My most productive time? It’s morning hands down. I’ll quite happily be awake and working by 7.30am (if I need to be), I’m energised at that time in the day, sat at the desk with a coffee – it’s set to be a productive morning in my book. We’ve all got different ways of working and this tends to be mine.
But post-lunch, it’s a bit of a different story. Around mid-afternoon it’s a case of powering through. Luckily, I like coffee so that’s one point of call but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who finds 3pm a tough point in the day.
So what’s the way to deal with it you ask? Is it possible to beat it? I’ll confirm that it is possible, but some days are really quite a bit more difficult than others. As someone who spent 8 hours a day in the library for the last year (ah student life), I’ve been there and I’ve tried, tested, attempted all the methods which could make a difference. Eventually, I have some!! Perhaps they’re a bit obvious but combine them and you’ve got the foundations in place to push through the tricky points in the day. Listen up…
SCHEDULE SMALLER TASKS FOR THE AFTERNOON
If you can manage your own schedule, why would you focus on the hardest tasks at your least productive time? (This works both ways if you’re actually not a morning person). Not everyone can do this I know and it does depend upon your working situation, but if you can switch around the tasks based on your level of productivity then go for it! ‘Meatier’ tasks in the morning that you really need to tackle and use the afternoon for the smaller tasks, the ones that require less focus and it’ll be easier to power through the mid-afternoon hours.
It’s a scientific fact, dehydration does mean that your brain will struggle to focus. I love a coffee at this point in the day – but caffeinated drinks do give you an instant boost, to be followed by a slump. So I keep a water bottle at my side for post-lunch and can confirm that aiming to drink more at this time of the day, combatting the ‘slump’ does actually make a difference to improving focus. The recommended intake is two litres per day so set that as the target! I’ve seen water bottles which are ‘timed’ with the amount that you need to be drinking each hour – a good one to be results driven maybe?
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK TO MOVE
If this is possible to fit into your day, it is definitely WORTH it. We can’t all head to the gym in our lunch break but that’s not the only option – whether it’s time to stretch, a walk around the environment you’re in, a breath of fresh air, I’m pretty sure it makes a difference. At the moment, I can break at around 3pm to take the dog for a walk and I try to really ‘hit a wall’ with productivity before I break to do this so it’s ultimate time to switch off and come back to tasks afterwards. But it differs across the situation, when I was doing university work at home, I’d do a 10/15 minute yoga session and Yoga with Adrienne has some pretty good videos for this – I’d recommend the ‘Office Break Yoga’ session. Whereas when I was in the library, I’d break to go find some books or I’d take a quick walk outside to ‘breathe’. Whatever works for you.
FIND THE RIGHT AFTERNOON SNACK
I’m not going to tell you that it should be a healthy snack, but I will say that snacks are key to productivity – it is scientifically proven that food contributes to energy levels. If you’re out and about, be prepped and have something in your bag. Healthier snacks will most likely aid concentration more and I agree, healthier snacks make me feel better, especially when I’ve been at a desk for the day writing blog posts for example. But some days you’ve got to have a chocolate bar mid-afternoon, it’s all about the balance right?
DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP
It’s important, here me out. If you’ve got a tight deadline and it’s all systems go, remember to reap the mini pockets of time for yourself, do try to move, try to stay hydrated etc. But some days are just not the one and without the deadlines, productivity can be tough. But, be patient with yourself, some days just aren’t easy. Take proper time to wind down, have an early night, find something to relax your mind and get back on it tomorrow, it’ll be okay. The prep is worth it, trust me.
What are your key productivity tips? Is there anything that you’ve found the winning method for you?