When I worked a regular job, for an hour every afternoon, I’d struggle to stay awake. Unless a high priority project was due that day, I couldn’t snap out of it. Now that I work from home, no outside force prohibits me from falling into a deep slumber when the mood strikes. It’s more important than ever that I not succumb to fatigue.
Whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur, the ability to get more done definitely has its benefits.
Let’s say you work 45 hours a week. If you reclaim an hour each workday, you’ll have five more hours a week to play with your kids, hang out with your friends, or, heck, even watch television. (It’s your time, I won’t judge how you use it.)
Or maybe you decide to take on extra projects at work to impress your boss. As a result, you’ll have more ammunition when you negotiate a promotion or raise.
From chatty colleagues to social networking, productivity is lost at every turn. But the worst time killer of all is a lack of energy.
Here are five practical ways you can stay alert and get more done.
Eat a Low Carb/High Protein Breakfast
Food is fuel. And the quality of food you put in your body determines how far you’ll go before flaming out.
I’m amazed at what our society accepts as breakfast. Simple, highly refined carbohydrates such as bagels, muffins, cold cereal, and fruit juices wreak havoc on your energy levels.
As long as you don’t totally pig out, you’re better off eating bacon (turkey or pork), eggs, fruit, nuts, Greek yogurt and maybe a slice of whole wheat toast. If you can eat a balanced meal of protein and fibrous vegetables leftover from the night before, even better.
Eat Smaller Meals
Have you ever wondered why you want to pass out after eating a big meal?
When you eat a large meal, blood is diverted to the intestines where food is being digested. This means less oxygen and nourishment is reaching the brain which can lead to fatigue and drowsiness. – Healthmad.com
The same rules apply for lunch as well as breakfast. If you devour an oversized, plate of fettuccine Alfredo during lunch, you’ll have no choice but to go back to your desk and sleep with your eyes open. But no matter how much protein is in a meal, if you overeat, you’re gonna get tired.
When you consume smaller meals, you’ll eat more frequently during the day. That minor inconvenience is well worth it. Plus, your brain needs a break anyway. Microwaving meals in the company kitchen gives you an excuse to step away from the computer.
Eat/Drink Less Sugar
I’m convinced that a moderate amount of caffeine isn’t harmful and maybe even good for you. The problem is caffeine loses its energy boosting juice when combined with sugary soft drinks, sweetened teas, and fancy whip cream topped Frappuccinos.
A modest dose of caffeine won’t stave off a sugar crash.
Stay away from the candy bars (and pretty much everything else) you’ll find in a vending machine. If you’re craving sugar, opt for a piece of fruit instead. Your body and brain will thank you.
Obviously, you should shy away from an Arnold Schwarzenegger style workout in the middle of the day, but a bit of exercise can energize you.
Weather permitting, go for brisk walk outside. Invite a coworker to tag along. Listen to upbeat music while you’re taking a stroll. I think music has the power to change your mood. Maybe it’s a result of years of psychological conditioning, but whenever I hear hip hop music, I get the sudden urge to do one of two things: Paaaarty or go to the gym. It’s usually the latter.
If you work in a building with stairs, take ‘em. Simply standing up or pacing around the office can jolt you out of a sleepy stupor.
Take a Power Nap
I kind of stumbled upon the effectiveness of the power nap. In college, I’d occasionally doze off for about 15 minutes in the middle of a particularly boring lecture. When class ended, I was pumped for the rest of the day. It was kuh-razy.
A lot of people may not feel comfortable with this, but after lunch, I used to grab a quick power nap in my car. I figured it was better than sitting at my desk half asleep.
In order to reap the full benefits of a power nap, you have to understand what it isn’t. A power nap is not a two or three-hour snooze fest. You only need about 15 or 20 minutes to get the job done. To give yourself time enough to fall asleep, set your cell phone timer for 30 minutes.
Put these simple tips in to practice and you’ll increase productivity and likely improve your health.
How do you keep your energy levels up?