Do you feel like your ability to focus and your supply of discipline and willpower are always dwindling by 2 p.m.?
You’re not alone.
Almost everyone experiences a mid-afternoon lull: a dip in energy levels, alertness, and concentration as part of your natural circadian rhythm, explains Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of “You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humour to Work.”
“The timing, extent, and intensity of the afternoon lull varies from person to person, and although our lunch diet can affect it, the No. 1 influencer is how well you slept the night before,” he explains.
Other factors, such as sitting for too long or spending too much time on the computer, can also contribute to a decline in energy. And, perhaps one of the most surprising causes of afternoon fatigue is having too little work to do. “If you don’t have a clear plan of action and don’t set priorities for your day, and especially for the afternoon, it’s that much easier to lose steam and feel a dip in energy,” he says.
Here are seven things successful people do to deal with, or avoid, the dreaded afternoon lull:
Sleep experts agree that an afternoon cup of coffee does help maintain alertness, as long as you don't overdo it, Kerr explains. If you're not a coffee drinker, then try green tea or water.
'Keeping hydrated helps maintain energy levels throughout the day,' he says. 'Regardless of what you drink, use a beverage break as an excuse to get away from your desk, walk around, stretch, and interact with some people -- all things that will help you maintain your energy levels.'
The most successful people turn the lull into a creative advantage by taking a power nap, Kerr explains. 'Some of the greatest creative minds, most notably Thomas Edison, were or are huge fans of naps, believing that naps not only allow them to be more productive, but that they also helped them to be more creative.'
It may be difficult to nap at work -- especially if you work in a cube or an open space -- but if you can find a quiet place to rest for 15 minutes, you could be doing yourself (and your employer) a huge favour.
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