I hate the use of the word hack for everything under the sun, but I’m going to use it here anyway: an afternoon energy hack. I’ve worked this issue over many different ways in my life. For instance, I know enough not to go to a Chinese buffet for lunch on a day when I need to work inside in the afternoon. That is just a recipe for napping on my seat or on my feet. It just does no good. What I eat at lunch makes a big, big difference.
So often I’ll have a bulletproof coffee for lunch, or I’ll have a schedule where I have a brunch and dinner schedule. So I’m actually eating breakfast/lunch around 10 in the morning and then actually carries me through. Then the lunchtime coffee or bulletproof coffee carries me through.
But I’ve recently discovered something else that actually has had some surprising impact on my afternoon energy level, and I’m still working on it because it actually addresses an addiction issue. which is of course, dopamine addiction.
Here’s what I’ve discovered. My basic routine is I walk my wife to work in the morning, which is about three minutes away. Then I do a little larger loop sometimes a 10 minute loop, sometimes a 20 minute loop just as a wake up. And then I get into my day and I’ll work till around noon, or have my brunchy thing at 10, or maybe eat right around noon when she comes home.
I then take a break and noon, and often what I have done, I’ll sit down on the couch, flip on the TV and go to YouTube to look at some photography or videography camera equipment videos. Sometimes the news will sneak in there. Sometimes things that are maybe a little more along the entertainment side of things, or I might open Twitter and see what’s going on in the world or the cryptocurrency world.
All of these things stimulate that dopamine and give hit, pleasurable hit, easy somewhat passive sense of progress. What I’ve discovered is that if at noon during my lunch break I don’t do any of those things that really give that kind of that hit, but instead do something a little lower key, like reading a real book or a book on my Kindle or something like that, I don’t get that same spike. I actually feel better going into the afternoon and can actually focus much more quickly when I start working again after my wife goes back to work following a lunch break.
So, I’m still fighting this through because at lunchtime I really like catching a camera video or something about something I’m interested in, even if it’s educational. There was a while where I would just do educational type videos at lunch, but I find that even those because of the way they’re edited and put together are designed to overstimulate you and keep you interested, engaged and give you a pleasurable chemical spike. I do it with my videos.
So if you’re struggling and find yourself dragging in the afternoon even if you’re already doing a lot of things right as far as your lunch and eating properly and getting good sleep. Examine what you’re doing at lunch or before lunch and what kinds of things are you doing that might give you that spike?
Are you online? Are you watching videos? Are you on Twitter or on some other social media that just kind of keeps you flipping through pages and things and giving you something chemically that work doesn’t, especially if you’re getting it from some other place.
See here’s the thing I’ve learned is that if you choose to dial back on those other stimulants, work itself can be like that stimulate. It can take longer to get there, but when you accomplish something or when you get in a state of flow, you get that same kind of boost, but in a more balanced, non-spike kind of way.
I’m sure there’s a scientific way, a better way of explaining this. Bottom line is just be careful the kind of stimulation you allow yourself at lunch. If you need energy working in the afternoon on something that requires focus and thought, if you learn some things about this that you want to pass on on others, let me know. I’d love to learn more about what you’re doing to maintain energy through the afternoons.
God bless you. Press on.