The midday slump can affect any professional, regardless of how healthy your morning habits may be. Even if you wake up early, have a good breakfast, and get a good night’s rest, you still might find yourself occasionally losing productivity and daydreaming away the hours.
To mitigate the slump and keep your entire day productive, it’s important to take the time to decompress and relax in the middle of your day. Here are a few things you can do at lunchtime, aside from eating a good meal, to keep yourself on task for the rest of the workday.
Read something unrelated
If you spend too much time focusing on the same exact set of tasks, they’ll eventually become tedious and boring. It’s important to break up that monotony with some pleasure reading in between. So as you’re eating your lunch or taking your break, take the opportunity to read something completely unrelated to your job.
Love video games? Read about the latest and greatest big-budget video game releases. Big music fan? Check out some high quality music blogs like Pitchfork and Earmilk. Whatever your favorite hobby or activity is, take the time in the middle of the day to read something enjoyable.And try to keep your reading active and engaging. Cat videos and funny pictures are awesome, but they aren’t the best source of energy for a midday slump.
Go for a long walk
A long walk in the middle of the day can be a great way to energize yourself for another four or five hours of work. Walking can help you think and process your day. It’s conducive to critical thinking, allowing you to work through difficult issues with your job. That type of problem solving can put you right back into a productive, working mood. By getting your blood pumping, you can figure out something big that’s been bugging you and excitedly return to your desk to get to work.
It’s also a great way to clear your mind of all stress and just enjoy the scenery. A walk that meanders through city streets, open parks, or even down a busy highway can be a great way to simply forget about the stresses of work. And sometimes, that’s all you might need. Midday slumps often happen because we don’t take the time to clear our heads. Walking for 30 minutes without a care in the world can kick you straight out of that sour mood.
Take a short nap
There’s a good reason why major companies like Google and Nike provide room for their employees to take naps in the middle of the day. A quick power nap can help you be more alert and put you in a better mood.
The simple act of sleeping 15-30 minutes in the middle of your workday will give you the focus you need to stay productive and efficient the rest of the day. And trying to power through a sluggish feeling rather than napping it away can lead to silly mistakes and wasted hours.
Note that before you decide to go take a nap in the middle of the day, you should probably clear it with your manager. If it’s not a commonly accepted practice in your workplace, it can be seen as an act of laziness and can reflect poorly on you. It’s an unfortunate perception that takes away a great productivity tool for managers. But it’s important to cover your bases, make sure it’s ok, and set an alarm to make sure you wake up.
Have a conversation
A great way to keep your mind active and energized in the middle of the day is to have a conversation with someone. It can be a co-worker, a family member, a friend, or a total stranger. It doesn’t have to be in person, though it should at least be over the phone. It should last a good 15 to 30 minutes and be more than a chat on how each person is doing.
Talk about some meaningful topics. Something that you read on your commute to work, the latest bit of breaking news, a shared hobby - anything that engages an active back and forth. If you don’t have anyone at work to chat with, find a good friend who also has a tough time with midday slumps. Set out a loose schedule so that you can chat each day. And if you simply can’t find anyone to talk to, go find a total stranger to chat with. You just might make a friend or two.
You don’t have to suffer through the midday slump every day. You don’t have to force yourself to power through a crummy mood in order to stay productive. In fact, doing so can result in sloppy work and silly mistakes. Instead, do things in the middle of the day that are simple, easy, and keep your mind active. By doing so, you’ll find that the second half of your day feels like a fresh beginning.