6 SURPRISING WAYS TO GET AHEAD AT THE OFFICE
Drink Clear Liquor—Not Brown
When you're cocktailing with colleagues or hammering out a deal, opt for vodka. Research has shown that not only is the clear liquor one of the most effective types of alcohol for squashing stress but that it also causes the least physical fall-out. Brown liquors contain higher concentrations of congeners, by-products of fermentation that lead to rough mornings after. Beer and wine are worse: "They have too much yeast and sugar, which not only leads to bad hangovers but also tends to cause people to have cravings for dessert and snacks," explains Jeffrey Morrison, M.D., the author of Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind. "A vodka soda is the best drink to have. That or a shot of tequila."
Snack on Chia Seeds
From Wall Street's trading floors to the fast-paced PR offices of L.A., health-minded execs are scrapping their old stimulants (e.g., cocaine and energy shots) in favor of protein-rich chia seeds. Munching on them boosts energy, sharpens focus, and improves digestion, says Jeffrey Morrison, M.D. Chew chia seeds straight, mix a tablespoon or two into a protein shake or yogurt, or sprinkle them on a salad.
Sleep (Slightly) Less
Not logging eight hours of shut-eye every night? No problem—it's too much anyway. Try seven. "Anywhere from five hours to seven and a half hours is quite healthy," says Daniel Kripke, M.D., professor of psychiatry emeritus at the University of California, San Diego. That said, his research has shown that people who catch seven hours per night outlive those who log less or more. "As long as you're not sleepy when driving or falling asleep in meetings," he says, "there is no need to worry."
Pace Your Coffee
For your best performance, drink eight ounces of java 45 to 90 minutes pre-presentation. "It takes at least 20 minutes for caffeine to be absorbed, and effects peak about 25 to 70 minutes after that," says James Lane, Ph.D., director of Duke University Medical Center's Psychophysiology Laboratory.
Invoke a Power Pose
New research published in Psychological Science reveals that people who spend one to two minutes in a "power" pose increase their levels of testosterone and lower their levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In other words, they pump up your office mojo: "Because these poses prepare you physiologically and in turn psychologically for the task at hand, you will naturally come across as more confident and competent during your talk, even though you aren't posing," says study coauthor Andy Yap, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia Business School. The best ways to stand and deliver:
1) Strike the Superman pose, with your legs in a wide stance, hands on hips.
2) Sit with your legs stretched out, feet on your desk, hands clasped behind your head.
3) Stand with your legs wider than shoulder-width apart, arms raised in a V.
Network at the Gym
The days of brokering deals on the back nine are over—the smarter professionals are bonding with clients and colleagues at the gym. The so-called "sweat-working" trend has found fans among high achievers, like New York City hedge-fund portfolio manager Dan Gluck. "I have such a busy schedule that it is simply more efficient to combine exercise with work," says Gluck, who leads a weekly "CrossFit-meets-boot-camp workout" called Health Warrior Breakfast Club for his Wall Street pals. "And from a business perspective, I believe you develop a much stronger relationship and greater level of trust when you are pushed out of your comfort zone, rather than engaging in superficial conversation while eating a steak and drinking an overpriced bottle of wine." What's more, the fitness studio—be it doing TRX or spinning or yoga—can be a great place to find out what your colleagues are made of: "We're seeing more companies and businessmen having sales meetings at the gym, and even using the classes to foster a little fun competition among employees," says Amita Balla, the general manager of Crunch Fitness in Burbank, California, where real-estate moguls and movie-production-house staffs go to power-play. "Colleagues come in stressed and tense and leave happily exhausted."