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Avoid an Afternoon Crash by Staying Active at Work

By Townes Haas   |    February 26, 2014   |    3:44 PM


If you want to stay focused all day, add activity into your work routine
Lunch is over, the afternoon is dragging on, and 5 p.m. feels like a pipe dream. Our first instinct is to trudge through the remainder of the day, like a battle-worn warrior of productivity.

But, soldiering through your afternoon projects with minimal energy isn’t going to help your productivity or your sanity. Instead of reaching for energy drinks or simply giving up all hope try these tips for maintaining your energy and destroying that 2:30 feeling.

Set a timer to remind yourself to move around
This might be the most important tip for staying active at work. Every hack in the world won’t be helpful when you’re overwhelmed with everyday tasks, so try setting regular reminders for yourself to automate your activity.

When you’re slouched over another project at 3 p.m., a previously scheduled email or calendar reminder could be a helpful trigger to prompt some desk stretching, or a quick walk to the water cooler.

Stay active at your desk by stretching
You could do jumping jacks, but not everyone feels comfortable busting a move in front of the entire office. Thankfully there are ways to stay discreetly active at your desk.

Regular stretching can help sitting-induced back pain and ease you into greater alertness. Shoulder shrugs, seated leg raises, and spinal twists are only a few options. Desk stretching is subtle and often offers immediate relief.

Reorganize your office space
If you alter the way your workspace is structured, you automatically add more activity into your workday.

Reorganize your office to be less convenient by keeping supplies in a separate area, or by moving your printer across the room. The act of getting up and moving around will help keep you alert.

Posture is paramount
Sometimes, it’s difficult to resist the urge to melt into our chairs. But, slumping over isn’t going to help you stay awake and attentive.

It’s easy to forget to sit up straight, but remember our first tip? Try setting an alarm reminder on your phone or putting a post-it on your monitor. This quick fix could be the best thing to happen to your mental acuity.

Look into alternate desk options
Desk chair alternatives are becoming increasingly popular. Standing desks, yoga stability balls for chairs, and treadmill walking desks are all options.

With stability balls and other alternative seating options, the idea is to sit actively. When you’re forced to use your core to sit, abdominal muscles stay active and less pressure is put on the spine. You don’t have to use these contraptions all day, either.

Keeping your body active helps your mind focus
However you choose to stay alert at the office, remember that fostering an active body is one of the most successful ways to keep your mind moving, too. Especially when you have a to-do list the size of a novel and you’re praying for 5 p.m.