Feed Your Head

food_for_thoughtIf you want to improve your focus and efficiency, here’s food for thought: eat a balanced breakfast.

“But I don’t have time for breakfast! I’ll just grab a cereal bar and coffee and eat it on my drive to work. That’s real time management, right?”

Wrong. Our mom assured us that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and it turns out she was right. Since our brains work non-stop to process information and make connections, particularly while sleeping, we use up a great deal of our brain fuel even as we rest our bodies. Refilling the “think tank” with complex carbohydrates like oatmeal or multi-grain toast, washed down with fresh squeezed orange or carrot juice provides the foundation for a day that’s physically energized and mentally productive.

Gotta have your morning java? Sure, but try deferring it until mid or late morning when the caffeine jolt can help you power through a taxing brainstorming session or mind-numbing meeting. And try to limit your coffee intake to one cup in the morning and, if you must, one in the mid afternoon.
I love my coffee, yet I found that the extra caffeine and sugar from that second morning cup meant I felt jittery and extra hungry by lunchtime, robbing me of my concentration. I replaced that extra cup of joe with 32 ounces of water, drunk in three glassfuls throughout the morning. In the afternoon when I’m feeling peckish, I’ll have a healthy and satisfying smoothie made with orange or apple juice blended with bananas and any other fruit that’s handy. My favorite additions are blueberries (full of anti-oxidants), peaches or whatever’s in season.

Top efficiency tip: Tackle your most important task early. Once you’re properly fueled by a nutritious breakfast, commit to addressing your top priority early on, before the interruptions, meetings and unexpected mini crises derail your day. Hey, life happens. Just don’t let the inevitable road bumps stop you from handling the one thing that must be addressed for you to move your primary goal forward. I’ve found this works best for me at work and home, and it’s amazing how much better I feel knowing that no matter how the rest of my day turns out, I dedicated quality thinking time to moving my top goals forward.

It’s easier than you think. Starting Monday (or this weekend, for that matter), make breakfast your first priority. Combine feeding your head with one uninterrupted hour of focused, quality time each morning to dive into the one task that will move your main goal forward. Then step back and watch what happens.

Your number one professional and personal goals will come into focus, you’ll make progress faster, and you’ll feel better doing it. Bon Appetite!