In college, rolling out of bed and strolling to class with a thermos full of steamy caffeine is practically a rite of passage. But when you’re slamming out work at a 9 to 5 job, you might not always have the funds to pay for the grounds that keep alertness around.
Here are some tips to survive the workday without trusty old Joe.
- Get moving! Even if time is tight, speedwalk to the bathroom and march purposefully on the way there. Even if you look silly, the blood flow will wake up your legs.
- While you’re at it: Run water over your wrists to cool (and wake up!) your entire circulation system.
- Stream your favorite jam. My personal favorite lately is Shake It Off, although anything with a beat (think your favorite gym music!) will do.
- While you’re at it: Before a stressful workweek, create a mood-boosting mini playlist of 2-4 songs to listen to when you’re feeling sleepy. The routine will remind your brain it’s time to get stuff done!
- Chug some ice water. Fatigue can be a side effect of dehydration.
- While you’re at it: Refill your water frequently — you should be drinking the equivalent of several bottles of water daily to keep mentally alert.
- Beat the clock. Use a timer and break up your work into manageable mini goals. I like this one for its simplicity. How many of your mini tasks can you efficiently do in 30 minutes?
- While you’re at it: See if you can get started on tomorrow’s work, depending on how far in the workday you are. You’ll lessen tomorrow’s workload (and stress), and impress your boss.
- Change your desktop wallpaper to something motivational. It could be a photo from your last great vacation, a new techie treat you’re saving up for, or a photo of your family. When you close your browser to move onto the next task, the background will remind you what you’re working towards. Keep a small part of your brain whirring and remembering why you’re doing this.
- While you’re at it: If you’re feeling super sleepy, try doing some quick math in your head. When was the last time you rattled off the factors of six? It’s a simple trick to bore and refocus your mindset, and you’ll actually want to get back to whatever you were working on before. (Twist: If you’re a math-minded person, try listing at least all of the states in less than 50 seconds. And if you’re speedy at both math and geography, I challenge you to list as many Top 40 songs from 2014 as possible in the next 30 seconds.)
No matter how crazy your workday gets, try to keep things in perspective! Tomorrow will be easier. Sleep and a positive outlook are more powerful than coffee — be buddies with your bed tonight and reward yourself for a job well done.