Every day at around 3 pm, I hit a slump. I'm suddenly sleepy, I can't focus and will give in to every single distraction that comes my way. And, I'm not alone. This is the afternoon slump. We all suffer from it, but there are a few ways we can get through the afternoon without completely losing our productivity.
First, we have to understand where the afternoon slump comes from. According to a study, 40% of American just aren't getting enough sleep. This disallows us from functioning at our optimal levels. Your lunch might also have something to do with your afternoon sluggishness -- junk food will cause you to crash. Or, your mind might just be tired from a morning full of meetings, brainstorming and decision-making.
The most obvious way to combat the afternoon slump is by taking a nap. This might sound silly to some, but taking a bit of time to recharge will make sure you are ready for the rest of the afternoon. This nap will be especially helpful if you aren't getting enough sleep. But, this needs to be a power nap so you can avoid sleep inertia (that groggy, fuzzy feeling you get when you take a nap that is too long). Ideally, your midday nap should be about 10 minutes long -- just enough to recharge your energy.
Another way to get rid of the afternoon slump is by exercising at lunch. Instead of eating at your desk, get some physical activity in and get your blood flowing. This exercise will help you de-stress and put you in a better mood for the afternoon. Plus, since most of us sit at a desk all day, it will help you battle sitting disease. Try going for a walk or taking an exercise class during your lunch hour.
Lastly, make sure to take frequent breaks throughout the day. Get away from you desk, walk around the office and have a chat with a colleague. These are microbreaks that you take in between performing your tasks. Once one tasks is complete, take a break to give your mind a minute to adjust itself before taking on the next item on your to-do list. This will help give you back some of your lost energy, and will make for a more productive afternoon.