I don’t know about you, but when the 3:00 hour rolls around, I am pretty much worthless. My head bobs, my brain gets foggy, and I can hardly keep my eyes open.
For the last several weeks, I’ve been trying different strategies to defeat that afternoon slump. Some techniques have worked better than others, and today I want to share with you my favorites!
So without further ado, here are 10 quick fixes and 5 preemptive strategies to beating the afternoon slump.
The quick solutions
When you’ve been sitting in the same position and staring at your computer screen for hours, your body tends to tighten up and everything else seems to s.l.o.w. d.o.w.n. Spend a few minutes stretching to get your blood moving and your energy back.
2. Take a walk
If you find that stretching didn’t do the trick, physically get up and go for a brisk walk. Step outside if you can, and get some fresh air. If you’re stuck in the office, deliver a message to your co worker in person rather than sending it via email.
3. Have a walking meeting
Sticking with the theme of walking, try scheduling a walking meeting. If you know your crash time is between 3:00-4:00, ask your co-worker or boss to take your next meeting outside. It is an easy way to maintain your energy and get an added few minutes of exercise. Double win!
4. Beat the eyestrain
For those of you who work on a computer for much of the day, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I mention eyestrain. Your eyes feel tired, your head often aches, and it’s simply not very pleasant when you’re trying to check off your to do list. If you feel you’re battling this eyestrain by the mid afternoon, take 10 minutes to work on something else. Check your voicemails, straighten up your desk/office, anything that gets your eyes off of the screen. An additional tip – when you return to the computer, make sure that you are working about an arm’s length away from your screen to help prevent further strain.
5. Grab a snack.
Research recommends eating smaller meals every 4-ish hours for sustained energy. This means if lunch is at 12:00, you’re body is probably ready for that afternoon snack around 4:00. Keep a healthy, high-protein snack at your desk – a greek yogurt, a handful of almonds, string cheese, and reach for it when you feel your energy dwindling.
6. Keep hydrated
Similar to tip five, you need to stay hydrated to keep those energy levels up. Dehydration can lead to sleepiness, so keep that water bottle filled and by your side!
7. Smell some citrus
Essential oils are a big thing right now, and if you look at the different scents, you’ll notice that often times the “awake,” “rejuvenate,” or “energize” bottles contain some type of citrus. If you don’t have any essential oils, no worries. Simply peel an orange and give yourself a mental boost. Combine that with your high protein snack and consider the afternoon crushed.
8. Do something different
If you have been working on the same set of spreadsheets or reading the same book for several hours, it’s no wonder you’re feeling drained! Switch it up, tackle a new project, and give yourself a change of pace. This will give you a chance to clear your head and come back fresh.
9. Take a power nap
Sometimes no matter WHAT you do, your eyes simply will not stay open. When this is the case, stop fighting it. Put your head down and allow yourself to shut your eyes for 15-20 minutes (but that’s it!). According to Web MD, this quick catnap can recharge your batteries better than an afternoon cup of coffee.
10. Check in on your posture – or even try standing!
It is so easy to slouch at your desk (I just caught myself doing it right now). By simply pulling back your shoulders and keeping your head up, you’ll help bypass that afternoon drain. If sitting up straight isn’t enough, physically stand up out of your chair. I guarantee you’ll have a much harder time nodding off when you’re on your feet. (Have you seen these new standing desks? I’m looking into getting one!).
11. Good night’s sleep
Even though this one is a given, night after night so many of us don’t heed the advice (myself included!). Therefore, I think it’s worth repeating that getting enough sleep is critical to staying focused and energized throughout the day. Aim for 7-8 hours a night to really boost that productivity. (I’ll be working on this goal right alongside you!)
12. Know your schedule and work around it
If you know you are the most productive from 9:00-11:00 each morning, and your afternoon slump occurs between 3:00-4:00, plan accordingly. Schedule your most demanding projects for your morning slot, and the tasks that require a bit less focus during your down time. (I try and arrange my day so I can walk Bruno at 3:00.)
13. Avoid Sugar
While sugar provides a wonderful sudden burst of energy (and let’s face it – it tastes delish), it also leads very quickly to a sugar crash (we’ve all been there!) If you need a pick-me-up, reach for the high-protein, high-fiber foods instead. They will keep you going much longer throughout the day.
14. Eat breakfast EVERY DAY!
If you want to maintain your energy throughout the day, start it off right with a good breakfast. I know there are many people who aren’t hungry when they first wake up – I am one of them. So no, I’m not saying you have to roll out of bed and go eat a giant omelet. You should however, listen to your body, and eat a healthy breakfast when you’re ready. It will get you going on the right foot.
15. Eat a balanced lunch
Just like breakfast, it is very important that you don’t skip lunch; I don’t care how busy you are. If you don’t keep your body fueled throughout the day, or you fill it with M&Ms from the vending machine, you’re setting yourself up for a major afternoon crash. Aim for a protein-rich meal (do you see a protein pattern here?) that doesn’t leave you uncomfortably full. This will keep you functioning at your very best.
So that’s it, friends! 15 easy tricks to beat that dreaded afternoon slump.
Want a handy-dandy reminder sheet to keep by your desk when the slump strikes? Click here and get your FREE copy!
What are your tricks for boosting your afternoon energy? Do you have an afternoon slump? Have you ever tried a standing desk? Let me know below!