It’s easy to feel mentally fatigued at work. After a busy morning of meetings, emails, spreadsheets or sales calls, many office workers find themselves staring blankly at their computer in the middle of the day. You know the feeling: scattered thoughts, low energy, inability to focus.
When you’ve got a list of things to get done, an uncooperative, fuzzy mind can really get in the way of the day’s productivity. Luckily, there are a few easy (and mostly natural) solutions you can try to jump-start your headspace and get back on task.
When you find yourself getting to the point where a desktop nap seems like the only option, try one of these 6 Tips instead. They’re less likely to get you in trouble with the boss and a lot more likely to efficiently jump-start your mental processes.
Tip #1. Fuel Up!
Nourishment is your body’s gasoline. When you’re feeling mentally fatigued and having trouble breaking out of your midday funk, a bit of sustenance might be just what the proverbial doctor ordered.
Try a snack that’s rich in vitamins and/or protein to give yourself a boot on energy. Fruits and nuts are among the most convenient, healthy, and easily-obtained snacks that can be enjoyed while you work. Plus, these foods won’t weigh you down too heavily as you consume them throughout the day.
And of course, if you’re really needing a jolt of energy, coffee is always a great idea.
Tip #2. Get By with a Little Help from Your Friends
A little bit of external motivation never hurt anybody, and some interaction with a real human being might be exactly what you need to snap you out of your 2 PM sleepies.
Simply engaging with someone else can seriously help you to shake your mental fatigue and get you back on track with your work.
Tip #3. Timeboxing
“Timeboxing” is just a cool way to say “precisely scheduling out your day.”
If you need a little help staying on task, it’s a good idea to write down everything that you need to do and to give yourself specific blocks of time in which you do them.
A great bonus to this strategy is that you can kind of mentally cheat yourself into working harder for more of the day. When you break your schedule down in to easily-managed time blocks of 60 to 90 minutes or so, with a break of about 15 minutes in between, your productivity will stay a lot higher.
Believe it or not, when you know you’ve got a short break coming up relatively soon, it becomes a lot easier to stay on task and keep your productivity at a higher level.
Tip #4. Move Yourself Around
Change your scenery if you’re having trouble getting focused at work. Leaving your office might not be an option, but there will always be times when you can stretch your legs and walk down the hall for a change of pace.
If there’s work you can do in another part of the office, or even outside, this is often another great way to get unstuck and reclaim your productivity.
Tip #5. Cut Through the Weeds
Often, flagging productivity can also be brought about by a super boring to-do list. Instead of letting these menial tasks dull your brain, use them to your advantage. Grit your teeth and power through your smaller, more boring jobs right away.
Give yourself some easy objectives to overcome at the start of your list. This will get you a bit more energized and will have you feeling more productive when it comes time to tackle those bigger tasks.
Tip #6. Adjust the Focus
If you’ve got something like an important meeting or idea session coming up, but don’t think you’re going to be as mentally prepared as you’d like to be, you can work around this by taking the attention off yourself.
Send out a list of your talking points and make sure everyone involved will be bringing some contributions to the table. This way, the pressure is greatly reduced and you’re not the only person relied upon for ideas.
“This meeting format will take the attention off of you (and your inability to form coherent sentences), and will put the focus on the attendees. Then, delegate a note-taker to record the details of the meeting. When all is said and done, you’ll have a detailed record of what was discussed.”
What About You?
Do you have any special solutions to help fight off that afternoon brain fuzz? It happens to the best of us.
Let us know in the comments if you’ve got a solution that helps you stay on top of your workday in a serious way!