What comes to mind when you think of a power lunch? I think of a swank restaurant filled with corporate executives meeting their three martini quotas. Very Mad Men. Very 1960s.
The power lunch of today often takes place in your car. Going through the drive-thru to grab whatever you can, driving back to the office or your next client visit with one knee so you can eat with both hands. Or it happens at your desk, quickly gulping down food distractedly while still trying to get work done. Neither one of these scenarios is conducive to afternoon performance and productivity.
To keep your afternoon energy levels high, here are six simple strategies to create a real power lunch:
Do a belly scan. As you're eating lunch, pause a couple of times, do a "scan" of how your stomach's feeling, and ask yourself one question: Will this amount of food keep me satisfied for about the next three hours? If the answer is no, take a few more bites. If the answer is yes, stop eating. Nothing kills afternoon energy and productivity like a food coma! You're tired, bloated and want nothing more than a nap, but you're stuck in a two-hour afternoon meeting. And it's warm in there. And your eyelids are getting very heavy...
Anchor your plate. A good source of lean protein at a meal slows down the release of energy into your bloodstream, which means you'll have more consistent levels of energy throughout the afternoon. Without protein you're more likely to experience a short spike in energy followed by a debilitating crash that will leave you asleep under your desk.
Change the channel. Instead of working through lunch, take a few minutes to get some mental recovery. Surf the web for a few minutes, talk to a co-worker about something non-work related, or make a short personal phone call. Giving yourself some downtime here and there will allow you to be more focused and productive over the course of your long day.
Have a quickie... with Mother Nature and get outside for a few minutes. Sunlight and fresh air are a great way to energize.
Take a power walk. Chances are you sit for a good part of the day. The longer you sit, the more tired you become. Get your blood and energy pumping by taking a short 5-10 minute walk during your lunch break. Go outside and walk around your building or stay inside and do a few flights of stairs.
Work out. If a short walk can energize you, think of what a full on workout can do! In addition to boosting your energy right after you're done, your metabolism continues at a faster pace for several HOURS after you're finished exercising. It's sure to get you through the afternoon slump.