Biting your nails. Chewing with your mouth open. Speaking before you think. This is the kind of stuff we usually think about when we think of “bad habits.” But what about the bad habits that are hurting your performance at work? There’s a whole host of things many of us are guilty of doing every single day that research shows ends up really hurting our productivity. And the more aware you are of how these things are effecting your productivity, the more proactive you can be at taking responsibility for your choices.
1. Rushing in the morning
We all have those mornings where you’re rushing your morning routine and barely have time to brush your teeth before running out the door to make it to the office on time. It’s when the morning rush becomes a habit that there can be negative consequences to your sense of well binging and your overall productivity.
When you start off your day in a frenzied state of mind, you’re not giving your brain any time to decompress, reset, and prepare for the day. Instead, you’re pumping it with adrenaline first thing in the morning, which can cause you to crash later on.
If your mornings lack time and space to breathe, try waking up 10 – 30 minutes earlier and starting off with a quick meditation session. According to a 2012 study, people who mediated “stayed on tasks longer and made fewer task switches, as well as reporting less negative feedback after task performance.”
2. Skipping Breakfast
Some people have never been able to skip breakfast, but there are plenty of people who do. Whether you blame it on being to rushed or just not feeling hungry, eating a well-rounded breakfast just isn’t a priority for a lot of people.
But it should be. Why? Because, technically, when you’re sleeping, you’re fasting – meaning you wake up with low blood sugar. That low blood sugar is exactly why many of us feel tired, apathetic, and even a little irritable first thing in the mornings. It’s not you; it’s your inherent need for the sustenance that, you know, keeps you up and running as a human.
What about replacing food with coffee? Sure, the caffeine rush from you morning coffee can help hide the symptoms of low blood sugar, but it won’t satisfy your need for food. In fact, it’ll likely cause you to crash later in the day, which can really harm your productivity.
Prioritizing a healthy breakfast is a ley to boosting productivity for the rest of the day. Try health breakfast foods that have the fibre, protein, vitamins and the minerals that will give you energy. Food rich in Vitamin B – like oatmeal, bananas, pineapple, and avocados can help improve your concentration. Avoid breakfast foods with added sugar like sugary cereal, donuts, Pop Tarts and even bagels.
3. Tackling the easy stuff first
It can be very tempting to get all the easy tasks out of the way first before tackling the tough stuff. This is especially true when you’re dreading that challenging task. You push it further and further down your to-do list……..until you’ve left it untouched for days or even weeks.
But tackling the most difficult tasks on your to-do list early on in the day is actually better for your overall productivity. Researchers have found that willpower is a finite resource that steadily decreases throughout the day, according to the book The Willpower Instinct. So your brain is much better at handling the hardest tasks at the beginning of the day when you’re more focused.
Morning also tend to lend fewer distractions, making it easier for you to get things done. So take advantage of morning hours to crank though meaty project without distractions, and save any calls or virtual meetings for the afternoon. Creating a to-do list is the easiest way to prioritize tasks effectively.
1. Checking and responding to emails as they come in
Email is supposed to help us do our work, not distract us from our work. So why does it always feel like a productivity suck?
In an effort to stay on top of a constantly overflowing inbox, it can be tempting to check and respond to every email as soon as it comes in. Receiving email notifications in real time certainly doesn’t help. But constantly switching tasks between work and email can really hurt your productivity.
To help you focus in chunks of time, turn off those pesky email alerts and limit checking your email to specified breaks.
Turn of alerts in Outlook: On the “Tools” menu, click “Options”. Open the “Preferences” tab and click “E-mail Options”, then “Advanced E-mail Options”. Under “When new items arrive in my inbox,” clear the “Display a New Mail Desktop Alert (default Inbox only) check box.
1. Checking Twitter, Facebook and your other social feeds
The whole “easily distracted” thing goes for social media notifications, too. Turns out we actually have a psychological urge to check for social media notifications, which makes it hard to check our News feeds “just this once” – and usually ends up in a lot of mindless browsing. “We are madly in love with distracting ourselves”.
2. Keeping you phone with you at work
Raise your hand if you have a small panic attack when you realize you don’t have your phone with you – whether you are sitting at your desk, attending a meeting, grabbing coffee ………heck, even going to the bathroom.
There’s a reason Blackberries were nicknamed “Crackberries” when they were popular: It’s because smartphones are probably the easiest distraction on the planet. And when you keep your phone with you are work you’re putting your productivity levels at risk.
There are a lot of different ways to curb your phone addiction. The simplest is to turn your phone on silent and put it away while you’re at work. In our industry it is not always possible to turn your phone off while at work as lot of business is conducted on cell phones. I.e. Staff on various sites only have cell phones etc.
- Black hole browsing
You know the feeling when you search for something on the internet, then click on a “related article” or other link……….and before you know it, you’ve charted the entire Russian Revolutions?
It’s a dangerous side effect of having a job that requires internet research. It’s one thing to mindlessly browse the web outside of work or when you’re on a break.
That’s why it’s called “black hole browsing”, and it’s become one of the most productivity-sucking psychological addiction out there.
You might feel like getting lost in the black hole is inevitable, but there are tools out there that can help you prevent it from happening. For example, StayFocused is a Google Chrome extension that breaks the black hole browsing cycle by blocking distracting websites after a set amount of times. You have a set amount of time to browse a certain website per day, and after that time expires, you’ll get this message in your browser.
- Working through your lunch break.
Eating at your desk doesn’t just make you antisocial, it’s also “bad for thinking, bad for creativity, bad for production, and bad for your body”. Sadly, though, only one in five people actually leave their desks or the office for a lunch break.
To be fair, if you’re among those who take lunch at your desk instead of taking a break, it may not be your fault. Perhaps it’s not built into your office culture, or maybe you have deadline that’s pressuring you into squeezing every waking moment out of your day.
But research shows taking the midday break can be mentally rejuvenating – and, in many ways, more productive than plugging away at your desk between mouthfuls. The best way to take a lunch break is to remove yourself from your desk or workplace and eat somewhere else – like a canteen, restaurant or public park. Better yet, build your network at work by eating with a colleague.
2. Not listening (Like, really listening)
One of the sad consequences of being constantly distracted is the epidemic of only half paying attention – and thinking that’s okay. You might think that any time someone else is talking and you’re not that means you’re listening. The real question is who are you listening to when someone else is talking. I am willing to bet a good portion of the time, you are actually listening to the voice in your head.
That, or you’re reading that email that just came in. Or checking to see why your phone buzzed. When you’re in a meeting, how much can you really be paying attention when your laptop is open?
Not only can not listening carefully cost you relationships, it can also cost you in the time it takes to make up for whatever information you missed. Becoming an active listener is a critical part of becoming more emotionally intelligent. This means really, truly paying attention to what people are saying – and it’s a skill that will set you apart in both your professional and personal life.
3. Saying “Yes” to every meeting
Being “in the zone” is when you lose yourself in whatever you are doing – so much so that you lose track of time. It’s one of the keys to both happiness and productivity at work.
Nothing disrupts that flow like a meeting. Especially an unnecessary one. It turns out that the average person wastes 31 hours in meeting per month. These unnecessary meetings are ones where you or the organiser isn’t prepared, you didn’t really need to be there, and so one.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Be sure to only attend meetings you actually need to attend.
- If you’re the one calling the meeting, send invitees a note, description, or some heads up along with your calendar invitation. This will give them and idea of why they were invited or need to be there.
- Schedule meetings in bulk if you can. This is a strategic way to ensure the time you do have outside of meetings is spend a productively as possible, since it takes people an average of 25 minutes to refocus after switching tasks.
Speaking of which…………
Multitasking can seem inevitable in our modern, even-connected lifestyles.
Think you’re an exception? Consider this: Only 2% of the population is capable of effectively multitasking. For the other 98%, all it does is cause us to be 40% less productive and make 50% more mistakes than non-multitaskers.
Remember that bad habit of not listening? People do that a lot during meetings when they try to multitask – whether it’s reading and responding to emails and messages, scrolling through their Twitter feeds, or something else. In fact, 92% of professionals admit to multitasking during meeting, and 41% admit to doing it often or all the time.
Getting out of the habit of multitasking is difficult, but certainly doable. Removing notifications from your work computer and putting away your cell phone are two great ways to start. Other ideas include establishing a no-laptop rule for meetings, using the Pomodoro Technique (when you work in sprints in a way that complements the body’s natural ultradian rhythm), and planning your day in block that include built-in breaks.
1. Playing with your phone before bed.
Have you ever lay in bed with the lights off and spent a few minutes scrolling through your phone to respond to last-minute texts and emails, check your Facebook feed, or scroll through Instagram? Now, raise your hand if those few minutes have ever turned into half an hour, forty-five minutes, or even an hour.
Imagine how much more sleep you could’ve gotten that night if you’d simply gone to bed when you first turned the lights off.
But it’s not just about the amount of sleep – it’s also about quality of sleep. Studies have shown that who gaze at a backlit screen right before bed actually report having lower-quality sleep – even when they get just as much as someone who didn’t look at their electronics before bed. This is because presence and absence of light tell our brains whether or not they should release the sleep hormone melatonin that makes you tired. Because the LED lighting emitted by the screens on our electronic devises is so similar to daylight, it can trick the brain into thinking its daytime, causing us to stay awake for longer.
The best way to break this habit? Buy an alarm clock that’s not you phone, and charge your phone in a separate room so you can avoid the temptation of checking it altogether. If you’re worried about missing and emergency call, then try sending those last-minute tests 30 – 60 minutes before you hit the hay. It will mean you get more sleep and higher quality sleep, leading you to operate at peak productivity the following day.
Friday specials for June
3rd – Swedish pasta
10th – Steak Nachos
17th – Port Prawn Special
24th – Bacon Sandwich
Don’t miss out!!!
Wow!! We are already in the middle of the year! I can’t believe how time flies.
The G-Spot is grateful for all our customers that are coming in to enjoy our beautiful atmosphere, thank you for all the compliments on our food and service. It’s great to see that everyone enjoys coming to the G-spot pub & Diner to let their hair down and enjoy themselves.
Winter is coming!! Be on the lookout for our surprise winter soup specials.
The Ja Bru’s are very happy to have new Ja Bru members; our Ja Bru evenings are becoming more and more interesting with every drink. There are laughs, jokes and bonding together as a family.
G-spot would like some suggestions on our drink champion that will be coming soon, if anyone can think of ideas please E-mail myself or Taylea.
G- Spot would like that thank CREC Managers for supporting us on Saturday 28th May 2016, we had a lovely turn out, thanks to Mike Van Winkel for doing the Lamb on the spit – we really appreciate it.
G SPOT PUB & DINER
The common saying of “East, West, home is Best” (and in this case North) came into play last week when we were asked by an existing customer to come up to Joburg and landscape his garden and then added on his brother’s garden too. Well, we loaded up the trucks on Sunday and hit the road on Monday. The staff were beyond exited as some of them had never been to Joburg. To cut a long story short, we completed the task at hand and had so many people stopping and complimenting us that we are now going to have to return for more work. A great thanks to my staff for your hard work, you made me very proud.
The Cato gardens also got a new addition, with compliments from Arnfred. Attached are the before and after of the living/upcycled patio suite.
Our next Open Day will be Sunday, 5th June from 9 to 2.
The Arnfred Team
In Other News
Birthdays June – Happy Birthday to the following people:
9TH – ROXY ROUX
15TH – DYTLIFT
17TH – WIMPIE
26TH – ANDRE GROBLER
27TH –KOOS TIER
29TH – WESLEY JONES
Health Benefits of Kale
While not as well researched as some of its fellow cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cabbage, kale is a food that you can count on for some unsurpassed health benefits, if for no other reason than its exceptional nutrient richness.
The beautiful leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavour and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around. Although it can be found in markets throughout the year, it is in season from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring when it has a sweeter taste and is more widely available.
Kale is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, a group of vegetables including cabbage, collards, and Brussels sprouts that have gained recent widespread attention due to their health-promoting, sulphur-containing
phytonutrients. It is easy to grow and can grow in colder temperatures where a light frost will produce especially sweet kale leaves. There are several varieties of kale; these include curly kale, ornamental kale, and dinosaur (or Lacinato or Tuscan) kale, all of which differ in taste, texture, and appearance. The scientific name for kale is Brassica oleracea.
Curly kale has ruffled leaves and a fibrous stalk and is usually deep green in colour. It has a lively pungent flavour with delicious bitter peppery qualities.
Ornamental kale is a more recently cultivated species that is oftentimes referred to as salad savoy. Its leaves may either be green, white, or purple and its stalks coalesce to form a loosely knit head. Ornamental kale has a more mellow flavour and tender texture.
Dinosaur kale is the common name for the kale variety known as Lacinato or Tuscan kale. It features dark blue-green leaves that have an embossed texture. It has a slightly sweeter and more delicate taste than curly kale.
Like broccoli, cauliflower, and collards, kale is a descendent of the wild cabbage, a plant thought to have originated in Asia Minor and to have been brought to Europe around 600 B.C. by groups of Celtic wanderers. Curly kale played an important role in early European food ways, having been a significant crop during ancient Roman times and a popular vegetable eaten by peasants in the Middle Ages. English settlers brought kale to the United States in the 17th century.
Both ornamental and dinosaur kale are much more recent varieties. Dinosaur kale was discovered in Italy in the late 19th century. Ornamental kale, originally a decorative garden plant, is now better known by the name salad savoy.
Antioxidant-Related Health Benefits
Like most of its fellow cruciferous vegetables, kale has been studied more extensively in relationship to cancer than any other health condition. This research focus makes perfect sense.
Kale’s nutrient richness stands out in three particular areas: (1) antioxidant nutrients, (2) anti-inflammatory nutrients, and (3) anti-cancer nutrients in the form of glucosinolates.
Without sufficient intake of antioxidants, our oxygen metabolism can become compromised, and we can experience a metabolic problem called “oxidative stress.”
Without sufficient intake of anti-inflammatory nutrients, regulation of our inflammatory system can become compromised, and we can experience the problem of chronic inflammation. Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation—and the combination of these metabolic problems—are risk factors for development of cancer. We’ve seen research studies on 5 specific types of cancer—including bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer—and intake of cruciferous vegetables (specifically including kale). As a group, these studies definitely show cancer preventive benefits from kale intake, and in some cases, treatment benefits as well.
Kale’s cancer preventive benefits have been clearly linked to its unusual concentration of two types of antioxidants, namely, carotenoids and flavonoids. Within the carotenoids, lutein and beta-carotene are standout antioxidants in kale. Researchers have actually followed the passage of these two carotenoids in kale from the human digestive tract up into the blood stream, and they have demonstrated the ability of kale to raise blood levels of these carotenoid nutrients. That finding is important because lutein and beta-carotene are key nutrients in the protection of our body from oxidative stress and health problems related to oxidative stress. Increased risk of cataracts, atherosclerosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are three such problems. Also among these chronic health problems is cancer since our overall risk of cells becoming cancerous is partly related to oxidative stress.
Within the flavonoids, kaempferol is a spotlight antioxidant in kale, followed by a flavonoid called quercitin. But recent research has also made it clear that at least 45 different antioxidant flavonoids are provided in measurable amounts by kale. This broad spectrum of flavonoid antioxidants is likely to be a key to kale’s cancer-preventive benefits and benefits that we expect to be documented for other health problems stemming from oxidative stress.
Anti-Inflammatory Health Benefits
We have yet to see research on kale’s omega-3 content and inflammation, but we would expect this kind of research to show the omega-3s in kale to be an important part of kale’s anti-inflammatory benefits. It only takes 100 calories of kale to provide over 350 milligrams for the most basic omega-3 fatty acid (alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA). We suspect that this amount will be plenty to show direct anti-inflammatory benefits from routine kale intake.
We also have yet to see specific research on inflammation and kale’s vitamin K content. But we know that kale is a spectacular source of vitamin K (one cup of kale provides far more micrograms of vitamin K than any of our World’s Healthiest foods) and we also know that vitamin K is a key nutrient for helping regulate our body’s inflammatory process. Taken in combination, we expect these two facts about vitamin K to eventually get tied together in health research that shows kale to be an exceptional food for lowering our risk of chronic inflammation and associated health problems.
Glucosinolates and Cancer-Preventive Benefits
What we have already seen in the health research on kale is ample evidence that its glucosinolates provide cancer-preventive benefits. Kale is a top food source for at least four glucosinolates, and once kale is eaten and digested, these glucosinolates can be converted by the body into cancer preventive compounds. Kale’s glucosinolates and the ITCs made from them have well-documented cancer preventive properties, and in some cases, cancer treatment properties as well. At the top of the cancer-related research for kale are colon cancer and breast cancer, but risk of bladder cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer have all been found to decrease in relationship to routine intake of kale. The chart below presents a summary of the unusual glucosinlate phytonutrients found in kale, and the anti-cancer ITCs made from them inside the body
You can count on kale to provide valuable cardiovascular support in terms of its cholesterol-lowering ability. Researchers now understand exactly how this support process works. Our liver uses cholesterol as a basic building block to product bile acids. Bile acids are specialized molecules that aid in the digestion and absorption of fat through a process called emulsification. These molecules are typically stored in fluid form in our gall bladder, and when we eat a fat-containing meal, they get released into the intestine where they help ready the fat for interaction with enzymes and eventual absorption up into the body. When we eat kale, fibre-related nutrients in this cruciferous vegetable bind together with some of the bile acids in the intestine in such a way that they simply stay inside the intestine and pass out of our body in a bowel movement, rather than getting absorbed along with the fat they have emulsified. When this happens, our liver needs to replace the lost bile acids by drawing upon our existing supply of cholesterol, and, as a result, our cholesterol level drops down. Kale provides us with this cholesterol-lowering benefit whether it is raw or cooked. However, a recent study has shown that the cholesterol-lowering ability of raw kale improves significantly when it is steamed. In fact, when the cholesterol-lowering ability of steamed kale was compared with the cholesterol-lowering ability of the prescription drug cholestyramine (a medication that is taken for the purpose of lowering cholesterol), kale bound 42% as many bile acids (based on a standard of comparison involving total dietary fibre). Amongst all of the cruciferous vegetables, only collard greens scored higher at 46%.
Other Health-Related Benefits
Kale has a definite role to play in support of the body’s detoxification processes. The isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from kale’s glucosinolates have been shown to help regulate detox activities in our cells. Most toxins that pose a risk to our body must be detoxified by our cells using a two-step process. The two steps in the process are called Phase I detoxification and Phase II detoxification. The ITCs made from kale’s glucosinolates have been shown to favourably modify both detox steps (Phase I and Phase II). In addition, the unusually large numbers of sulphur compounds in kale have been shown to help support aspects of Phase II detoxification that require the presence of sulphur. By supporting both aspects of our cellular detox process (Phase I and Phase II), nutrients in kale can give our body an “edge up” in dealing with toxic exposure, whether from our environment or from our food.
We have yet to see studies that look directly at kale and its support for our digestive system. However, we have seen studies for kale’s fellow cruciferous vegetable—broccoli—in this regard, and we definitely expect to see future research that looks directly at kale and our digestive function. We predict that one area of digestive support provided by kale will turn out to involve fibre. We feel that 7 grams of fibre per 100 calories of kale is just too much fibre to fail in the digestive benefits category. We predict that a second area of digestive benefits will involve kale’s glucosinolates. The ITCs make from kale’s glucosinolates should help protect our stomach lining from bacterial overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori and should help avoid too much clinging by this bacterium to our stomach wall.
How to Select and Store
Look for kale with firm, deeply coloured leaves and moist hardy stems. Kale should be displayed in a cool environment since warm temperatures will cause it to wilt and will negatively affect its flavour. The leaves should look fresh, be unwilted, and be free from signs of browning, yellowing, and small holes. Choose kale with smaller-sized leaves since these will be tenderer and have a more mild flavour than those with larger leaves. Kale is available throughout the year, although it is more widely available, and at its peak, from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring.
To store, place kale in a plastic storage bag removing as much of the air from the bag as possible. Store in the refrigerator where it will keep for 5 days. The longer it is stored, the more bitter its flavour becomes. Do not wash kale before storing because exposure to water encourages spoilage.
Tips for Preparing and Cooking
Tips for Preparing Kale
Rinse kale leaves under cold running water. Chop leaf portion into 1/2″ slices and the stems into 1/4″ lengths for quick and even cooking.
To get the most health benefits from kale, let sit for a minimum of 5 minutes before cooking. Sprinkling with lemon juice before letting them sit can further enhance its beneficial phytonutrient concentration.
The Healthiest Way of Cooking Kale
We recommend Healthy Steaming kale for maximum nutrition and flavour. Fill the bottom of a steamer pot with 2 inches of water. While waiting for the water to come to a rapid boil chop greens. Steam for 5 minutes and toss with a Mediterranean Dressing and top with your favourite optional ingredients.
How to Enjoy
A Few Quick Serving Ideas
- Braise chopped kale and apples. Before serving, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and chopped walnuts.
- Combine chopped kale, pine nuts, and feta cheese with whole grain pasta drizzled with olive oil.
Whole-Wheat Pasta with Kale and Roast Chicken
- 8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
- 3 cups
- 1 (15-oz) can low-sodium
- chickpeas or white beans,
- drained and rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
1. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 3 TBSP cooking liquid;
2 . In large skillet, heat rest of ingredients, stirring, until very hot.
3. Toss in the pasta and cooking liquid.
The next edition of our news will be published on Thursday 30th June 2016