In this digital age, many working Americans are always “turned on” with their phones, tablets, laptops and other devices, even when they are not at work. While many of us like to be on top of current news and have a nervous habit of checking our email, this lifestyle can actually be hurting your day-to-day routine and productivity levels.
If you feel exhausted throughout the day, gulping gallons of caffeine and feeling like you need a vacation – you probably do need one. Unfortunately, you might not be able to take personal time off whenever you want (as most of us can’t), but there are other things you can monitor and change in your daily life to be a better worker on the clock, and a better you OFF the clock.
It seems glaringly obvious because it is– you need more sleep! And not just more sleep, but better sleep. Studies say 69 percent of Americans report insufficient amounts of sleep, and part of this is coming from all the blue-screened gadgets attached to our hands. Light from our screens (of smartphones, e-readers, etc.) tell our brain it is daylight and make it harder to fall asleep. Put your phone down and give your brain a rest at least an hour before bedtime.
Cut back on caffeine.
Coffee may be your go-to when you feel poorly rested in the morning (and maybe the afternoon, and possibly even the evening… we see you, coffee lovers). This is fine in moderation, but too much coffee can make you shaky, dehydrated, anxious and agitated… all things that you probably don’t want to add onto your workload. Not only that, but by the end of the day it can cause you to be restless and lose more sleep again that night.
Take a break… or two.
We all have those days: filled with meetings, demands, work piling up on our desk, emails going unread. It probably seems counteractive to take a few breaks, but trust me, you need them. Take a step back from the daunting pile of work and walk a lap outside in the fresh air. These can be short breaks, but you need them during the day to give your mind a rest. Then you can go back with full focus and rejuvenated willpower.
*BREAKS include taking your time off the clock, off the clock. Go home and stop checking your email.
Eat right and exercise.
I know– who are we, your doctor? But really. Eating right throughout the day and making time for exercising before or after work can vastly improve your life, and your job. Not only does it relieve stress, but it gives you energy throughout the day and helps you sleep better at night (see first point).
It’s hard to change your routine, and even harder in the face of a demanding job with sense of responsibility to be accessible 24/7. However, think of the benefits of putting yourself first and leading a more energized life. Think of all the things you can do with a clear mind and rested body. Your boss and coworkers will be amazed by your production and energy levels in the office, and so will you.