Daylight Savings Time: Tips to Fighting Productivity Lull From Sun Up to Sundown
You may think that gaining an extra hour of sleep would have positive effects on your productivity, but studies have shown that’s not typically true. The now shortened days and disruption to our bodies’ sleep and functionality can have astounding effects on our sleep cycles, mental clarity, health, and focus.
In the midst of a global pandemic where remote-work and productivity challenges still linger for many, it’s important to do what we can to adjust to the time shift without disrupting productivity in the process. Here are a few helpful recommendations to think about from sunrise to sunset.
Prepare for Quality Sleep
- Force yourself to shut-down the electronics before bed. The blue light emitted can disrupt your sleep rhythms so aim to stop looking a couple of hours before bed.
Tip: For those of us that can’t resist screen time before bed, apps like F.lux filters your screen’s blue light by giving it a warmer glow. For Mac users, you can enable Night Shift which adjusts the colors of your display to the warmer end of the spectrum — making the display easier on your eyes.
- Set your ideal bedroom temperature ahead of time. The National Sleep Foundation recommends setting the thermostat between 60 -67 degrees to help body temperatures drop and enable better sleep.
- Practice good sleep hygiene. Establish a routine that allows you to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day—including weekends. The National Sleep Foundation recommends avoiding caffeine up to four hours before bed and avoiding alcohol before bed as well. Both of which can cause sleep disruptions and lead to poor sleep quality.
Make Smart Changes to Your Workday
- Clear Your Schedule on the following Monday. If possible, try not to schedule any “heavy lifting” projects or meetings on Monday after to allow your mind and body to acclimate to the shift. Save any demanding tasks for later in the week.
- Refresh your to-do lists—don’t be afraid to hit “delete.” Take a critical look at your running to-do list and remove those tasks or projects that have gone stale or haven’t progressed in the last weeks. Keep your drive by refocusing your energy on what’s fresh and relevant.
Tip: Apps like Microsoft To Do make task management easy and simple. It lets you prioritize each to-do, track its progress, add due dates, and set reminders to keep yourself accountable.
- Batch your tasks into time blocks. Time blocking is designed to keep you focused and guarded against distractions by scheduling certain times of the day for your highest-priority work down to your daily tasks.
Tip: Be Focused is a highly recommended app to help you get started. It lets you get things done by breaking up individual tasks among discrete intervals, separated by short breaks. From there, you can track your progress throughout the day, week, or any custom period to stay motivated and focused.
Take Breaks During the Day
- Get more sun. Expose yourself to sunlight by taking frequent walks throughout the day—ideally starting first thing in the morning. Soaking up vitamin D can improve your mood and decrease the chances of seasonal affective disorder.
- Save time for exercise. Vigorous exercise can release endorphins, and improve sleep quality, and fight fatigue.
- Take naps. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, taking for 15-20 minutes at a time can help ease the transition from Daylight Savings Time.
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