21 Ways to Fight the Afternoon Slump and Power Through The Rest of Your Day

Most people crash in the afternoon at work, but there are ways to stay productive and energetic.

Mornings can be the most productive time at work. You’ve had your coffee and hopefully a good night’s sleep. You feel energized and ready to go. But after lunch, your productivity seems to wane. The coffee has long since worn off, and you’re feeling the weight of the day as it settles on you. Here are a few ways to fight off the afternoon crash.

1. Eat a light, healthy lunch

Carbs tend to be heavy and make us drowsy. If you keep your lunch light and healthy, focusing on proteins instead of carbs, it will keep you from falling asleep at your desk.

2. Squeeze in a power nap

Taking a quick 15- to 20-minute nap can boost your brain power and afternoon alertness. It will also stave off the afternoon yawns.

3. Have a cup of tea

No time for a nap? No worries! Take a few moments to brew a cup of tea. The process will get you up and away from your desk, and the small amount of caffeine will give you an afternoon boost.

4. Have some water

Drinking water throughout the day has so many benefits, including increasing your metabolism and keeping you hydrated, but it can also help perk you up in the afternoon.

5. Vary your schedule

Like staying slumped over your computer all day, doing the same thing day in and day out can take its toll. This can lead to stress and make you unproductive. Change things up to challenge your mind and stay sharp.

6. Get outside

Spend a few moments in the sun and fresh air to help wake you up and boost your energy level.

7. Take a quick walk or choose the stairs

Squeezing in some exercise at work will boost energy levels and productivity. Even if you don’t have time to work out for 20 or 30 minutes, taking the stairs or doing some quick laps around the office building — either inside or outside — will get the blood pumping through your body and into your brain, increasing your focus and productivity.

8. Stand up and stretch

Getting out of your seat and moving around refocuses your mind and gets the blood flowing through your system.

9. Plan meetings or group activities for the afternoon

Having something to focus on besides your computer screen and being engaged with others may help you stave off the afternoon slump.

10. Eat light snacks

Like your lunch, find high-protein snacks or snacks high in fiber or complex carbs. This will raise your blood sugar level, which will raise your energy level, slowly and steadily, and you won’t crash like after eating a ton of sugar. Healthy snacks can include apples, whole wheat crackers, blueberries or pretzels with peanut butter.

11. Chew some gum

Chewing gum will keep you awake because it involves a physical activity. Make sure to choose sugar-free gum so you don’t get cavities.

12. Schedule your “fun” projects for the afternoon

Having something to look forward to in the afternoon will help keep you awake and focused. If you get that complicated task done in the morning, then you’ll be ready and willing to work on the “fun” project in the afternoon.

13. Make time for filing

Get up from your desk to file. It will give you a chance to get moving and do some stretching, as well as remove clutter from your work space.

14. Clean your desk

After you’ve removed the documents that need to be filed, spend some time straightening and organizing the rest of your desk. This will keep you focused on something other than being tired.

15. Clean out your inbox

A cluttered inbox can seem overwhelming and stress you out. Take some time in the afternoon to go through your emails and move them to files or delete them. It will give you something to do and help you get organized.

16. Energize with some music

Studies have shown music has an impact on our moods. Listening to upbeat tunes that are full of energy could help you feel exactly the same way.

17. Eat dark chocolate

Make sure to do this in moderation, but, unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate has high levels of antioxidants and healthy fat, so it’s not totally bad for you. Plus, the small amount of caffeine it has could be just the right amount to wake you up.

18. Take deep breaths

A yawn is your body saying it needs oxygen. Give it what it needs — and you don’t even have to move from your desk. Stay calm and focused for whatever the afternoon brings.

19. Plan for the next day

Or even the rest of the week. Creating a schedule for tasks that need to be accomplished will keep you engaged and awake.

20. Focus on something besides work

You probably shouldn’t spend the entire afternoon checking out Facebook or shopping online, but a quick break every so often will help you feel refreshed and make you more productive.

21. Get up as often as you can

There’s nothing more exhausting than staying slumped over your computer keyboard all day. It can take its toll on your muscles and strain your eyes. Take every chance you can to get up and change your scenery.

What other things do you do at work to keep yourself energized and productive? Add them to the comments below, and subscribe to the newsletter for more insight into how to be better at your career.


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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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