Have you experienced a productivity slump at work? It’s like clockwork – you don’t even need to look at the time.
Your body knows it’s around 3 p.m. because, despite your best efforts to stay productive at work, you’ve begun to nod off in your cubicle again. You sure can’t focus on that project until you’ve dragged yourself to the kitchen in desperate pursuit of caffeine – whether your poison is coffee, Diet Coke or a little dark chocolate.
It’s OK, you’re not the only one. Your co-workers – and probably even your supervisors – likely experience the same thing. However, you can stay strong and prosper at work by avoiding the dreaded productivity slump altogether by stumping the productivity slump before it starts.
Here are a few quick and dirty tips for staying sharp at the office, even after that large, carbohydrate-filled luncheon.
Get a Move On
Instead of going out to eat during your lunch break, consider trying a midday exercise routine. You can join a local gym that will give you the opportunity to do a quick cardio circuit with just enough time to squeeze in a shower, too.
Don’t want to spend money on a gym? Then it’s a good thing there’s deskercise. That’s right, you can perform many stamina-building exercises right at your own desk.
Whichever form you choose, your health and productivity – not to mention your waistline – will thank you for it.
Manage Your Time
You’ve worked at your job for long enough to know exactly when the slump will descend upon you. Why not schedule your most difficult tasks for the morning and save the easier ones for later – or vice versa if you peak in the afternoon?
By accomplishing your most mentally taxing activities during the time you know you’re most productive, you can avoid procrastination during the workday.
Pump up the Jam
Listening to your favorite tunes in the office is another great way to boost your overall productivity.
Whether your style includes upbeat, fast-paced jams, or maybe a little classical or folk to soothe your mind, plug in your headphones and turn up the music to stay mentally alert.
By just tuning your radio, you can also tune out those pesky workplace distractions, like water-cooler gossip that can interfere with your focus.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Maybe the reason you feel sluggish is simply because you’re not drinking enough water.
Since water makes up most of your body, even slight dehydration takes a toll on your heart and lungs, creating a source of fatigue.
If you want to stay energized throughout the workday, follow nutritional guidelines and force yourself to drink those eight glasses a day.
Cut Back on Caffeine
Speaking of hydration or lack thereof, consider cutting back on your caffeine intake.
You don’t have to ditch your morning coffee ritual altogether, but if you consume too much caffeine, your beverage could actually have a reverse energy effect and make you feel sleepy.
Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it causes your body to lose water. As a result, caffeine reduces your body’s oxygen flow, which can produce sluggishness when taken in high quantities.
Go Play in the Sun
Up to three-quarters of Americans suffer from a deficiency in vitamin D, a natural, energy-boosting hormone derived from sunlight. If you’re one to shirk the sun, you may have found another reason why you feel so tired at work.
Recent evidence has pointed to additional health benefits of sunlight, even beyond production of vitamin D. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can boost your energy through the release of endorphins, help regulate your body’s natural melatonin and even protect against certain diseases.
Take a few minutes during the workday to step outside and soak up the rays. Just don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen.
Evaluate Your Sleep
What if you’ve read these tips and can’t help but think you’ve done everything right?
After all, you exercise outdoors every day, never forget your water bottle, always have your headphones on and don’t even drink coffee. Plus, you’re a time-management extraordinaire.
Maybe there’s another factor at play – your sleep patterns. You could be one of the approximately three-quarters of Americans who don’t get enough sleep.
While the exact number of hours you should aim for is often up for debate, most experts still recommend about eight hours of sleep per night – but the average American sleeps for less than seven. Sleep deprivation can harm more than just your work productivity – it can also have implications for your physical and mental health.
Make sure to catch some Zs tonight if you want to be more productive in the workplace. You’ll also reap the benefits of better health and happiness. That’s something to work toward.
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