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One Delicious Life Hack to Crank Your Productivity

One Delicious Life Hack to Crank Your Productivity
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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 July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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