Eating while working

Sometimes you have a lot of work to do. So rather than set aside 30 minutes or an hour to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you decide to eat while working.

While this makes you feel more efficient, the reality is that you’re actually being less efficient.

The first reason for this is that your train of thought while working is repeatedly interrupted by the bites of food that you eat. Although you don’t notice it, the back and forth between thinking about your work and placing food in your mouth causes a decline in the depth of your thoughts and hence your work output.

The second reason is that we’re not programmed to be fully efficient throughout the day. Instead, we have times of peak focus, followed by times of lower focus, and cycle through these states. By accepting your times of lower focus and eating at these times, you’re able to set the stage for a time of peak focus while also enjoying your food, without sacrificing efficiency.

Finally, many of our best ideas come when our minds feel free to be inefficient and just roam. In other words, what feels like inefficiency often ends up being more efficient than what feels like efficiency. Just like spending time in the shower, taking the time to just eat can be one of those times with low perceived and high actual efficiency.

Also published on Medium.