Does this sound familiar? You wake up and start work, engines blazing (fueled by coffee). You hit a good stride, break for lunch, and … crash. By 2 p.m. you’ve got no energy, no motivation, and the rest of the work day feels like molasses.
The afternoon slump hits many workers, whether they’re in an office or at home. But at the office, you might have lively conversations with co-workers to get you going again, or a trip to another floor for a meeting to provide an excuse to move. When you work remotely, it can be a bit harder to snap out of that slump.
The best solution might be to prevent the afternoon slump from ruining your work day in the first place. Here are some tips for avoiding that low point when you work from home:
Rethink your caffeine addiction (er, habit)
Many of us need a caffeine boost to get us going in the morning. When that one cup of coffee becomes two or three, plus an espresso drink in the afternoon, you might be sabotaging your energy levels rather than boosting them. Caffeine does help alertness, but it can also have a rebound effect and create highs and lows throughout the day.
Rather than overloading on caffeine, consider a breakfast that will give you lasting energy. Protein and whole grains can keep you feeling good throughout your work day–an egg on whole grain toast might be a better choice than a donut.
Be thoughtful about what you choose for lunch, too. A heavy meal can contribute to a slump in energy and mental alertness. Try a salad with roasted chicken instead of a burger. If you feel like you still need caffeine in the afternoon, consider a drink with lower levels of it (like tea).
Move it, move it
Try staving off that afternoon slump with a little movement. Find an energizing yoga routine that you love and take a break in the early afternoon to stretch and move. On a nice day, take a quick walk around the block. Some remote workers find that standing desks help them feel more energized throughout the day, while others prefer yoga balls or an ergonomic office chair.
See your office in a new light
Working from home means you don’t have to deal with the awful fluorescent lights found in some offices. But your lighting choices at home can still make or break your energy levels. Red light signals the body that it’s time to sleep–could that be causing your afternoon slump? Try changing your lightbulbs to white or “daylight” bulbs. It’s also a good idea to maximize your exposure to natural light, so if you can move your desk closer to a window, try it.
Design your ideal work space
A huge benefit of working from home is the ability to design your own office and make it the right space for you. Try creating a motivating space with wall art, house plants, and your favorite colors. Try bright, energizing colors and find some unique artwork that really speaks to you. Don’t make it so cozy that it interferes with your energy levels, but surrounding yourself with things you love can help stave off fatigue and the afternoon slump.
Preventing an afternoon slump can boost your productivity and make your work day more enjoyable. When you work from home, you’re still susceptible to a productivity lull in the afternoon hours, but you have a lot of options to help yourself stay alert. With the right meal choices, good lighting, a productive environment, and a little movement, you should be able to keep going all day.