You’re cross-eyed from monitor glare, comatose from lunch digestion, and you don’t even realized you just opened up Facebook: It’s 2:55 in the afternoon, the time of day when productivity dies.
The respondents said that 2:55 p.m. was the low point of the day’s output: Most folks said they were either checking social media or planning for their evening–perhaps heading to the “pub” or getting a game of “footie” together.
What’s the story with the dip? One respondent said that “the trouble is after lunch I’m completely whacked until I have some sugar,” while others said they need “a strong cup of coffee and a bar of chocolate” to get going again–more good news for glucose!
Beyond giving some explanation for the embarrassment of riches that is British candy culture, the responses underscore a recurrent Fast Company theme: that you only have so much mental energy within a day. While that supply is renewable, that renewal isn’t automatic.
How do you get more mindful about your afternoon? One way is to treat your workday as a series of sprints. Instead of slowly suffocating in your inbox, opt to work in focused 50- or 90-minute chunks. After each sprint, you take a break, which could be active or restful.
After a productive lunch, you could take a screen-free walk. While going alone can be restorative, heading out with a colleague can make for an informal meeting, one that can deepen those ever-necessary BFF workplace bonds–a gentle form of non-sleazy networking.
But while getting more active is helpful, so is getting proper iPhone-free rest: Consider the nap. Buffer cofounder and Fast Company contributor Leo Widrich noticed that his productivity fell off at 3 p.m., so he placed his daily nap right then–getting him back to 100% productive afterward. There’s an educational aspect to this, he notes: “Try and get encouragement from your co-workers or your boss,” he writes, “so you can set yourself up for developing a successful habit.”
At what time during the day–or night, for that matter–are you least productive and how do you deal with it? Let us know in the comments.
[Image: Flickr user Andrea Esuli]