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7 Ways to Energize Your Afternoon

Tuesday March 15th, 2016

Estimated time to read: 3 minutes

It’s no secret that mornings are more productive than afternoons. When employees begin their workdays feeling refreshed from a night’s sleep, they typically have better productivity than when they return to work after lunch. Follow these seven tips to help energize your afternoons so that productivity doesn’t have to suffer.

Stop and Stretch

As the day progresses, your muscles and joints begin to tire, causing you to be fidgety or unable to focus on the tasks at hand. Although you may have just returned from lunch, it is helpful to stretch before returning to your desk. If you are able to take a few moments to do yoga and meditate, you will see an increase in productivity as well.

Intermittently throughout the day, take a short break and walk around. When you change your view, it helps to refocus your brain. In the morning, it may be easy to work through projects with hours passing quickly because your mind and body are rested from the night before. By the afternoon, the physical and emotional toll seem to catch up with our bodies, especially as thoughts of our afternoon commutes and dinner plans creep in, interrupting our work focus.

Work in Natural Light

It’s best to work in natural light at all times of day, but changing to natural light in the afternoon will energize your body once more. Before artificial light was created, natural light dictated the body’s rhythm. Switching to working in natural light helps to reset your internal clock and realign your focus.

Prolonged work in natural light may also lead to a better circadian rhythm and deeper sleep at night. While many offices do not have enough natural light, frequent outdoor breaks may suffice. If you are given the chance to work in natural light for a portion of your day, try to work on projects that do not involve a computer or electronic device, because the blue light may offset your focus.

Listen to Music

The style of music is up to you, but listening to music that energizes you is a must when the sleep afternoon feeling hits. Some find that quiet classical music playing in the background assists with focus, while others may fall asleep to the sound. If you’re not one who can focus while listening to music, listen to an upbeat playlist during your intermittent breaks to get you motivated again.

If your afternoon tasks are repetitive, music may make them feel more enjoyable and less mundane. If your task is creative in nature, ambient noise will hit the sweet spot. Lyrics may be too distracting, but soft background music will get the creative juices flowing without distraction.

Drink Something Naturally Energizing

Put down the coffee and sip something naturally energizing that won’t disrupt your sleep cycle. Green tea is a popular option, but if caffeine disrupts your circadian rhythm, try something caffeine-free.

When we get busy, we may forget about drinking the necessary amount of water each day. However, hydration helps keep the brain more focused, encouraging better productivity. Drink a tall glass of water with lemon or other fruit to energize your mind while hydrating your body. As lemon juice enters your digestive tract, it can also help reduce anxiety and stress.

Use the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique will take your productivity to another level. Working in 25 minute increments helps you to focus on the task at hand. After 25 minutes, take a break to stretch, listen to music or eat a healthy snack. Return to work for another 25 minutes. After a few 25 minute work periods, take a 15 minute rest.

Set a timer for 25 minutes or download a Pomodoro app on your smartphone. If the 25 minute interrupts a productive work period, feel free to skip it and work for another 25 minutes before taking a 5-15 minute break.

Working in 25 minute stretches minimizes distraction and allows you to become engrossed in your project without leading to burnout.

Munch on Nuts

Almonds, walnuts and other nuts are great sources of protein. They also provide your body with good fats like omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts may also help correct serotonin levels, helping your mood and appetite in addition to waking you up.

Nuts also curb your appetite and stop you from picking up fast food on your commute home. A body nourished with natural and healthy food will always have more energy and be more productive than a body controlled by highs and crashes from artificial sweeteners and food.

Speak with a Mentor or Mastermind Group

Sometimes when we find our productivity stalled in the afternoon, it is because we think we are all out of ideas. After looking at a project or task all day, workers may feel overwhelmed and unable to see the big picture. Speaking with a mentor or mastermind group will aid in problem-solving.

Mastermind groups are invaluable in today’s workforce. Not only do they provide a place to cultivate creativity and ideas, but they work as a support system for many who may not work in a team setting.

It is possible to overcome the dreaded afternoon slump. With some planning and these natural techniques, employee productivity will continue throughout the day.