[Part 2] 6 Tips for Beating the Afternoon Slump

Welcome to Part 2 of the 3-Part Productivity Series. In Part 1, we discussed 6 Elements of an Effective Morning Routine

Part 2 is all about how to avoid the afternoon slump. For those of you that are at your most productive in the afternoon, go ahead and skip this post, or better yet, leave a comment and tell the rest of us how you're doing it.

However, if you're like most of us, you get a lot done right before lunch and then magically like clockwork, around 2 or 3pm, your eyes start to glaze over and you just can't seem to concentrate on your tasks for the rest of the day. 

Here are 6 tips to help you beat the afternoon slump and still be productive towards the end of your day. 

  1. Know thyself and plan accordingly- What times of the day are you the most productive? If you already know that you are usually mentally exhausted by 2pm, don't wait until then to do the tasks which require you to be on top of your game. Schedule tasks which exhaust your mental energy duing the times when you are the sharpest and at your peak.
  2. Schedule one-on-one meetings and phone calls- Use the afternoons to engage in one-on-one meetings and take care of phone calls. The key phrase in here is "one-on-one" which goes for both meetings and phone calls. Having to interact with just one person will force you to engage and be present. It is a lot easier to zone out of a group meeting or group phone call, especially when you're tired.  
  3. Take a nap- Yes, I'm giving you permission to nap during the day. Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post swears by this and even set up nap rooms for her employees. Even if it's just for 10 minutes, take the time to recharge and awake feeling invigorated. 
  4. Move your body- Take a walk around the block and get some fresh air. If you have an office with a door, close the door, play some music and dance around for a few minutes. You can also do some office chair yoga to stretch out your limbs from sitting all day. There are plenty of short routines on YouTube that you can do rather discreetly at your desk. 
  5. Eat light- It can be tempting to eat a candy bar, doughnut or potato chips when you're trying to get through the second half of the day. However, this will make you even more tired and sluggish. Resist the urge and instead eat fruits and veggie snacks to give you a natural boost of energy. Even better, avoid eating carb-heavy meals at lunchtime which slow you down and make you unproductive for the rest of the day. 
  6. Work on mindless tasks- Use the end of the day to work on mindless tasks that are important, but do not require a lot of mental energy. This includes getting your desk and email organized, catching up on industry-related news or reaching out to colleagues that you need to network and stay in relationship with. 

Those are my 6 tips for beating the afternoon slump. Do you have any tricks for being productive in the afternoon? Let me know in the comments below. Check out the final installment of the Productivity Series, Part 3, on Friday, April 22nd.