When we were younger playing grown-up was a fun game; we could be artists, police officers, doctors — all in one afternoon. Yet, while admittedly it’s been awhile, I don’t think playing ‘the overtired employee in the third cubicle’ was ever high on the imaginary rotation.
Still, here we all are, just trying to get through the workday with enough energy to battle the evening traffic. Keeping with the ideal of working smarter not harder, below are 4 pretend roles that, when played correctly, will make your workday feel like it just got a juice box of energy to energize your work day.
1. Play Chef
Notice the word choice of chef not cook. This is because while you might cook dinner every night, your chef hat comes on when you start packing tomorrow’s lunch with re-purposed leftovers.
Try turning that leftover roast chicken into an easy chicken salad by adding some celery, carrots, mayo and pepper. Take your uneaten vegetables off the table; mix them with eggs, milk and cheese to create a hearty quiche prefect for re-heating. (Note: I’m no chef, but I’m great at typing “repurpose leftovers” into Google.)
Prepare for a quick breakfast by prepping some hardboiled eggs or purchasing some instant oatmeal. It’s not called ‘the most important meal of the day’ for nothing; what you eat for breakfast sets your energy levels for the rest of the day, so fuel yourself right with fiber and protein rich choices.
In addition to last night’s spiced up dinner, pack two healthy snacks that are easy to eat with one hand; carrot sticks, almonds, granola bars, cheese sticks and bananas are just a few examples. The energy payoff comes next. . .
2. Play Trainer
Now that you’ve packed and brought in a lunch (that you actually want to eat) you’ve instantly eliminated take-out menus and delivery times. Depending on your timeframe, minimizing your lunch efforts to just eating will free up anywhere from 15-45 minutes.
Optimize these minutes by playing trainer and go outside for a walk. Not only will the exercise feel great, but taking in the sun’s vitamins will instantly improve your mood and energy levels. Don’t have an ideal outdoor environment? Trainers are all about flexibility, so pack some headphones and use your Smartphone to play some up-beat music, then tune out while taking a brisk walk through your office’s hallways.
Remember those snacks your Chef packed? Eat up around 10am and 3pm to keep energy levels sustained throughout your day.
3. Play Fireman
A fireman is ready at a minutes’ notice, this comes from sheer preparation. Most likely you do your laundry once a week, so after you fluff and fold take a minute (since you’re already in your closet anyway) and pull forward five work appropriate items for each day of the work week.
Each night take one of those hangers and build on it, adding all the elements you’ll need (accessories, socks, even underwear). Once finished, hang your complete outfit the bathroom for convenience.
Compressing your morning routine like this in both time and space will afford you more time to sleep in, resulting in a more rejuvenated work day. Similarly setting up your wallet, keys and shoes by the door will save even more time and get you moving quickly in the morning.
Maximize your snooze time by setting your alarm for the exact time you need to wake up. Hitting the snooze button repeatedly provides you with shallow sleep and can leave you feeling even more tired. Instead, afford yourself the extra uninterrupted minutes in exchange for being a true fireman, someone who gets moving and doesn’t look back the moment the alarm rings.
4. Play Hypnotist
In the evening turning your mind from work to Zen is easier said than done. Play hypnotist to set the mood and send you off into a deeper, more restorative sleep.
Nightly stretches will help release tension in muscles; follow up with a hot evening shower to relax. Set the mood by dimming the lights throughout your home an hour before you plan to turn in, this will kick-start the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone essential for sleep.
Once in bed skip the disturbing bright lights of TV and instead close your eyes to take 10 extremely long and slow inhales/exhales. This type of breathing will put your body into a meditative state, prepping you for REM sleep and a more energized work day when you wake.
With a little preparation and tweaks to your normal routine, you can breathe some life back into your workweek. A healthy diet, plenty of sleep and exercise are essentials when it comes to gaining extra energy. By putting these easy tips into practice you will trade in those lagging feelings for more focus – a sensation that make the extra effort completely worth it.
What other ways can you keep your energy levels soaring?
Image by FreeDigitalPhotos.net.