A lot’s been written about morning routines lately. How famous, productive people may start their day with the peace and quiet of dawn, latté or tea in hand, thinking creatively with five to 10 minutes to map out their day and perhaps week.
And while morning habits are great, if you’re like most people the first hour or two of your day is spent shuffling the kids to school, greeting coworkers as you prep your tea or coffee, or responding to yesterday’s 5 or 8 pm email. In an ideal world you start the day planning and producing, not responding. But we all know that can be difficult to do with deadlines.
Work hard, nap hard?
So what makes a perfect, productive afternoon? A perfect cup of tea? Exercise and a light, healthy lunch? For Jack Muskat, an Organizational Psychologist at the Schulich School of Business, it’s taking an afternoon nap. “After an hour nap, I am able to return to work and put in another two hours until dinnertime.” He swears by a morning work schedule: “Mornings are for putting it out there,” he says. “Afternoons are for putting it back in.”
A Harvard Medical School health letter suggests a 20-to-30-minute nap as the ideal “pick-me-up”. Even just napping for a few minutes has benefits, researchers claim. And now an October, 2015 issue of GQ is promoting the daily nap in their article, “Work Harder, Nap Harder”. Referencing a classic NASA study and the benefits of napping, they say it’s cool to admit to napping at work (but not actually nap in public), and that it is essential to your employer’s bottom line.
For the non-nappers out there, there are ways to be productive in the afternoon. Social media, for instance, can be a good thing to do later in the day, when people are more likely to retweet you or may not be sharing original content.
But with new Twitter followers to view, IMs and websites constantly releasing new content in your industry, it’s easy to get off course from your daily/weekly work plan. There are, of course, apps like Productivity Owl, that swoosh across your page when you’re not being productive (not really sure how it can infer that, but we’ll take its word for it).
For those needing to stretch out, try taking a break with just three simple office yoga moves you can do at your desk. And finally, why not try an afternoon run at the end of the day? Why does exercise in the fresh air make for a more productive afternoon and evening? Find out in my next blogpost.
How do you spend your afternoons at work? What makes for a productive, “blissful” afternoon at work?