If you're struggling to be more productive at work, the secret to unleashing more time and energy might lie in an unlikely place: your lunch.
So suggests author Sarah DiGiulio in an article for NBC News. According to surveys, somewhere between one in every six and one in every three adults eats the same lunch every day. And while that might sound really boring to some, it also could be really smart, according to DiGiulio, who says packing the same brown-bag lunch every day has some demonstrable benefits for anyone who's looking to increase productivity.
For one, it's easy on your brain. "The fewer decisions you need to make on days when you want to be most productive the better," DiGiulio says. "Studies show, for example, that having to make decisions throughout the day tends to decrease our physical stamina, reduce our ability to persist in the face of failure, makes us procrastinate more and decrease our ability to accurately make arithmetic calculations. It comes down to decision fatigue."
Simply put: When you already know what you're eating for lunch, that's one less decision you have to make, which lets your brain focus on other tasks.
Another benefit of routine lunches is that they tend to be more nourishing. "Planning ahead … means you can make those decisions about your food choices at a moment when you're more likely to make a decision that's more aligned with your overall eating goals," DiGiulio explains. "Having a lunchtime plan … lessens the chances you'll make a poor, impulsive or emotional decision when it comes to what's for lunch."
In other words, productivity requires fuel, and when you plan your lunch with your brain instead of your belly, you're more likely to get the fuel you need.
For optimal nutrition, though, make sure you're mixing things up at breakfast and dinner. "Eating the same lunch every day can … be healthy, as long as you're eating a variety of other healthy foods throughout the rest of the day," DiGiulio concludes.
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