4 ways to get your energy back up when you become an afternoon zombie


After a certain point, the coffee just doesn’t help.

You crank out work all morning and by lunchtime, you feel spent. The dark clouds roll in and you have trouble remembering your own email address. Not good.

Fortunately, there is an answer to why this occurs. According to recent brain science research, brain cells tend to slow down as we get tired throughout the day. It’s not just a theory.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have been able to track brain activity as we grow tired during the day, often as a result of poor sleep patterns. What’s clear is that our thoughts are not as lightning-quick towards the end of the day as they are in the morning.

This explains why we have such a sudden burst of productivity in the morning. We are well-rested and ready for tough assignments. We can crank through a task list by mid-morning, but then we start getting tired and ready for a lunch break. Short of taking a power nap (which is not a bad option if that’s something you can manage), there are a few tricks to help you get more work done as the day progresses — and none of them involve coffee.

1. Go for a brisk walk

Your tiredness level might be a result of poor sleeping habits but also because you have worked hard (and might need to grab an energy bar or some fruit). Your energy level degrades during the day, but there’s a great way to pump up your energy without taking a nap. A brisk walk around the building will help you rejuvenate quickly. The problem is that most of us don’t take the time to do this, and then our productivity tends to suffer. You can promote better thinking and increase your energy by walking, even for just 15 minutes.

2. Stop working for 30 minutes

Another way to increase your productivity is to take a long break — up to about 30 minutes. During this time, it’s important to set the phone aside and go somewhere other than your desk. This helps you refuel and can help you think more clearly for the rest of the day. Your brain needs rest. If you work in a field where there is a constant barrage of complex issues, it is even more helpful because you‘ll get a boost for tasks later in the day.

3. Drink water all day

You may already know that drinking water during the day can boost productivity. What might not be as clear is the reason why. A well-known study from 2013 found that hydration plays a major role in work output, increasing your productivity by as much as 14%. Once again, it is all related to brain activity — we need the boost from drinking water to help with clear thinking and tiredness. When you drink water, it increases your energy level.

4. Talk to your coworkers

Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. One of the most interesting techniques for boosting productivity is to have a chat with coworkers. This means getting up from your desk and moving around. Colleagues have a way of promoting new ideas and thoughts. The change in scenery, interaction with people, and the break from your routine will all help as well. Social activity has a way of motivating us to work a bit harder for the team.

By the way — about those coffee habits. I’m not against the quick boost we get from caffeine,
and coffee can help calm us down. The problem is that there’s a false sense of productivity from
coffee, so it’s important to combine drinking the magic elixir with the other habits above.