Productivity Ninjas are notorious for getting things done and, sometimes, when focused and moving full-steam ahead, taking care of ourselves seems to drop to the bottom of the To Do list. A common self-care area that often falls by the wayside is what we eat. It’s said that the majority of professional worker’s in America take 20 minutes for lunch each day, and, its sitting in front of a computer or our cell phone stuffing in our mouth. Yikes!
There’s a strong (and very real) connection between the input (what you put in your body) and the output (quality of work, satisfaction with your work and overall productivity.)
Have you ever experienced “Hangry” (an amalgam of hungry and angry)? It’s the phenomenon whereby some people (yes, even Productivity Ninjas) become grumpy and short-tempered when they haven’t eaten in a while.
How eating habits impact productivity:
Tasks become increasingly difficult when you’re hungry. You aren’t as productive as you could be, you make careless mistakes, you’re grumpy with colleagues (or loved ones) and you find it difficult to concentrate. Sound familiar?
There’s science behind this – the brain’s cells require 2x the amount of energy to function than any other cell in your body. To work efficiently throughout the day, energy levels should be kept high to avoid mental stress and exhaustion. The World Health Organization reports that “Adequate nutrition can raise your productivity levels by 20 percent on average.”
Productivity Ninjas focus on ways to be best prepared:
Below find some tips for staving off the “hangries” – great for you Productivity Ninjas, but they’re imperative for the kiddos in your life, too, as they head back to school:
- Head hunger off at the pass: Plan ahead. If you know you have a jam-packed day of travel or meetings, pack a lunch and snacks ahead of time. If you generally stay in the same place every day, work out a system that is easy for you, so you can stay on the straight and narrow. Eat something before you get to the “hangry” state. It’s crucial to eat a well-balanced lunch as well, you need fuel to push through the day and stay focused and productive. Why not try eating lunch this week disconnected from any electronic device?
- Choose healthy, nutrient-rich snacks: When you’re busy with work, you may gravitate toward quick-fix foods like chips, candy bars. The sugar held within induces a sharp boost in blood sugar levels which crash rapidly as well only perpetuating the problem. If its sweet you crave (who doesn’t after all?, opt for fresh or dried fruit – you can’t go wrong with an apple.
- Stash a bag of walnuts in your desk: They are rich in protein, fiber and mood-boosting vitamin B6. A University of California research study showed that munching on a handful each day improves concentration and amps up the speed in which you process information.
- Drink up: Keeping hydrated throughout the day reduces stress hormones. Non-caffeinated beverages like organic green tea also relaxes the brain and induces mental alertness. Bonus: staying hydrated helps if you have to talk a lot!
Remember that Productivity Ninjas lead by example – if the captain of the ship is sick, crabby or loopy – how can he or she effectively steer the ship? Keeping the “hangries” at bay will help keep your emotions, output and reactions in check—and help you win the battle against hanger!