I am obsessed with checklists. My work desk is filled with schedulers, planners and time blockers.
And yet, I often find myself so exhausted that even sitting upright on my chair is a task for which I need to bribe myself.
When I tried to figure out why I was such a lazy pigeon, it came as no surprise that it was the bag of chips that I reached out for every time writer’s, or any other kind of, block hit.
We’ve grown up hearing the adage breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper. However, how often have we consciously considered what we are eating and its effects on our body—except for the consequent weight loss/gain?
What we eat has a very strong and direct impact on how we work. It has a huge effect on our productivity levels.
Right foods = high productivity
Take carbohydrates. When consumed, carbs produce insulin (a lot of it) that floods the brain with the serotonin and tryptophan sleep hormones. (We’ve all had those lunches after which we fell asleep on our laptops).
Right here, then, is a food to avoid: refined carbs, to avoid the post-lunch slump.
And to make sure you slay your to-do list, we’ve got a list of high-energy foods that you should add to your diet routine pronto.
A bonus: this list is a pretty useful one even if you have specific dietary preferences; veganism, for example.
Popeye had his life sorted with all that spinach. Greens like spinach and kale are rich in vitamin B that helps improve focus and strengthen the brain. Kale is also rich in calcium, manganese and vitamin K that improve concentration and prevent mental decline.
Say cheers to a happy and productive day with a green smoothie at breakfast.
I love berries and look forward to the time when they are around in abundance. Berries, all kinds, are excellent productivity enhancers. Blueberries stimulate the flow of oxygen to the brain; strawberries help better long-term memory. They are also rich in antioxidants, which helps to curb cravings. Strawberries are red and juicy (they contain up to 91% water) and keep you well hydrated, therefore productive, through the day.
The next time you find yourself feeling sluggish, make yourself a glass of berry smoothie or just take a handful in a bowl and hit it out of the park.
Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts, are antioxidants and rich in amino acids and Vitamin E. This makes them the best natural source to improve your focus and problem-solving skills. The protein in nuts slows the glucose absorption in the body, ensuring that you don’t feel fatigued due to low sugar levels.
Just an ounce a day eaten directly or in your salad is enough to give your productivity a kick.
Keep them in place of the bag of chips or the pack of biscuits on your work desk.
This is another antioxidants-rich superfood. Dark chocolate contains caffeine that improves mental alertness, high flavanol cocoa that improves blood flow to the brain, and magnesium that helps you relax. The high cocoa content means a low sugar content, so that’s one more win. Eat a small piece especially on high-stress day to calm you down and enhance your work output.
Here’s one more reason to fall in love with herbal teas. Green tea, passion tea, Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) tea, ginger turmeric tea, honey lavender tea, jasmine tea, and so on— these herbal teas are natural energy enhancers and stress relievers. They reduce mental tiredness, improve your concentration and keep you hydrated.
Wake your brain up with a cup of productivity the next time you fall asleep on your desk.
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. They are natural stimulants for improving the blood flow. This means more blood to the brain and, therefore, better concentration. It also means a lower risk of depression, productivity’s biggest nemesis. What helps is that it tastes good and is increasingly becoming easily available. Grab an avocado toast or make guacamole spread for your multi-grain bread. Chunks of avocado in your salad are food for both your body and soul.
This list isn’t complete without this life-giver, life-saver featuring in it. It’s very simple to explain too: if you are not hydrated enough, your mental and physical performance suffers. I’m sure a lot of us have experienced this quite a few times, so we know that this one is a real game changer.
Keep a bottle of water on your desk and sip some water every half an hour. If, like me, you forget to drink water, you could download a water reminder app on your phone.
So, the next time you need to sit down and focus on something, you know what should be on your desk.
Nikita Jhanglani is a technical and creative content writer, editor and book blogger. Currently, she is into world domination, one checklist at a time.