Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, when the afternoon hits after several hours of productive morning work, it becomes challenging to keep up your level of productivity. You’ve used up most of your creative juices at the start of the day, and you’re still expected to crank out another few hours of work before the day is over. You don’t want to half-bake the work, nor is it worth leaving early, so what can you do to get your mind and body back on track? Inc.com suggests ways to jump-start your mind back to its initial levels, giving you the most productive final hours of the day you can muster:
1. Physical exercise
Just 10 minutes of exercise is enough to get your blood pumping, release endorphins and increase your focus for the next several hours plus you’ll earn the long-term health benefits as well. If you have the time and flexibility, try going for a walk or jog around the office. If you don’t, you can always do some calisthenics or stretching by your desk (as long as your co-workers won’t think you’re crazy).
2. Call someone you like
Call up someone you like, it can be a spouse, a family member, or even an old friend. The conversation will take your mind off work for a little while, giving you time to decompress. Plus, hearing the voice of a loved one can trigger the release of endorphins which increase focus and make you feel more energized. You’ll go back to work happier, more connected, and refreshed for the last few hours.
3. Eat some complex carbohydrates
Grabbing a bite to eat can stimulate brain activity, which is why we have a lunch break in the first place. Don’t fall for the mental trap of skipping your lunch so you can get more done during your break! Take the time to step away from your desk and have a proper meal. However, keep in mind that not all foods are created equal; sugary foods and junk foods can give you a brief boost in energy and concentration, but they won’t last you for hours the way complex carbohydrates will. Eat some fruits, vegetables, and other whole grain products to fuel your mind and body for the rest of the day.
4. Go outside
Bright light can suppress melatonin, a hormone responsible for making you feel sleepy and sluggish. But those fluorescent lights at the office aren’t enough to simulate the effect in fact, they can make you calmer. What you need is red light, which you can get outside. Giving your brain a few minutes of exposure to this natural light can help you feel more awake and refreshed, setting a perfect course to round out the rest of your workday.
5. Play some music you like (and sing along if you can)
Pick out a handful of songs that get your blood pumping and put them on a playlist for your afternoon work noise. The music alone should be enough to give you more energy, but if you want a serious boost, try singing along with it. According to some studies, singing along to music stimulates the release of endorphins and oxytocin, both of which can make you feel elated and energized. Of course, if you don’t want any funny looks from your co-workers, you might have to lock yourself in an office or your car to do so.
6. Do a task you like
When you get back into the swing of things, don’t go for menial, mindless tasks they’ll only bore you and wreck your focus. Similarly, don’t go for extremely challenging tasks they’ll only frustrate you. Instead, focus your efforts on a task that you genuinely like to do, assuming you have one. It will make you excited to keep working and will perk your mind up enough to get you through the other tasks.
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