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How often do you feel that afternoon crash?You know what I’m talking about don’t you? That crash you feel somewhere around 3 pm? You were productive all morning, you had a good lunch and came back revigorated but somewhere mid-afternoon it hits you. The Afternoon Crash.
Some say it’s caused by low blood sugar, some say it’s your body’s natural sleep cycle, others blame diet or being mostly inactive during the day.
Although I can’t make you suppress those afternoon yawns, I can offer some tips and advice on how to avoid the dreaded afternoon crash and remain productive until the end of the day. For full details be sure to listen to the podcast but here is a brief rundown of what I talk about in this episode.
Tip #1, Take Short Breaks
You’ve heard how sitting for too long isn’t good for you? Well, One of the best suggestions I have for you is to incorporate short breaks into your workday to get up and walk around.
Getting up and walking around will help clear up your mind so you can remain focused when you return to whatever task you were working on. Not only that but it’s also good for your long-term health.
Just like your body gets tired and needs rest to recuperate, your brain gets tired as well. All it takes is a couple of minutes of getting up and walking around and you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel.
Tip #2, Eat Well
One of the perks of being a home-based designer is that we have the entire kitchen at our disposal when it comes to snack and meal time.
One of the cons of being a home-based designer is that we have the entire kitchen at our disposal when it comes to snack and meal time.
What you choose to eat during the day plays a big part in how productive you’ll remain.
Having the whole kitchen at our disposal makes it very easy to grab the wrong things when we’re “in the groove” and don't want to take too much time away from our desk. It’s a lot easier to grab a few cookies and get back to work than it is to peel and cut up a carrot.
Last night’s leftovers make a great lunch, providing you eat a lunch size portion. If you pack on your lunch plate like it’s dinner time you’ll only be contributing to that afternoon crash as your body uses up energy to digest the large meal.
Eating healthy and in proper portions will help you remain productive when you really need it.
Tip #3, Get Organized
Every designer has their own way of handling tasks and projects. To learn more about how to do this listen to episode 66 of the podcast Tackle Your To-Do List With Tasks and Projects.
Keeping your to-do list organized and up to date helps you organize your time and balance your workload. And when you have a balanced workload it makes it easier to focus on the tasks at hand, even when your brain starts to feel that afternoon crash coming on.
When you feel that fog approaching, turn to your to-do list to keep you on track. If you’ve organized it well, you’ll know exactly what it is you have to do next.
Tip #4, Limit Distractions
In order to work most effectively, you need to limit a number of distractions around you. This will allow you to remain focused on the task at hand.
Studies prove that it takes roughly 15-20 minutes to recover from a small distraction and get fully back into the task they were doing before being distracted. Every one of those distractions saps away at your energy and contributes to that afternoon crash.
Email is the biggest culprit. I talked about how to handle email in episode 43, A Don’t Do List For Your Graphic Design Business.
Emails distract you with every new email notification. If you stop what you’re doing to check your email every time you hear the new email chime go off, you’re going to find it hard to keep your concentration up for the entire day. Instead, you should set aside certain times of the day for checking and replying to emails. Or at least wait until you complete your current task to check them.
Better yet, turn off your email when you are not using it and you’ll notice a big difference in your work habits and energy.
Email isn’t the only distraction. Social media, internet browsing and many other things can distract you and sap the energy you need to get through your afternoon without experiencing a crash.
It's up to you
Everyone has a different working style and what may work for one person might not work for another. But if you follow these simple tips you’ll find yourself with enough energy to avoid that afternoon crash and overall you’ll be more productive.
What do you do to avoid that afternoon crash?
Let me know your strategy by leaving a comment for this episode.
Questions of the Week
Submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.
This week’s question comes from Andrew
I know you are wildly successful, so I'm surprised when I hear you talking about smaller jobs that you take on here and there. Do you take on everything that comes your way no matter how small? Do you have guidelines about what you will and won't take on?
To find out what I told Andrew you’ll have to listen to the podcast.
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Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org