Every afternoon, at around 3pm, offices hit a wall. You’re tired from staring at a screen, full from lunch and generally unenthused about your progress. You find yourself scrolling mindlessly through your Facebook feed, re-reading emails or snacking out of boredom. It’s bad for business and your health. So how do you stay motivated when you feel like you can’t do anything at all? Here are 5 ways to combat a productivity dip:
- Stand up: For me, exercise is the most effective way of restoring motivation. It doesn’t have to be much, even a short, screen-free walk can make you feel refreshed for the afternoon. I use a standing desk as I find that my energy and mood dips when I sit down for too long. I also like to take business calls using a hands free ear piece so that I can walk around, it helps my thought process and makes me feel more dynamic.
- Make conversation: When you’re stuck on a problem at work, it can be useful to chat through the issue with a friend or colleague. They might help you to see a new perspective or just allow you a few minutes rant. Non-work related conversations are refreshing, call a friend or go for lunch with someone who’s not from your office. It will give your mind a break and hopefully, put you in a more positive mood, which aids creativity and boosts productivity.
- Eat well: As tempting as it is to reach for a chocolate bar, the jolt of sugar is only short lived and will plunge you even deeper into the hole. I used to eat very unhealthily whilst I was working, but in recent years, I’ve really started to make my wellbeing a priority. I usually have a light lunch (salad or sushi) as heavy meals make me more inclined to feel sleepy in the afternoon.
- Switch off: Meditation is probably the most important part of my daily routine. When you’re working flat out and being constantly bombarded with information, calls and emails, your mind becomes tired and lazy. For me, the best way to properly clear some head space and rejuvenate is to take twenty minutes to just do nothing.
- Get to know your working habits: I know that I’m most productive first thing in the morning, so I always schedule the important tasks for earlier on in the day and leave administrative jobs for the afternoon. I number everything I have to do from 1-3 according to it’s priority, 1 being the most important and 3 the least, and try to focus my morning entirely on the top tasks when I’m feeling the most motivated.
Richard Walton is the Founder of AVirtual a company that provides virtual PAs to small business, entrepreneurs and start-ups. He is regularly featured in the press talking about topics such as work life balance and productivity.