Today we had waffles and fried chicken for lunch. I didn’t partake, but my co-workers feasted. With sticky hand and full bellies they smiled as they returned to their desks. But then it hit. One hour after lunch ended, everyone’s productivity plummeted. They sat there stuffed, staring at their computer screens. You could almost see the gears in their brains slow down, and finally come to a grinding halt as they attempted the seemingly impossible task of digesting and thinking at the same time. Another batch of food coma victims.
But it’s not just the post-lunch haze we have to worry about. Even people with extremely healthy diets hit a wall during the workday. Our minds get tired. We lose focus. We need to relax, and re-energize.
Hence the Re-Energizing Afternoon Ritual
I’ve been doing my morning ritual for nearly a year now. It’s changed my life. I can’t imagine starting my day without it. My morning ritual makes me feel healthy, awake, and optimistic. It supercharges my productivity and happiness, at least for the first half of the day.
The problem is, after lunch those benefits wear off. I lose energy, get temperamental, and my productivity declines. So, I designed my afternoon ritual to be like a reset button, bringing me back to the amazing feeling I get when I start my day.
So, here’s what I do. At 3pm, an alert on my calendar reminds me that it’s time to do my afternoon ritual. I have 30 minutes scheduled for the following:
1. Optimize your workspace – I remove everything from my desk except what I need for my next task (usually just my computer). This includes closing any applications or browser windows that are not involved in my next task. [2 minutes]
2. Go to the bathroom – even if you don’t need to empty your bladder, the following is refreshing. 1) Moisturize your eyes with Systane Ultra Lubricant drops. Your eyes get strained and irritated from staring at a computer monitor. My eye doctor recommended these drops and it’s made a big difference. 2) Wash your hands. There’s something refreshing about rinsing your hands with cold water, cleansing them with nice smelling soap, and patting them dry. 3) Use Listerene. You (and your co-workers) will appreciate fresh breath in the afternoon. [5 minutes]
3. Stretch – do any stretches you want. [3-4 minutes]
4. Meditate – I sit in a chair in a conference room with my feet flat on the floor and hands in my lap. I close my eyes and focus on my breath going in and out of my nostrils. My iPhone timer let’s me know when the session is over. [15 minutes]
5. Get a fresh glass of water – I always keep a big glass of water on my desk and refill it once an hour (I work in 50 minute chunks and refill during my 10 minute breaks). After meditating, the cool water will feel refreshing. It will help you wake up and hydrate you for the rest of the day. [2 minutes]
That’s it! 30 minutes in the afternoon will provide hours of additional productivity, plus peace of mind. Try it this week. Put an alert on your calendar. You can copy and paste the points above right into the calendar alert description. Do this for 5 days and see how it impacts your productivity and happiness. You can modify it as you like, the important thing is that you consistently spend 30 minutes re-energizing with an afternoon ritual.
I’m curious to hear your versions of the ritual. Good luck!