By Francine Parnes, ABCNews.com
to make your day more productive? Start watching your body clock.
Think of the
things in your life that don't run on time - trains, dentists,
your mother. Now think of the things that actually stick to their
prearranged schedules - ball games, The Sopranos.), happy
Where there's chaos, there's stress. Where there's order, there's
beer. So why should we tolerate workdays that feel as chaotic
as January at O'Hare? Because, between meetings, phone calls,
and surprise gorilla grams, it's almost impossible to stick to
your well-intended plan. But if you can follow these simple guidelines
throughout the day, the payoff will be huge less stress
and more energy, which means bigger raises and earlier quitting
times. No, we can't tell you how to do your job better. But your
TO DO THE HARDEST THING YOU'LL DO ALL DAY
periscope isn't the only thing to rise a couple of hours before
you wake up. The stress hormone cortisol does, too. And this change
increases your blood-sugar level, giving you the energy and momentum
to manage difficult situations effectively, says Norbert Myslinski,
Ph.D., an associate professor of neuroscience at the University
of Maryland. While too much cortisol can make you feel overwhelmed,
it's also what contributes to the "fight-or-flight" ability to
finish that project that's hanging over your head or to
storm in and ask for a raise. Bonus: The morning is also the time
when you're least likely to activate ulcers.
TO MAKE A PRESENTATION
the time of day when your voice is most rested. And by 9 or 10,
you've had a chance to drink some water; a good dose of hydration
will help eliminate early-morning raspiness. Avoid milk, though.
For some people, dairy products can increase mucus production,
says Dr. Clark A. Rosen, director of the University of Pittsburgh
voice center. Phlegm impresses first-graders, not the board.
2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
few hours to avoid back and shoulder tightness that comes from
hunching over a keyboard, says Keith Cinea of the National Strength
and Conditioning Association. Clasp your hands behind your back
and lift them straight up; hold for 10 seconds. This will open
your chest and relax your shoulders and back. To stretch your
glued-to-the-chair glutes, cross your left leg over your right,
resting your left ankle on your right knee. Bend forward at the
waist and hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Then switch legs and
repeat. Don't forget to close the door first.
TO MAKE MAJOR STRATEGIC DECISIONS
This is when
your body temperature is rising, your alertness is up, and your
brain's ability to process information is at its best, says Timothy
Monk, a psychiatry professor at the University of Pittsburgh's
sleep and chronobiology center. Most people also find they're
best at problem-solving around now. Scientists think your rise
in temperature may be what keeps your mind more aroused. And why
we keep asking for a transfer to Curacao.
TO MAKE YOUR MOVE ON THE NEW TALENT DOWN THE HALL
a coworker? Ask her out just before lunch when her mood
is likely to be best, says James Sniechowski, co-author of
The New Intimacy . "People are usually more receptive right
before they leave for lunch, because their minds aren't cluttered
with what they have to do that day or what they're planning to
do when they get home," Sniechowski says. Even if she responds
with "Cou- (loser) -gh," it won't bother you. Depression tends
to peak early in the day.
TO READ TEDIOUS REPORTS WITH LOTS OF NUMBERS IN THEM
is often a bit blurry in the early morning and sharpens over a
few hours, says Dr. Thomas Friberg, chief of retina services at
the University of Pittsburgh medical center.
Eat a handful
of nuts. The protein will increase your energy, and the fat will
keep you full until dinner. "You wouldn't drive your car to the
office with the 'empty' light flashing at you," says Jackie Berning,
a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "But that's
basically what you're doing to your body if you don't have a couple
of snacks throughout the day."
TO FIRE SOMEBODY
Even if you
have to ruin your employees' day, you don't have to ruin their
lives. Heart attacks are more likely to hit in the first three
hours after you wake up than at any other time, says Dr. Richard
Stein, a spokesman for the American Heart Association. So avoid
doing dirty work before 10 a.m. when stress can trigger
TO DRINK COFFEE OR TAKE A WALK
people rely on the caffeine method to jump-start their central
nervous systems in the morning, you can use it to get you through
the afternoon slump. Drink eight ounces of a caffeinated drink
about 30 minutes before a meeting and you'll feel more alert.
Sworn off the stuff? Take a brisk 15-minute walk around the halls.
It'll help restimulate the hormones associated with alertness,
says David Pearson, coordinator of the graduate program in exercise
science at Ball State University.
TO MAKE OR RETURN CALLS
that caffeine to kick in? Do mindless tasks (ones that won't get
you fired). Some person-to-person stimulation even over
the phone can help revive you enough so you can finish
the day strong, says Dr. Martin Moore-Ede, president of Circadian
Technologies in Lexington, Mass.
TO TEE OFF WITH CLIENTS
hand-eye coordination reaches optimal levels in the late afternoon,
says Lynne Lamberg, co-author of The Body Clock Guide to Better
Health . So put it to good use by squeezing in nine holes,
answering e-mail, or shattering your record in Quake III.
Coleman and Shannon Davis contributed to this report.
Reference Source 104