Manic Monday.

desk

Are you back to work today after a holiday break? Okay, not everyone is lucky enough to get time off at Christmas, so this could be just another regular day at the salt mines. Whatever the case, you may feel the need for some inspiration and motivation to get you through the workweek. Studies suggest that the task-demands required in an average 8-hour workday actually need over 24-hours to complete. It is no wonder why employers place so much emphasis on time-management skills.

The following are a few tips to help you survive milking the most hours out of your workday. And, not one of them involves stashing a bottle of Vodka under your desk. Though, that could be part of your contingency plan.

1. Switch things up first thing in the morning. Unless you have been clinically diagnosed with OCD, try to break your routine. Live a little and have tea instead of coffee, take a different route to work or walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. If these sound a little too crazy for you, you could start by taking baby steps; stir your coffee counter clockwise or stand on one foot for a few seconds. Human behavior experts indicate that breaking your routine can kickstart your perspective into overdrive which aids in problem solving.

2. Skip the 20 or 30 minute breaks at mid-morning and mid-afternoon and take a 3 to 5 minute break every hour instead. Do something during this time that entertains you. Provided that what entertains you is socially acceptable, of course [unless you have a private office with a lock on your door]. Check the headlines on your favorite news site, even if that happens to be TMZ. Login to Instagram or Twitter. Just remember, don’t get sucked into anything for longer than 5 minutes and don’t break any of your workplace’s policies on social media surfing while on the clock. That includes using your own smartphone device. Taking short entertainment breaks actually allows us to return to our tasks with renewed focus.

3. Avoid the mid-morning-slump by listening to your favorite high energy song as loud as acceptable [though, I would suggest headphones so as not to disturb your colleagues].  It would be ideal if you could bust a move too. But, depending on your workplace, channelling your best Brittany Spears or Elvis or whatever suits your fancy as if your office were a dance club, could be frowned upon. In any case, short bursts of external stimulation are proven to increase your stamina and will get you through the rest of the morning until lunch time at least.

4. Similarly, avoid the mid-afternoon-slump by eating a piece of fruit. Fruit is a healthy way to boost your blood sugar, providing you with the energy to keep you going until quitting time. If fruit isn’t an option, yes, you could grab a donut or a cookie. However, the refined sugars in these sweet little fat-monsters cause unhealthy spikes in your blood sugar that quickly lead to energy zapping crashes. Opt for a cup of tea with honey instead. A little caffeine and some natural sugars are a better alternative.

5. Have fun with fonts. Get crazy with colours. Write with a colored pen. Even little changes, like using ‘times new roman’ instead of ‘arial’ can have a big impact on our psyches, boosting our morale. However, avoid that devilish red colour; it is linked to feelings of negativity, inducing stress and anxiety. Must be rooted in our childhood; when our cruel primary-school teachers tortured us by marking wrong answers on tests with big red X’s.

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