Whether it’s the ever-dreaded mid-afternoon slump or a lack of focus after the initial cup of coffee wears off, we’ve all experienced situations where our energy level at work is not where we need it to be for optimal productivity.
There are a variety of reasons why you may experience low energy levels at certain times throughout the day. Factors can range from the food & beverages you’re consuming to your natural circadian rhythm to the setup of your desk. These reasons will vary from person to person, so it’s important to understand what factors may be contributing to your lack of energy so you can find combat them.
The positive news is that there are solutions to this persistent problem that can help increase both your energy and your productivity on the job! Whether you experience an energy slump daily or want to get ahead of it in order to optimize your workflow, read on to learn 5 great tips for how to boost your energy at work.
Fuel Your Body
We’ve all heard the advice time and again to not skip out on breakfast in the morning. Whether you actually do heed this guidance or have opted to ignore it due to time or other reasons, now is the time to really consider your breakfast choices because they can actually have a big impact on your energy levels and alertness.
Experts recommend eating at least a small meal at the beginning of the day to help start up your metabolism. Additionally, breakfast helps replenish your body’s supply of glucose and other important nutrients, which works to maintain your energy level throughout the entirety of your day.
Following a balanced breakfast, health experts suggest eating smaller meals every few hours, as this will help supply your brain with constant and steady nutrients. This results in more consistent energy levels and focus over the course of your day.
No matter when you decide to eat throughout the day, what you decide to fuel your body with is one of the most important things to consider as well. Instead of reaching for those sugary or high-fat snacks that look so appealing in the office kitchen, look for a healthy snack that is more well balanced. A snack with whole grains, healthy fat, and/or equal proportions of enough protein and carbs will help maintain energy levels, opposed to those spikes and drops in blood sugar caused by a sugary snack.
Choose Beverages Wisely
Before any other beverage, water is the most important to incorporate into your daily diet to aid both your health and energy. Since water comprises the majority of our bodies, the consistent replenishment of water is essential to maintaining strong bodily function, especially with the flow of nutrients to your cells. If your body is lacking the proper water supply, it can cause feelings of fatigue or tiredness.
When you’re tied to your desk for extended periods at work, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water. If you’re starting to feel a lack of energy, try drinking a large glass of water first before reaching for any other snacks or beverages for an energy boost.
Caffeine can also be a great source of energy in your workday when consumed in moderation. It’s important to find a sweet spot of caffeine quantity that will give you a helpful energy boost, but not lead to a crash after. This happy medium will differ from person to person, but as a general gauge, try starting with 200mg of caffeine or less in the mid-morning. If you still need a pick-me-up following that, have a second cup in the early afternoon.
Organize Your Workspace
An easily overlooked aspect of the workday is your physical working space. However, your desk can actually have an impact on your focus and energy. Research has shown that our brains respond well to order and that disorganization has the potential to drain cognitive resources and reduce focus.
Looking to hone more consistent productivity levels? Start by organizing that old paperwork, clearing out unnecessary accessories and improving your desk feng shui. Your mind will thank you!
Rest Your Eyes
On average, the American worker spends about seven hours a day on the computer while at work. This extended time can cause screen fatigue for your eyes, which in turn can impact your overall energy and focus as well. To help alleviate this strain, doctors recommend using the 20-20-20 rule: take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and stare at something 20 feet away. This will give your eyes the chance to rest, so when you do return to your work, it’s with more clarity. And most importantly, don’t forget to relieve your entire body with good night’s sleep!
Your eyes aren’t the only things that need to get moving throughout the day – your whole body does too. Incorporating more physical activity into your sedentary routine planted in a desk chair can help provide an energy boost instantly. Regular exercise including a brisk walk or climb up and down a flight of stairs are a couple of great ideas. Incorporating a sit-stand desk to your work setup is another easy and highly effective solution for issues including back pain from sitting at a desk all day.
Interested in how to exercise at your desk? Moving from sitting in a desk chair to standing creates movement that is needed in the body to increase circulation and deliver oxygen to the brain. This, in turn, will increase your energy, mental focus and critical thinking. In fact, research has shown that standing at your desk can increase productivity by up to 45%.
Experts recommend using your standing desk at intervals for the best effects and take part in standing desk exercises throughout your day. To start, try standing for small intervals at a time, such as 20-30 minutes. As you progress, begin increasing the intervals of time so you’re standing for longer periods. The eventual goal is to stand and sit for roughly equal amounts of time each day.