Afternoons can be the drudgery of any person who controls their day. It’s like the right of passage from a productive morning to getting to our evening. We have to go through it but most of the time it’s simply a means to an end.
For many, the attack of a lousy choice of lunch haunts us and others combat the afternoon with caffeine, sugar, or a 5 Hour Energy drink. This is NOT the answer and will only delay and compound the energy problem later.
In fact, energy is the LAST thing it gives us. We need it just to stay neutral and not crash.
Not exactly an energy boost. Is neutral really the best case scenario?
But what if we looked at the afternoon differently and chose to create our own hack that is healthier and actually more effective?
I’m overly productive in the morning so many times my afternoon pays the price. But I’ve learned to ask three quick questions when my energy begins to drop in the afternoon:
Ask Three Quick Questions:
Q1 Why is my energy low right now?
Often it may be as simple is it’s 2pm and you’ve not stopped for lunch. Or what you ate for lunch is sitting in your gut like a 20 lb. dumbbell because it was a poor choice. Or you realized the only movement you’ve had in numerous hours were your fingers on the keyboard and multiple yawn reps. C’mon man.
But sometimes it’s bigger like running on little or low-quality sleep. This cannot be solved in the moment but can be in a few hours by getting to bed on time or even earlier to bank energy for tomorrow afternoon. Finding the why of your energy drop is key to solving the problem and not repeating it day after day. STOP the bleeding.
Q2 Is there anything I can do to change my energy level?
Once you know why your energy level is low, you can actually do something about it. Go eat something healthy. Stand up and stretch. Take a break and go for a quick walk to move the body and rest the mind. You’ll be surprised at just doing something different that puts positive fuel in your body or even gets you moving, will do for low energy.
And every once in awhile I’ve just stopped and taken a nap. I know, right?! I’m not talking 2-3 hours but 20-30 minutes. But instead of pushing through with little to no results, I actually accomplished more in that last two hours than most afternoons. Find what you can do to change your energy level immediately. Stand. Stretch. Walk. Just move, man.
Q3 How can I match my tasks with my energy?
Sometimes a small tweak is just not going to change your energy level. So, I pick a low energy task that requires more time and dedicate the time to that task. I have a list of low energy tasks that I can turn to at any given moment that need forward motion. These are the no-brainer, little to no thinking tasks that need attention but definitely NOT during high energy moments.
Often, just working on a few of these tasks for 15 or 30 minutes is all I need to snap me out of the low energy funk.
Other times, I’m going to ride the low energy tasks out for the remainder of my day because it’s just one of those days. Not a big deal mid to late afternoon. Major concern if it’s 1:05pm. Learn to match energy with task.
Three Changes That Can Give Me a Natural Energy Boost:
1. Change of Position
Stretch / stand / walk / push-ups (seriously, try it!), just move. Our bodies aren’t designed to sit in one place for long periods of time and ironically zap energy out of us even though all we’re doing is sitting.
2. Change of Location
What if I worked in a different location? It may mean moving to a different room or possibly a different location with a completely new environment to make the most of the afternoon.
3. Change of Activity
Learning to have a pulse on my energy is huge for productivity. It’s SO easy to try and force something when the reality is your energy is just not there. Don’t force it. Adjust and evaluate. Sometimes the worst thing is to force something that ends up taking twice as long and half as good. Holy bad math, Batman.
Let’s Wrap This Up…
You have more control of your afternoon crash and need for an energy boost than you realize. We respond in one of two ways:
- Reach for a quick unnatural fix in caffeine or sugar
- Just try to push through it with limited results
I challenge you to ask the three questions to find out what’s going on before you reach for a sub par solution.
Change your position, location, or activity then measure the results. Create your own afternoon 5 hour energy hack and your afternoons will never be the same!