Whether you're working from home or at the office, it's completely normal to see your energy levels dip throughout the day. Low energy levels can leave you feeling exhausted, unfocused and unproductive, while also impeding your ability to form strong relationships with both colleagues and clients.
Here are 8 practical ideas on how you can remain sharp and energised at work.
1. Move regularly
Regular exercise is not only crucial for your overall health, but it's also one of the most effective ways to boost your energy. Try fitting in up to 20-minutes of exercise a day—this will help improve your mood and eliminate feelings of fatigue.
If you do not have enough time in your daily schedule for a health and fitness routine, keep in mind that simply walking home or using the stairs instead of the lift will still have a positive effect. Moreover, move around at every chance you get; standing up can help improve circulation, leading to extra energy and less painful neck cramps.
If you're working remotely, get up to fill your water bottle, walk around the house or go outside for five minutes. Set an alarm every 2 hours to make sure that you stand up and move a little every now and then.
Drink water! Dehydration happens when your body does not have as much water as it needs, leaving you feeling drained and exhausted. You do not necessarily have to follow the "2 litres" a day rule, but ensure you drink water regularly and never feel thirsty!
Put it into your routine to go to the kitchen or water dispenser for a refill every few hours. The walk there will also keep you feeling energised. Alternatively, keep a large water bottle on your desk to remind you to take frequent sips. It's worth pointing out that herbal teas and natural fruit juices also contribute to your total fluid intake.
If you're having trouble remembering to drink water, try downloading a water reminder application to receive notifications throughout the day.
3. Healthy snacking
Eating a handful of almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or other food rich in magnesium and folic acid, is an excellent energy source. Other alternatives are quinoa, goji berries, avocado, banana and dark chocolate (70% plus). Stay away from tasty, high-fat snacks, as they will likely lead to an energy crash later in the day.
Practice mindfulness and listen to your body. If you're hungry, try eating something with equal protein and carbs to avoid blood sugar spikes or drops. Remember, your brain needs fuel to function at its best!
4. Clean up your workspace
Studies have shown that messy desks can harm work productivity and energy levels, leading to less structure and making you feel overwhelmed.
Take a few minutes each morning to organise your desk and clear up any clutter. Clean that coffee mug, reorganise that pile of papers and get rid of everything you don't need. Tidying up will make you feel productive and in control. It can also be a great 5-minute break from that mind-boggling task you've been trying to get done.
5. To-do lists
Take some time to prioritise your workload. If you start feeling overwhelmed, just write a to-do list and focus on completing those tasks for the next few hours.
It's also a good idea to look at your calendar and inbox for the following day or even week to set goals and deadlines—the trick to this is planning without stressing yourself out!
6. Take regular short breaks and enjoy the sun
This may seem like the simplest and most obvious solution. But is it? Look out of the window, walk around the block, grab a glass of water or simply take a quick break at your desk or just give yourself 5 minutes of doing nothing.
Combat that inner feeling that you are lazy or unproductive; breaks will increase productivity and creativity. According to research, a 15-minute break every 90 minutes will increase your productiveness and make you feel re-energised.
Taking breaks with upbeat colleagues can also give you a real kick! Laughter can improve overall energy levels, and emotions are surprisingly contagious.
Whenever possible, take your break outdoors, breathing in the fresh air and basking in the sunlight. The sun plays a huge role in maintaining energy levels. This is because sunlight exposure helps your body produce melatonin, a hormone that helps you go to sleep, and it's also the body's primary source of Vitamin D. This plays an essential role in helping you avoid fatigue.
7. Listen to your favourite tunes
Music is a powerful tool, it can be used at any time to shift our mood and energy levels, and it works quickly! So log onto Youtube, Spotify or any other platform and listen to an energetic and uplifting playlist.
Singing also helps to reduce stress hormones in your body. So if your stress levels are high, you are shy of your co-workers, or you work in a customer-facing role, you may want to sing along to your favourite tunes in the shower or in the car—where we all think we sound like Elton John!
8. Plan your sleep
One way to stay energised is going to bed at a consistent time every day. It's good to determine how much sleep you actually need and ensure you get ready for bed at the right time.
It's also a good idea to set your alarm 15 minutes earlier, so you can wake up slowly and prepare for the day ahead. The worst thing you can do is stay up late and then hit the snooze button in the morning.
Sleep is the time when your body can recharge and rejuvenate, so ensure you have the right conditions for a good rest and avoid disrupting your sleep patterns.
Bonus Booster—You thought we would forget coffee?
Apart from having the ability to increase alertness, coffee is an effective energy booster. Nevertheless, try and curb the temptation to have your first coffee as soon as you wake up.
Since caffeine takes about 45 minutes to fully absorb, the benefits will cover a more significant part of your morning at work by delaying your morning cup of coffee. To maximise the energising effects of coffee, consume it sensibly—the right amount can give you a boost, and if you take too much, you risk crashing in the middle of the day. Try consuming 200mg or less mid-morning.