The United States Department of Labor has released statistics indicating that productivity at work is up and employment is down. That means that fewer people are in the workplace, but now they have to work harder and longer! No wonder so many people are always tired and gulping down coffee and energy drinks. Since there is only 24 hours in a day you not only have to maintain more productivity at work, but also maintain the energy to do so. It is also important to stay happy – otherwise you will drag yourself down and end up a grumpy Grinch, and affect other people along the way.

We have all experienced the afternoon lull. The after-lunch coma. The 3 o’clock slump. The best thing to do is to get plenty of sleep the night before, but sometimes it is hard to follow through. Maybe you had to finish up work late last night. Or you could not fall asleep, staring at the ceiling for hours. hatever the reason, we have all suffered the consequences from the night before, affecting our productivity at work the next day, and it sucks. The demands of work are keeping people so busy these days, sometimes we forget the simple things that make us feel energized. I have compiled a list of 5 ways to help you energize or re-energize and get through the work day at times like these.

  1. Eat Healthy –Ever notice how a big, heavy meal makes you want to curl up in the fetal position and knock out for an hour or so? When you are too full, all your body’s energy goes into digesting the meal, hence the after-lunch coma. Take a different approach and look at lunch as fuel for your afternoon in the office. Good energy comes from good, healthy fuel. Also, packing your lunch gives you more time to have productivity at work. You won’t waste time driving to and from a restaurant. Power Nap – Taking a 20 minute nap can make a whole world of difference. Of course you do not want your boss to see you sleeping on the job, but studies have shown that a brief power nap can help revitalize you for the whole day. A nap can improve creativity, your memory, productivity at work, and your ability to stay focused. Naps will super-charge your productivity at work! No wonder Google is so brilliant – Nap pods. Taking your nap at the wrong time of day can throw off your circadian rhythms, but if you keep it between 1:00 and 3:00 PM you will not screw up your sleep schedule.
  2. Funny Time – Not only is taking a nap break important, but taking a break from work and all the seriousness that comes with it is also encouraged. Take a 15 minute joke break. Endorphins are created when you are happy and are a natural energizer. Grab a few co-workers and have a laugh. It will lighten the mood and make everyone feel good about the rest of the day. Try doing this around 2:00-3:00 PM, when the afternoon lull is about to roll in.
  3. Get Moving – Get up and move! Stretch, breathe, and go for a brisk walk to feel refreshed and awake. Stretching and twisting your body can help improve blood circulation, which helps keep you alert and awake. Getting up from the chair and computer can rejuvenate your body and your mind. Go for an afternoon stroll outside. 15 minutes in the sun can increase your vitamin D levels, which helps fight fatigue. If you cannot go outside, doing a few indoor exercises can help you gain energy. But remember, not all exercise will wake you up. Do not push yourself like you would at the gym, it will wear you out. Try simple exercises like jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches, and squats. Do enough to get your blood flowing.
  4. Drink Water, Not Coffee – Dehydration zaps away your concentration, so make sure you are sipping water regularly when you are tired. Drinking water throughout the day will also make you feel less hungry and more energetic. Feeling good sparks motivation and effort so you will maintain productivity at work. Although drinking a moderate amount of coffee (1-3 cups) can make you more energetic and alert, drinking too much coffee will affect your sleep at night and cause you to be tired the next day. If you already drink a lot of coffee, it may no longer have its energizing effect on you. You could drink 10 cups of coffee and still be tired! But that does not mean you won’t get a headache, irritability, dehydration, and other side effects that come with caffeine-overload.

Anyone who has felt tired and sluggish at work after a sleepless night can take comfort in knowing they are not alone. We all know that the key to productivity at work is sleep.  But at times, sleep can become a luxury. Luckily for us, there are ways to avert the slump before it starts, and now you know how to. Follow the above steps and conquer your work day with productive success. Let us know how it goes in the comments.