Category: Lifestyle

When are you least productive at Work?

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Finally, studies have shown that what I experience during the course of a normal work-day is not unique. I have always found my concentration levels dip after lunch, making it harder to refocus and get work done as effectively and efficiently as before lunch (or later in the afternoon).

Now, this study in the UK has found that 14:17 is the time when a large number of people experience the dreaded slump at work. Now, this study was conduced in the UK, but I am sure the results would resonate with many office-goers.

I have definitely found this to be true for the most part of my working life. I am a morning person, and work at maximum efficiency till lunch time (usually around 12:30 / 1 pm). I try to take a short walk after lunch, but find that it’s still hard to get back to the same effectiveness as before. Rather than fight it, I usually just accept it and use this time for my casual browsing, emails, etc. Usually 20 minutes is what it takes for me to start getting out of the slump, and I then get back to work as usual.

Another thing I have observed recently is that this phenomenon is not restricted to working professionals alone. I have found that participants of my teaching sessions that start around 2 pm take longer to ‘warm up’ than at other times.

As experts quoted in the study mention, this slump is a natural part of our circadian rhythms. The ideal solution would be to take a brief nap at this time, but that might not be feasible in most work (or study) places.

What are some of the ways we can work around this natural slump?

  • Take some time during our immediately after lunch for mental relaxation. This can help manage stress levels and enhance energy levels.
  • Use this time for work that is not very mentally demanding (boring stuff).
  • Travel. If you have to travel for a meeting, can you time it such that you are traveling around this time (maybe even take a short nap on the way!).
  • Get a good night’s sleep. This is simply the best solution to minimise the effects of the afternoon slump.

Do you also experience a slump in the early afternoon? What do you do to overcome it?

Monday Reads – 20/01

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Today’s articles might require readers to register, but it’s well worth the effort.

The first two articles are from MIT Sloan Management Review’s Winter 2020 issue:

You’re Going Digital — Now What? – Some tips that can help ‘transform’ your Digital Transformation initiatives. Key insight for me was that “the formation of new and initially invisible social networks… may be the most important ingredient in driving digital transformations.

Five Rules for Leading in a Digital World – Tips for leaders in this “VUCA on Steroids” world.

16 Rules for Living with Less – So you would like to declutter and adopt a more minimalist lifestyle, but don’t know where to start? These set of rules could well prove very helpful.


Monday Reads – 13/01

my-life-journal-unsplashPhoto Credit   My Life Journal

In which I list down articles that can help us in our daily lives…

Beat the clock: how you can save two hours a day – It’s interesting to see the increase in articles these days that speak about how to reduce time wasters and focus on one’s priorities. This article has an interesting suggestion for how one could actually put this theory to practice. In this article, author Marie Forleo, suggests that one should aim to free up two hours a day by first understanding where one’s time is presently being spent. It might sound tough, but there are some useful tips on how one can achieve this.

The Mental Health Benefits of Having a Daily Routine – This might seem counter to the popular notion these days that flexibility is one of the key requirements for success. But I strongly believe that having a daily routine can be a powerful tool to help us achieve our goals. In addition to providing an anchor in this fast changing world, it can help reduce stress and help us sleep better. Interestingly, both this and the earlier article emphasises the importance of developing a good food habit as well.

The morning routines of successful people – I am a morning person, and, naturally, this article appealed to me. While developing your own routine, pay close attention to what your morning looks like.

In the Beginning, Anything is Possible – So, if all of the above articles have helped you decide that you need to make a change, and you are wondering where to start, then this excellent article might just be your best starting point.


A Stay At A Farmhouse

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A friend of mine owns a farm in the state of Tamil Nadu. As we were passing by the area enroute to a holiday at Annamalai Tiger Reserve last month, he kindly agreed to let us stay at the house on his farm.

The farm and house are located near Mettupalayam, at the foothills of the towering Nilgiri hills. We enjoyed a scenic and spectacular drive to reach his place. It was evening by the time we reached the place.

Sitting on the verandah of the house, nurturing a drink while listening to the sounds of the evening and night was a beautiful moment, worth the long drive to get there.

Dinner was a delicious affair, cooked by the wife of the caretaker of the farm, using vegetables grown on the farm itself.

The next day, we went on a walk to explore the farm. The setting was quite brilliant, as can be seen by the photos on the top of this post. We were treated to a lovely selection of fresh fruits and vegetables that we gratefully carried back home with us. Kids also enjoyed running around the farm and playing with the friendly farm dogs.

We had to leave the farm soon after breakfast. It was a very short stay but I hope to go back there some day.

Monday Reads – 06/01/2020

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Welcome to the first Monday of the Twenties!

Trendspotting: 2020 can make or break – Perspectives on a broad sweep of issues likely to impact the digital space in India this year, by my first boss!

Nudge Your Way Through Business – The practice of ‘nudging’ to achieve desired customer outcomes seems to be getting increasing attention lately. This article explains this practice comprehensively.

Why We Never Have Enough Time & What to Do About It – Zenhabits is another website / newsletter that I have found very helpful over the past 12 months. This specific piece might resonate with many.

Plan in decades. Think in years. Work in months. Live in days. – Fascinating mantra to reflect upon as we begin a new year.