The average workday doesn’t just start at 8 and end at 5. It starts long before that with waking up, getting ready, getting out the door, commuting and then it ends in reverse. Staying sharp and focused can be a real struggle for many people, especially engineers. In this article, we’ll show you how to keep your edge all day long no matter what profession you’re in.
Start the Day off Right
This does not mean the sugar-laden coffee drinks or the donut cart at the office. It means high protein and nutrient-loaded. Even if you have to grab-and-go something, make it something real and not processed. Eggs, even hard-boiled, are a fast, portable way to get charged without an eventual crash. Pre-packaged portions of cheese are great, too! Keep them in the fridge and grab a few before you head out. Keep some bottled water in there to avoid that detour to the coffee joint. Your brain will thank you later!
They’re a real thing, aren’t they? Control the urge to reach for yet another cup of coffee and the box of Danish in the breakroom. Keep some nuts or trail mix or some power bars and re-fuel! This is a good time to indulge in some healthy fats like avocados or cheese as well!
Lunch is Not Dinner
Whether or not your job requires you to be a desk jockey or a real jockey, lunch isn’t an all-you-can-eat at the trough event. Work potlucks and birthday celebrations can be fun, but they are often heavy on conveniences like chips and dip and greasy, carbohydrate-laden casseroles. Not to mention every kind of cookie and that overly frosted birthday cake. Just remind yourself that getting seconds (or thirds) will leave you hibernating under your desk before you know it!
Bring your own food, opting for proteins like chicken, tuna, or even last night’s leftover grilled salmon. Cooking at home using appliances like an electric grill helps to curb the bad fats in your meal and they also taste pretty great too!
If you can, sneak away and take a walk outside. Regardless of the weather, a brisk walk to get some fresh air in your lungs can power you through the day!
The Dreaded Slump
Here you are at 3 PM with two hours to go and everything on your desk reads like a foreign language. Resist the temptation to spike your blood sugar with candy bars and soda and take this opportunity to breathe deeply, stretch, take a quick stroll if you can. If that doesn’t perk you up, grab the kinds of snacks that will keep you alert without the inevitable crash of processed foods and beverages. Cubes of cheese and salami, celery or apples with peanut butter, raw carrots or other veggies, or a handful of berries will keep the Munchie Monster away until your great escape at workday’s end.
However, if you must treat yourself, a small microwave bag of popcorn will do in a pinch. So will a few squares of dark chocolate (70 to 85% cocoa). In fact, studies prove that not only does high-quality dark chocolate do wonders for your brain, but dark chocolate has been proven to improve memory and cognitive skills. It’s a win-win, not only for your focus but your attitude – which your coworkers will appreciate!
To Sum Up
Regardless of your career ‘lifestyle’, it’s important to be mindful of what you are eating and drinking throughout the workday. Whether you sit at a desk or behind the wheel, work can be stressful. Coworkers can be stressful. But fueling your body with the right foods can keep you performing like the Rockstar your boss thinks you are!
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