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One Delicious Life Hack to Crank Your Productivity

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.

    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?

    More by this author

    7 Ways To Be One of the Supersmart People Who Always Succeed 11 Things You Should Minimize for a Better Life 9 Small Changes You Never Realized To Supercharge Your Productivity One Delicious Life Hack to Crank Your Productivity 10 Ways to Remove Negative Thoughts From Your Mind

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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

    8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

    You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

    Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

    When you train your brain, you will:

    • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
    • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
    • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

    So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

    1. Work your memory

    Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

    When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

    If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

    The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

    Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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    Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

    What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

    For example, say you just met someone new:

    “Hi, my name is George”

    Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

    Got it? Good.

    2. Do something different repeatedly

    By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

    Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

    It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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    And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

    But how does this apply to your life right now?

    Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

    Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

    Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

    So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

    You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

    That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

    3. Learn something new

    It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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    For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

    Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

    You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

    4. Follow a brain training program

    The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

    5. Work your body

    You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

    Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

    Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

    Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

    6. Spend time with your loved ones

    If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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    If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

    I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

    7. Avoid crossword puzzles

    Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

    Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

    Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

    8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

    Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

    When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

    So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

    The bottom line

    Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

    Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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