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Is productivity something you struggle with day to day? Are mornings a challenge to get in the groove, and do you hit a wall around 4 p.m.? It turns out that your performance at the office may have less to do with how you can power through interruptions and avoid internet black holes and more about how you’ve planned your lunch hour. You could be negatively impacting your workday with the eating choices you’re making.
In addition to skipping breakfast or lunch (both obvious no-nos), there’s a long list of habits you need to break if you want to achieve your peak productivity at the office. Inc. notes that only about 20% of employees take a meal break away from their desks, so it’s clear that how we eat during the workday isn’t a priority. It’s time to rethink how you refuel for work, so keep reading to see the eating habits you need to ditch in order to increase your productivity.
Not planning out your lunch hour: You may feel like not putting too much energy into what you’re going to do for lunch will benefit your productivity, but in fact, the opposite is true. Planning out your lunch actually brings psychological benefits and can serve as a productivity boost when you’d otherwise be due for an afternoon slump. Your lunch break will help motivate you to power through your morning, and once you’ve conquered the first half of the day, breaking away from the office will be a well-deserved reward that doubles as both a refresh and reset before you return to take on the second half.
Loading up on carbs at lunch: When your schedule is jam-packed with meetings and deadlines, it can be difficult to actually break away for a full lunch hour. Pressed for time, you could be more prone to load up on carbs when you do get a chance to eat. While it’s a quick fix for a hungry stomach, carbo-loading has a way of negatively affecting your productivity—inducing sleepiness and leaving you with a foggy brain. To avoid a crash in energy, Business Insider recommends opting for low-glycemic carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables, and yogurt, which provide sustained energy to get you through the end of the workday.
Drinking too much coffee: This mistake is all too common. When your workload seems to overtake the number of hours available in the day, it can be tempting to throw back coffee after coffee to power through. Business Insider notes that a study published in the journal of Neuropsychopharmacology suggests that consuming excessive amounts of caffeine can actually make you slack off. If you’re drinking more than four cups a day, the negative effects of coffee end up outweighing their advantages. Your nervous system will become overstimulated, and your motor activity to not perform as well.
Giving into afternoon cravings: Especially if you skip lunch or put it off until well after your body needs it, afternoon cravings for a sugary quick fix can overcome you. While a sweet snack could provide you with an instant boost to your energy and mood, the benefits will be short-lived. Give in to your sweet cravings and you can expect your blood sugar to crash and bid farewell to any afternoon productivity.