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Too Groggy to Spring Forward

For a those of us already sleep-deprived, daylight savings time can have a major impact on productivity.  Losing that hour by springing forward can take the spring right out of our focus and alertness.  In fact, studies have shown traffic accidents increase by 23% on the Monday after we set our clocks forward!  The best way to prevent these known productivity, safety and health hazards is allow our sleep schedules to gradually adjust in the week leading up to changing our clocks.  Life has a way of happening, so here are few tips to make Monday a bit better for the rest of us…

Get more exercise or fit in a nap

Even a short walk or a few stretches at your desk can boost mental focus.  Conversely, a 20 minute nap can boost alertness.  Research on pilots shows that a 26 minute nap in flight (thankfully while the co-pilot mans the controls) results in a 34% increase in performance and a 54% increase in overall alertness.

Reduce screen time before bed

Improve the quality of the sleep you do get by reducing screen time before bed.  Research shows that the blue light cast by our digital devices disturbs quality of sleep and leaves us groggy in the morning.  Sleep experts recommend we limit screen time for at least two hours before bed.  Also, say no to checking email before bed in order to drift off to sleep peacefully.  I learned this tip from a friend who practices law when he told me that “Nothing good comes from checking email after 9PM”!

Use these techniques to stay focused and avoid ‘cyber-loafing’

Change your phone from the brightly colorful distractor it is by enabling ‘grey-scale’ in your accessibility menu.  It’s a cheap way to make your phone very boring.   There are also great apps – Forest is my favorite – that create the cues and rewards we need to stay productive.

Set a timer to stay on task

The Pomodoro Method has been around for decades because it works.  I’ve found it’s a powerful way to get something (anything) done on the unfocused days.  Here’s a cute, short video that illustrates this technique perfectly.

Be safe and productive!  Let’s all get through this week and build the skills of productivity that benefit us year-around.