When you walk out of the office at the end of a long day on the job, your mind shifts to your personal life. What’s for dinner? What am I going to watch on Netflix tonight? Is there beer in the fridge? And while there’s nothing wrong with blocking out work and focusing on yourself, you need to recognize that the choices you make at home have a direct influence on your productivity the following day at work.
3 After-Work Activities You Should Pay Attention To
What you do when you’re off the clock is your own choice, of course. There are no bosses, clients, or co-workers to tell you what you can or cannot do. But if you’re smart, you’ll pay attention to the decisions you make and ensure greater success.
Here are some specific after-work activities you may want to adjust to improve your general productivity.
1. Quality of Sleep
The importance of sleep can’t be understated. The more quality sleep you get, the better off you’re going to be during your waking hours.
Don’t believe it? Consider the following data points gathered by Mattress Clarity:
- According to the National Sleep Foundation, 16.5 percent of fatal car crashes — or 1 out of every 6 — are the direct result of drowsy driving.
- A study by the director of research at the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit found that people who work at computers make worse decisions when they’ve had less sleep.
- Multiple studies from accredited institutions such as Boston College and Harvard have found that a lack of sleep compromises creative problem-solving and makes people less effective in terms of innovation.
Clearly, a lack of sleep isn’t just annoying; it can compromise your ability to focus, make good decisions, and solve creative problems. The solution is to get more sleep.
2. Meal Selection
Your diet doesn’t just influence the size of your waistline. What you eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner can actually have a direct impact on your cognitive performance at work.
How? As psychologist Ron Friedman explains, “Just about everything we eat is converted by our body into glucose, which provides the energy our brains need to stay alert. When we’re running low on glucose, we have a tough time staying focused and our attention drifts. This explains why it’s hard to concentrate on an empty stomach.”
By eating healthier meals that keep your stomach satisfied for longer periods of time, you’ll be much more capable of focusing on your work, instead of hunger pangs.
3. Alcohol Consumption
If you’re like the majority of Americans, you like to relax with a cocktail, beer, or glass of wine at the end of a long day. There’s nothing wrong with an occasional drink, you should be aware that alcohol consumption can have a negative impact on your productivity at work the following day.
Research has shown that the higher your blood alcohol level is, the more likely you are to show signs of impairment as long as 12 hours later. In other words, a drink at 10 p.m. is enough to throw off your morning at the office.
So you should curb your drinking and save alcoholic beverages for the weekend when you’ll have sufficient time to work it out of your system.
Set Your Body Up for Success
If you take the time to listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs. The human body has systems that tell the mind what it needs, but you have to be aware enough to react properly.
Whether it’s sleep, diet, exercise, or any of the dozens of activities you perform on a daily basis, remember that even the simplest decisions can have an impact on your productivity at work. Give your body what it requires and everything falls into place.