WORKPLACE / AUG. 05, 2014
version 7, draft 7

Three Habits That Can Ruin Your Productivity

There’s no one-size-fits-all morning routine. While some would say that they have no set morning routine, most people fall into a morning mood category. Maybe you’re not really productive until around noon, or maybe you’re a night owl who works the third shift at home. While your morning may not occur before 8 AM, there are some things you can do first thing that may make the rest of your day stink.

Putting off hard tasks

Some people attest strongly to starting off your morning with easy tasks, and saving the more intense things for when you’re more awake or aware. However, some studies show that putting off intense challenges until the afternoon (or second half of your work period) can have a negative effect on your motivation to get things done.

The concept behind getting harder work done first comes from the finite amount of self-control we have. If we put off hard tasks until the afternoon, it suddenly becomes much easier to put it off until tomorrow. Or early next week. Or eventually. Conversely, getting these things done earlier in the day means that the remaining working hours suddenly become a cake-walk.

Skipping meals

Sure, it saves time and possibly clothing as you’re not spilling coffee or cream cheese on your best shirts during your morning commute, but your first-grade teacher was right: breakfast is easily one of the most important meals of the day, and for some, the difference between having or skipping breakfast and lunch can make or break your mood.

In fact, according to a 2005 study done by the World Health Organization, adequate nourishment makes people 20% more productive during the day. Eating breakfast and lunch can also reduce sick days and accidents while boosting productivity and morale. This is especially true for employees of the labor industry who aren’t sitting at a desk all day.

However, eating breakfast every day doesn’t necessarily mean sitting down to a four-course meal. Instead, brain researcher Leigh Gibson found that “…the brain works best with about 25 grams of glucose circulating in the blood stream — about the amount found in a banana.” Foods that are very high in sugar (such as donuts) will release glucose very quickly, meaning you’ll have about 20 minutes of hardcore brain activity before you’re back to square one. Foods like oats, however, release their glucose much more slowly, meaning a steadier stream that makes us more focused for much longer.

Skipping the routine on weekends

Even if you don’t have a morning routine, you should develop one. Getting the most out of your morning can set the tone for the rest of the day, and it can make your life much more meaningful and enjoyable. Sure, sleeping in is great, but you can sleep when you’re dead, right?

Having or developing a morning routine that translates over to weekends is key to keeping that routine going during the week. Not only are you on a far more stable sleep schedule that doesn’t leave you feeling hung over or groggy on Monday, it keeps you from having that “I wasted my Saturday sleeping!” feeling. While I would never recommend working on the weekends, starting your days off strong on Saturday and Sunday is just as essential in keeping your routine going. Use all that extra time you have on the weekends to go out and enjoy your life—it can really help you feel more fulfilled during the week. 


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