Concentration & Productivity
Regardless of your profession or occupation, concentration and productivity are two important components of good work. The ability to focus on a specific task without getting distracted is hard in today’s always-connected, open-plan workplace. To be effective at the work you’re undertaking is another skill that can be affected by many different factors. The aim of this blog is to look at how our food and snack choices affect concentration and productivity.
Everyone has habits, some bad, some good, but it’s always good to recognize your own habits. When your work-schedule is routine and rarely changes, you tend to develop habits around this schedule (eating, socializing, exercising). From an eating/snacking perspective, we find that employees (including us) tend to eat at the same times every day. This can be something that has stuck with us from our school days! A great exercise is to take note of your habits for a whole week, just to see what you do the most, out of routine. We’ll concentrate on eating, for now, start tracking when and what you eat Monday – Friday. Once we explain a few key concepts about how to fuel your workday correctly, you can start to change your habits slowly and build better ones!
Let’s take your typical employee. Many of us begin our day with a bowl of cereal or nothing at all. We’ll make a coffee at home or grab one on our way to the office. This is an example of a daily habit that a lot of people won’t even think twice about. There’s nothing wrong with that by the way! However, read on and we’ll show you why making some small changes to the foods you eat can have a major effect on your day.
The reason we’ve titled this blog ‘’How To Fuel Your Workday’’ is because it’s just that. The foods you eat and at what times should change depending on what you’re up to that day. One day could be a chilled day at home while the next day you run 10k the park. Your food should fuel your goals. This blog post will be about fueling a workday that consists mostly of sedentary work in an office environment.
What Fuels Us
Back to our first example of a typical breakfast. While there’s nothing majorly wrong with it, it’ll often have you feeling like the worker in the image above by 12 pm! A carb-filled bowl of cereal with a coffee may be a decent breakfast before a morning workout, but not if you plan on spending the next few hours sitting down. When your body is stationary, and not using a lot of energy, it needs very little carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are sugars and fibers found in biscuits, sweets, pasta, bread, and cereals (the tasty things!). When exercising, carbs are your main source of energy. However, everyone also stores carbs in their body in the form of glycogen. At any one time, we all should have enough energy to get us through a standard day in the office.
A smarter choice of breakfast would be something high in protein and healthy fats! The reason for this is that foods high in these nutrients provide longer-lasting energy. Something like bacon and eggs cooked in coconut oil is one option. For vegetarians, try some greek yogurt topped with nuts, seeds, and a palmful of dried fruits. Choosing a breakfast lower in carbohydrate and higher in fats and proteins also avoids sugar crashes. The dreaded sugar crash can lead to loss of concentration, mood changes, and decreased productivity. We all love the instant rush you feel after some chocolate biscuits and a cup of tea but it never lasts.
The benefit of a healthier breakfast means you arrive at lunchtime without feeling starved. You’ll no longer have cravings for big sambos and soup and your mind will be clear to make another smart choice! Whether you bring in your lunch or eat out for lunch, options are always plentiful. Try a fresh salad with salmon, feta and walnuts or a homemade veggie frittata for a protein-packed lunch. For more ideas, we love Foodflicker’s (Daniel Davey) Instagram page! Daniel is Leinster Rugby and Dublin GAA’s head nutritionist and offers great recipe ideas.
Snacking can’t, and shouldn’t be avoided, but it should be done smartly! As discussed, you should stay clear of anything that will give you a short-lived energy boost. Nuts, fruits, granola, homemade bread, and bars are fantastic choices for snacks. They will keep you focused and take your mind off your tummy and back to your work!
If you would like to feed your thinking, The Snack People have got your back! We deliver healthy and nutritious snacks to offices nationwide. Would you love a snack box nearby at all times? Up your productivity by claiming a free trial of our service! Simply click here to get a free snack box for your office.