Note from Brad: In a previous post we shared advice on how to boost your productivity and achieve peak performance through getting better sleep. This post, by guest author Azalea Pena is not about getting more sleep, but what you can do to better your performance when the afternoon slumber hits. So get good and ready to be fully alert for that afternoon conference call by following one or more of Azalea’s tips. Now excuse me while I take the suggested power nap…
Everyone goes through the dreaded afternoon slump. It’s those last hours before work ends that prove to be the most challenging.
However, with the right approach, you can beat it and still keep your energy and good mood until the end of the work day.
So, what are some effective ways to cure yourself from the afternoon slump? Here you go:
1. Take a nap
The afternoon nap is also called the power nap and this is really effective in boosting your alertness and performance in the afternoon. The power nap should only last 15 to 20 minutes at most, if you nap more than that, you’ll feel more restless. Whether you work at home or in the office, find a way to take a power nap as this can really help you beat the afternoon slump.
2. Drink Coffee or Tea
Drinking tea or coffee in the afternoon will help you feel more alert. This is due to the caffeine content. Some people prefer to drink Coca Cola because of the caffeine, but this can be counterproductive because of its high sugar content as well. Make it a routine to drink a cup of coffee or tea in the mid-afternoon. It can be effective in killing those afternoon doldrums.
3. Avoid Sugar
In the afternoon, it is ideal that you avoid eating sugary treats or drinking sugary drinks. Foods and drinks high in sugar will leave you feeling worse than the feeling you started with. So if you’re tempted to eat those candies and chocolates or drink juices and sodas, wait until the work hours end.
4. Stand Up and Walk
You’ve been sitting for hours and hours and even when you were eating, you were sitting down too. It’s time to get up and take a walk. Walk around your office and allow your body to circulate blood better. If you’re working from home, take a break and do a light chore to keep the body physically moving. This will prevent your body from feeling down and slump.
5. Eat the Right Afternoon Snack
What you eat in the afternoon can really make or break your energy levels. Avoid carbohydrates that can drain your energy like bread and pasta. Opt for green salads instead. Also, eat snacks with fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates like whole-grain crackers.
6. Use the right tools
Sometimes, our lack of productivity in the afternoon is a result of not having any well-tested productivity tools at our disposal. For instance, where do you keep your to-do list? Or your projects list?
Looking into some of the possibilities is always a good idea.
7. Do Group Activities
Organizing group activities during the mid-afternoon can really help beat that afternoon slump. Best of all, you can do it all together. Doing group activities can improve concentration and focus. The social interaction and fun can really up the mood and energy.
8. Do Exercises
Physical activity helps beat the afternoon slump, which is why the previous tips advise you to go for a walk and engage in group activities. Allot 5 to 10 minutes of your time each day to perform exercises. Isometric exercises are the easiest to do. You just have to tense a muscle group and hold it for 5 to 10 seconds. You can do this with your arms, legs, calves, abdomen, shoulder, chest and back. When you’re physically alert, your mind will be alert too.
9. Go Outside
Many employees feel lazy to go outside the building to eat their lunch or snacks. The thing is, exposing yourself to daylight for at least 10 minutes in the afternoon can keep down the amount of melatonin (ep hormone) in your body. So, it is ideal that you go outside, feel the heat and let the sun shine on your skin. While outside, you can take a walk after eating too.
10. Set Your Goals and Rewards
When you’re motivated and inspired, you will feel more energized to complete your work. This is a mindset you have to apply on your own. Set your own goals and reward yourself after a job well done. Any reward will do, anything that you can look forward to after you finish work should help you keep your eye on the prize during the afternoon slump.
The afternoon slump will be persistent and ruthless. It is up to you to arm yourself and not give in. Good luck!
About the Author…
Azalea Pena is a seasoned, passionate writer. She is interested in action movies, mixed martial arts, volleyball, nutrition, and harnessing positive vibes for a balanced lifestyle.
Featured photo of the tired lion via Flickr: Tambaku the Jaguar