Humans — if there was one thing that would distinguish us from our other living counterparts, it would be the fact that we make decisions on a daily basis, based on our highly enhanced cognitive abilities instead of the survival of the fittest theory largely practised by animals, plants and various other living organisms. To delve a little deeper into the survival of the fittest theory, it was first introduced by renowned British naturalist, Charles Darwin who claimed that organisms best adjusted to their environment are the most successful in surviving and reproducing.
However, if you’d inspect this theory to great depths, we, humans might have to practice theory too based on our current circumstances of working from home. Well, how is that so? The unprecedented situation of the Covid-19 outbreak has forced most of us to stay confined within the four walls of our respective homes, equipped with only our trusted technological devices to carry out our daily activities such as working and studying, leading to us being forced to adjust to our current conditions to survive and thrive.
Talking about the work landscape, it has definitely changed tremendously with employers placing a huge emphasis on remote working ethics. This has led to many Facebook, Instagram and YouTube content creators giving random productivity hacks for employees who have no choice but to work from home.
When it comes to the topic of productivity, most individuals would assume that the process to achieve it would be energy-draining and it might even burn a hole in their pockets. Contrary to this highly misguided mindset, there is actually a simple way to transform your work style which would subsequently, yield a higher productivity rate. This would involve the basic concept of healthy eating.
Shockingly, the food one would consume daily, actually has a direct impact on his or her work output and productivity levels. One wrong step or an uncontrollable craving went wrong could eventually spiral you downwards into an endless cycle of low productivity. Well, the good news is that, just like your working conditions, as freelancers or remote employees, your eating habits could also undergo a major transition by following these 5 simple steps.
1) Stay Hydrated with Water & Cut Down on Caffeine
Coffee — the go-to drink for most employees to keep themselves alert and focused throughout working hours. Some might prefer a cup of freshly brewed espresso while others might favour a ‘Venti Iced Latte’ from the nearest Starbucks outlet. No matter how you like your coffee, consuming more than 2 cups of it on a daily basis would definitely be detrimental to your productivity level. Scientifically, the caffeine found in coffee would confuse the brain by taking up the receptors for adenosine so that you’re tricking your body into thinking that it has more energy than it does.
When your body hits a sudden realization that it doesn’t actually have all the energy that it once thought it did, you would feel a sensation known as the caffeine “crash”. Therefore, the body would begin to break down and this would subsequently cause, inflammation. So, what’s the best solution?
Well, for starters, instead of drinking coffee, replace it with water! Keep a large bottle of water by your desk and refill it each time it gets empty. This way, you wouldn’t get too distracted by walking to and from just to get a cup of water, The bottle would also serve as a constant reminder to stay hydrated. If plain water is not to your cup of tea, add in a few slices of lemon or mint leaves to the bottle. So, limit that caffeine intake and start drinking water to enhance your focus at work.
2) Have A Strict Eating Schedule
Now, having a rigid eating schedule might be an often-overlooked tip, after all, doesn’t working remotely come with the perks of being able to eat at your own convenience? Well, unfortunately, that concept is wrong and would eventually cause severe damage to one’s productivity. Eating with a strict schedule would help a person working remotely to keep track of their diet and their calorie count. It could be tempting to walk to the kitchen and grab a bag of chips and finish the entire bag during a 1-hour work meeting but this would mean, not being able to keep track of the number of carbohydrates consumed per day. Eating excessive carbohydrates would not only cause weight gain but would also cause extreme laziness.
Ever wondered why you seemed to be more productive in the office? Well, when in the office, everyone takes lunch breaks around the same time so, you’ll eventually be more conscious of your food choices and eating schedule. While embracing the new normal of working from home, try to plan your meals alongside your desired eating hours. Keep it consistent each day to prevent over-eating due to excessive hunger or undereating due to lack of appetite. Lastly, never skip meals. By skipping meals, you’ll probably end up eating more than the required amount and regret your food choices later on, when you’ve started noticing that your productivity levels are getting lower, towards the end of the day.
3) Keep Your Work Station Far Away From The Kitchen
At first glance, this might seem like a hilarious healthy eating hack to follow, but when it comes to eating healthily, the kitchen is a great place to abandon your dreams of being productive for freelancers or remote employees. You might want to set up your desk in a well-lit room that would offer zero distraction for your working needs. Now, the problem with working anywhere near the kitchen would be the fact that you might always be tempted to wander over and check the fridge especially if it’s in your line of vision.
This situation would be further aggravated if you’re stuck with endless, boring Zoom calls for a long duration of time. Our subconscious would generally lead us to the fridge just to grab a snack or two. So, you’ll have to practice a strict set of rules that you’ll only be in your kitchen when you’re preparing food and during your eating slots in your schedule. Sticking a Post-It note on your fridge as a reminder to not open it until your designated eating slots might be useful for individuals who have a hard time following this tip.
4) Eat Productivity-Enhancing Food
The urge to eat your favourite bag of potato chips or to finish up a whole tub of vanilla ice cream might be there for a lot of freelancers or remote employees but eating such fat-filled food would not be useful for those aspiring to eat healthily. Instead, why not replace your daily dose of junk food with productivity-enhancing food such as almonds, bananas, dark chocolate and granola bars? Eating these types of food has been scientifically proven to boost productivity, and improve focus while working.
Consuming food which has a high amount of carbohydrates would give its consumers a quick release of glucose so, there will be a sudden burst of energy. However, later on, there will be a lethargic crash which would be counter-productive and deviate away from the main goal which is to eat healthily for the sake of being more attentive towards work. If you’d still want to snack on a bag of chips, why not consider switching to a healthy alternative such as kale chips, carrot slices or air-popped popcorn.
5) Portion Your Food Well
As much as choosing the right type of food is important, the portion is equivalently vital as well. The key is to eat in moderation without having sudden hunger pangs or a sudden urge to snack. Eating out of the bag or origins container of the food would make it more difficult for one to control portions. The best solution is to put the food on a plate. Now, there will be two ways to manage your food portions. The first way is to use the healthy plate method.
For this method, you’ll have to fill half a 9-inch plate with non-starchy vegetables, ¼ of the plate with lean protein (usually found in poultry, seafood, beans, eggs, tofu, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt) and ¼ of the plate with high fiber carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables). The second method would be an easier one. This requires you to check the serving size on the packaging and eat accordingly.
In a nutshell, these tips are indeed helpful, nevertheless. However, it takes sheer determination and discipline to follow these guidelines correctly without spiraling into the same cycle of eating unhealthily. Bad eating habits, as stated previously can cause low productivity levels and worse, post-work fatigue. The transition from working in the office with a rigid structure to working flexibly from home is both a daunting and an exciting experience. It might be difficult at first, but it would get better over time. This could probably be a good period to start learning to cook quick and tasty recipes at home or perhaps, you could finally start the keto diet plan that you’ve always wanted to start? The possibilities are endless.