After lunchtime when you are back at your desk, or going about your day, do you feel a lull in energy and focus? A recent study reveals that people are more likely to be lazy, cheat, or take shortcuts in the afternoons.
The study results reveal that we may only have a limited amount of focus each day. Expending our store of focus in the earlier part of the day means we are left feeling grumpy and tired in the afternoons. So what can you do to find more focus throughout your day? Here are a few expert tips for increasing your ability to continue challenging tasks, while enhancing your mood and productivity.
Eat an Energizing Breakfast
If you skip breakfast in the morning, then you may suffer an energy crash later in the day. Breakfasts packed with protein, fiber, and carbohydrates are your best bet for sustained energy levels throughout the day. Try oatmeal, whole-wheat bread with peanut butter, or a smoothie with bananas and nuts. Pack some healthy snacks like carrots and hummus, a piece of fruit, or trailmix to munch on throughout the day. This will help you avoid sugar-filled and calorie dense snacks and convenience foods that can spike and then deplete your energy levels.
We can only really focus for about 90 minutes at a time. When we work beyond 90 minutes, we get distracted and tired. Approach your work with this 90-minute schedule in mind. Every half hour, take a mini two-to-five minute break. Step outside, stretch, shift your attention away from the task at hand. Then take a longer 15-to-25 minute break every 90 minutes or so. This method is a simplified version of the Pomodoro Technique, which is an excellent program for helping workers and students to increase their focus and get things done!
Get Enough Sleep
Adults need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night but about 30% of U.S. adults get less than six hours of sleep, according to a National Health Interview Survey. To stay more focused in the afternoon, take steps to ensure a healthy night’s sleep. If you feel overtired in the afternoon, then try setting an alarm and taking a quick 20-minute nap. Even if you don’t fall asleep, simply relaxing and shutting your eyes can help you to feel recharged.
What are your tips for remaining focused and alert in the afternoons? Please share your favorite energy-boosters in the comments below.