming weekend with your colleagues.

Maybe you chow down on pizza, or burgers and beer, or steak and wine. Either way, it’s scrumptious, and probably splashed with booze & fats.

When it’s over, you head back to the office and—get diddly squat done for the rest of the day. You twiddle your thumbs, chit chat, or mess around on Facebook or email until 5 o’clock.

This slacking might not be the end of the world. But it means you’ll have to log in for 3 extra hours on Sunday to get the rest of your work done (sad trombone).

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So, why does “Friday lunch” syndrome happen?

 Because, believe it or not, food has as much of an effect on your productivity as sleep and scheduling.

There’s a reason why caffeine, sugary snacks, and energy drinks don’t fix that problem, either. Sure, they give you a temporary rush. But afterwards, you feel worse than before. This is because your body needs food—healthy, whole, fueling food—to make it through the day. That’s not something you can fake with syrupy lattes or Redbull, no matter how hard you try.

Which brings us back to the Friday lunch phenomenon, and what to do about it.

Here’s how you can dodge the ‘slacker Friday’ trap, and get back to enjoying your weekend already.

1. Think about what you eat on those less-than-productive days.

It doesn’t have to be at the end of the week, either. If you have a problem staying focused in general, this is probably connected to the food (or lack thereof) you’re putting in your body.

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What do you chow down on for your usual breakfast/lunch/dinner? Does it have a lot of sugars, meats, and carbs? Is the one beer you have with lunch sending you straight for naptime?

Low energy usually means your body is having a hard time digesting or processing what you’ve put into it. So it’s time to rethink what you put on your plate—at all hours of the day.

2. Plan a more fueling lunch to crank your productivity with the 3 S’s rule: sushi, soup, or salad.

Healthy Creamy Soup

    I get it. Not everyone’s a culinary genius or food pro. But just because you’re not ready to dive into an all-green-smoothie diet (ick!) doesn’t mean you can’t make smart decisions.

    Next time you’re at a restaurant, make it a rule to eat either a sushi, soup, or salad (the three s’s). These foods are light, easy to digest, and give your brain the nutrition it needs to stay sharp and on task the rest of the day.

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    Forego booze if you can. Happy hour drinks are well and good, but if you’re still turning Sunday into a weekday, I suggest saving the brews for post-work hours.

    Avoid the 3 P’s: pizza, pasta or prime rib.

    3. Stop trying to trick your body.

    Energy drinks and excess coffee can’t give you the energy you truly need, because they don’t nourish you. Instead, they take you and your adrenal glands on a rollercoaster of highs and lows.

    That’s a major efficiency killer that trips people up all too often. So next time you’re yawning and reaching for your third cup o’ joe, try keeping a water bottle with herbal tea, or a healthy snack like carrots and hummus on hand to give you the delicious boost you need.

    The best part about fueling your body properly? You can stop playing catch up.

    When your mind and body are ready to roll, you can keep your work week where it belongs: between Monday and Friday.

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    No more scrambling to hit your deadlines. No more struggling to stay awake at your desk. Just beautifully-fueled brains, and rockin’ weekends.

    Have I mentioned you’ll feel absolutely amazing as well?

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    Last Updated on October 21, 2021

    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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