How To Increase Workday Productivity After Lunch

Grand Lake | Colorado

Other Articles In This Series:
Morning Routines
Finishing The Workday Well
Evening Routines

You are a few hours into the workday; and it’s not uncommon to feel decision fatigue start setting in. Your decisions get slower, your brain is tired, you have a hard time focusing, and so on. These tell tale signs probably signify a few things:

  1. Your body needs fuel, aka you’re hungry.
  2. Your mind needs to rest.
  3. Your body probably needs to move.

Around mid-day you basically need a re-set, which is fairly easy to do, giving you have 15 minutes to an hour to spare. Although you could pull this off in a few minutes, in my experience the longer the better.

Here it is, in all its glory and simplicity.

Step 1 – Disconnect

To live a truly examined life, it’s important throughout our days to remember to disconnect from that which pulls us into, what Lao Tzu would call, the “world to 10,000 things”.  The 10,000 things being all the stuff we like to get caught up in day to day, ranging from though patterns to physical objects.

Basically, we disconnect so we can reconnect with what matters: this moment, our body, our mind and how we feel right now.

To do this, simply shut down your computer, if possible leave your cell phone, and go to an area where you won’t be distracted. I highly recommend somewhere outside, but anywhere you can sit in silence for a few minutes will work fine. If you bring your phone, at least put it on silent.

Step 2 – Meditate

I can hear it now “Again? You want me to meditate twice before noon? I am not a monk, Mat, I have a real life.”

I get it; just trust me on this one. A meditation mid-day does a few amazing things for you…

  • It helps to reset your decision fatigue meter. Other than sleep (or surfing, in my opinion) this is the best way to recharge your energy bar for decision making and will power for the rest of the day.
  • It slows your body down, allowing it to rest, reset and relax. The best performers in the world have a switch that they can turn on when they want peak performance and turn off completely when they need to relax. This goes for the mental and physical, and you build it through conditioning. Not only are you allowing your body and mind to reset in the moment, but you are developing a very useful skill for the future.
  • 20 minutes just like the morning would be best. Realistically I can do that 1-2 times a week, but most times it’s 5-10 minutes and it still works great. Personally, if my mind is really racing, I use a guided meditation to help bring me back to the path. If I am feeling somewhat centered, I will simply use TM, close my eyes and get quiet. Whatever your practice, its great, do it.

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Step 3- Refocus

Coming out of meditation is the perfect time to re-imprint on your mind who you want to be and what you want to accomplish.   I like to run back through my goals and focuses for the day and week along with a few quick notes on gratefulness to keep things centered.

Step 4 – Eat

We talked about this a bit on the morning routine, but food is fuel. It can also be art and therapeutic and a great many other things, but at its core, the reason you eat is to fuel your body to remain alive. We want to fuel our bodies for optimal performance, so we are going to focus on a few specific items.

Complex carbohydrates, greens, lean protein, healthy fats and water. That’s what we are looking for. That will provide both sustained energy and calories for both your brain and your body.

Processed carbs and sugar are a recipe for disaster and an unproductive afternoon. Your insulin levels will spike, you will get a short burst of energy and then you will crash, physically and mentally. This is where we do not want to be.

This is where we do not want to be, so skip the pizza (I can’t believe I actually wrote that.)

Step 5 – Move

The reason for this is simple. Kick-start your body metabolizing and digesting your food and start assimilating some of the calories to be used for fuel. Not to mention all the positive effects that go along with basic exercise.

This can be as simple as taking a short walk, doing air squats, pushups or any sort of calisthenic or body-weight exercise that puts you in motion.

Doing this type of activity while listening to either motivational audio or just good quality pumped up music will put you back in a peak state for the rest of your day.

So, that’s pretty much it.

You reset your energy bars, you feed your mind, you feed your body, and you jump-started your body while putting yourself back in a peak state.

The key is finding the time and sticking to a habit/routine like this. Meetings pop up, people call, life happens. I get it, but again, these routines are not laid out to make you feel unproductive for not adhering to them.

Rather, they are here to give you a path and checkpoints along the way so you can always know where you are and what to do.

Make these checkpoints a priority in your day, schedule them into your calendar and do what you can on any given day.

If you miss a checkpoint or have to cut one short, no problem, simply come back to the path and walk on.

Let me know how this works for you and be sure to leave your reset tips ant techniques in the comments below as well.

talk soon,


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