The topic of personal productivity in the workplace is often focused on managing to-do lists, emails and avoiding the common mistake of constant partial attention. While successfully managing these factors is extremely important, an often overlooked area of productivity is our energy management – both physiological and psychological.
Low energy levels can lead to staff to being unproductive, uncreative, overly emotional, difficult to deal with and unresponsive to the needs of customers and colleagues.
At Pro-Fit Corporate Health, a national provider of At-Work Health Assessments and Fitness Checks, we analyse several thousand people per year, assessing their heart health and overall strength and flexibility. We often find that employee’s blood glucose levels are on a virtual roller coaster throughout the work day, constantly spiking and falling due to the amount of quick-fix foods and drinks on offer. Two of the main culprits are energy drinks and those relatively cheap and all too accessible fund raising chocolate bars!
Constant grazing on plant foods (fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, legumes) throughout the day will stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep you from the fake peaks and troughs that come sugary quick fixes. A common trait of time poor busy people is that they are too busy to eat. When we skip meals our glucose levels begin to fall, therefore it is crucial to have regular meals during the day to stabilise our energy. Research tells us that eating approximately every 3-4 hours is an effective way to stabilise your glucose levels.
Here are 5 quick tips on how to improve your personal productivity and energy levels:
- Have a container full of nuts, fruits, and vegetables at your desk for you to snack on throughout the day.
- Take a 5 minute break every hour – don’t use the 5 minutes to update your Facebook status! Get up from your desk, walk to the water cooler and fill up a glass. Look out the window and take your eyes off your screen. Perform some quick neck, back, shoulder and leg stretches before returning to your desk.
- I am big believer in Smoke Breaks! Yep, you heard correct, I’m a huge fan – JUST WITHOUT THE CIGARETTES!!! See most smokers go outside for 5 minutes of every hour and take really big inhalations and exhalations that promote a down regulation of our ‘fight or flight’ stress response. Everyone should be encouraged to have a regular deep breathing break!
- Motion creates Emotion, rather than the other way around. Get up and move more throughout your day, this will help push blood flow to your brain, making you think clearer and effectively leading to smarter decisions. .
- If you suffer from 3pm ‘Fuzzy Thinking’ then have a low GI ‘fail safe’ snack rather than sugar or caffeine. Some great examples are;
- Small can of Baked Beans on slice of whole-grain toast
- Fruit Smoothie
- Muesli and Yoghurt
- Beef Salad
Chris Males is one of the country’s freshest corporate speakers on the topics of Health, Stress Management and Productivity. He is also the Managing Director of Pro-Fit Corporate Health, a national Corporate Health and Wellbeing provider.