The afternoon slump. We have all experienced it–those last few hours when we still need to work and be productive, but cannot quite find the motivation. This has happened to me no matter what the work environment–from a desk job to a restaurant job to working at home. There are a few things that can be done about this afternoon slump, so fear not!
1. Have a snack
If you are feeling drowsy or unable to focus, you might just be hungry. For most of us, focus and emotional stability goes out the door when the body needs to eat.
2. Drink water
Another reason you might be feeling the afternoon slump is that you are dehydrated. Water is needed for the entire body to function well—including the brain.
3. Take a power nap
Have you just had a big meal at lunch and are feeling as though you could curl up and sleep in your desk chair? If you are able, do it! According to Web MD, just 15 to 20 minutes can recharge with a boost in alertness and motor performance. You do not need to work at home to make this happen either. I have gone to my car for a nap many a time. In fact, I used to make it a habit of eating and taking a nap on my lunch break and it worked out quite well.
4. Have a little caffeine
You know best how your body responds to caffeine, so use your judgment. When used wisely, caffeine can help greatly in keeping you alert during the day without causing crashes or insomnia. The walk to the coffee machine can also help stretch your legs and give your eyes a rest from the computer screen.
5. Go outside (or open a window)
Experience the fresh air and sunshine to beat the afternoon slump. The expression “a breath of fresh air” is a positive statement for a reason.
6. Buy a plant for your office or workspace
If you are not able to go outside, or it is too cold, bring the outdoors inside. There are many plants you can find that are inexpensive and low maintenance. Just ask your local nursery for recommendations. Greenery is not only refreshing to look at; it gives off a great source for mental clarity: good old oxygen.
7. Avoid sugary treats or beverages
It can be tempting to grab a candy bar at the vending machine when you are feeling the afternoon slump, but resist. This might wake you up for short period of time, but the overall effect of a sugar high and sugar crash will probably leave you feeling worse than when you started off.
8. Take a walk
Have you been sitting at your desk, staring at a computer screen? Take a walk! Do a lap around the office or around the block if you feel so inclined. The blood circulation created by movement will help you focus. When I’m working from home, I have a timer set so that I can get up and do a random chore around the apartment.
9. Do something different
Change it up! If you have been working on the same project all day, you might want to switch to another task for a while. I am fortunate at my café job that I can switch from ringing up guests at the register to making food to cleaning up tables, if I want a change of pace. The key is to give yourself a break so that you can return to the original task with a clear head.
10. Set a goal and/or reward
If you have three hours left at work and it seems like the day has already dragged on for an eternity, make a game out of it. Set a goal of what tasks you will complete by the end of the day and if you finish them, give yourself a treat to celebrate your accomplishments.
Sure you might experience an afternoon slump every now and again, but there are remedies! Use these tips the next time you feel like you might not make it through the day.