Last weekend as William and I were heading back to our chalets after lunch, I was ranting about how I was dreading to get any work done later in the afternoon.
I just wolfed down a huge serving of fried rice at lunch to compensate for the tiny chicken wing that came as a side dish. With such a carb-centric meal, I knew that the Afternoon Slump was inevitably coming for me and the drowsiness would hit me like a brick wall. The most infuriating thing is that it times itself perfectly and hits me right when I’ve taken my afternoon bath, prepared all my work essentials, and got ready to start a #productive session of work. That is exactly when I fall into the post-prandial dip.
And believe you me when I say that I’ve experimented with various methods throughout the years to hack this slump.
- Consuming caffeine to power through the slump
- Taking a quick nap (who am I kidding, this never fails to turn into a full-fledged 3-hour sleep)
- Taking a cold shower
While these methods do work on rare occasions, I’ve been on a quest to develop a reliable method to find a workaround this daily slump that gets in my way of becoming a Productivity Grease Monkey.
This is when William sold me on the idea of 'The Afternoon Slump Hack'.
💾 The Afternoon Slump Hack
This 'hack', in fact, has its roots in the very simple productivity concept of 'Parkinson’s Law'. Here is the central idea of this hack.
Do a timed task.
The Afternoon Slump not only makes us drowsy, but it also makes us lazy and more likely to procrastinate. The way to combat this vicious combination of drowsiness and laziness is to set a goal for ourselves to complete within a certain time period.
This hack fits seamlessly into the workflow for students. All we have to do is to complete a timed past year paper. In the morning, you can revise on a particular subject/topic; in the afternoon, test yourself what you’ve learned in the morning. To add to that, this method would effectively integrate 'Active Recall' into your workflow as well.
Although I find this hack useful, there are also times when I switch things up a bit. On some days, I have a list of To-Dos that I have to get done by evening and this works as a timed task. These are usually non-academic work but are still part of my commitments (e.g. Website, Newsletter, Reports, Proposals, Minutes, etc). On other days when my energy reservoir is running a little low, I do the other tasks on my 'Productivity B-Roll'.
Don’t be rigid about it. Modify the hack to suit your needs.
Of course, remember to reward yourself after! Once you’ve done your task(s) for the afternoon, give yourself the evening off to do the things that you enjoy. You’ll probably find yourself more motivated to work tomorrow afternoon once you give yourself some gratification for putting in the work. Let the momentum build up day by day, and soon, you’ll find that you’ve self-conditioned yourself to do work in the afternoons that you used to hate so much!
Lastly, here are some of my personal 'nice to-haves' that will perhaps level up this hack for you as well!
- A steaming hot cup of coffee
- Some snacks to keep you engaged
- Cold environment (nothing makes my brain foggy like a warm room)
- Songs/Podcast/Audiobooks to listen to, depending on the task at hand
With that said, I hope that The Afternoon Slump Hack and my personal modifications to it added some value to your life in some shape, way, or form.
Have a great week ahead and see you in the next issue of Sunday Scoop!
- ✍️ Article - Here is my productivity guru, Ali Abdaal’s own twist on The Afternoon Slump Hack, in which he switched up his afternoon diet. Although I can how it can help to put a halt to the afternoon drowsiness but alas, my stomach will start a full-blown rebel if I ever dared to experiment with this method. However, it may help you out so feel free to give it a read!
- 📥 Newsletter - Last week, I signed up for the Finimize newsletter, which sends me a daily email that highlights the top 2 financial news of the day, completely for free! At any rate, they said that if you were to sign up using my referral link, I’ll 'earn some sweet swag'. No idea what that means but why don’t you help me find out? Click here.
What are some ways that you can hack your afternoon slump? If you have a way that works for you but I’m unaware of, feel free to fire an email my way at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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Forgot to include this in last week’s issue, but here you go!
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