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How To Keep Your Brain Sharp Past The 3pm Slump

We’ve all been there. We look over at the clock and the minute and hour hands seem to be moving along slower than molasses on a cold winter’s day. We can’t seem to focus, we continue to nod off, and nothing we are producing for work seems to be right.

Congratulations, you’ve hit the 3pm slump! Don’t worry though, due to our sleep patterns it’s completely normal to feel tired in the late afternoon.

If you’re looking to help prevent its effects on your body here are 10 key tips over how to keep your brain sharp.

Keep your brain sharp with sunlight

Schedule 10 minutes into your work day, to let the sun rays and heat soak into your skin. Take it to the next level and divide your lunch time by spending half of it eating outside and the other half taking a small walk. This will help reduce the amount of melatonin (sleep hormone) increasing in your body and will give you an energetic boost of vitamin D to take on the rest of your day.

Lunch wisely

Choose your lunch with care and avoid caving into a cheesy and carb loaded lunch. High carb meals have  energy-sapping qualities that will only increase your need for a nap. Instead, opt  for a meal rich in protein and vegetables. The lighter healthier option will leave you feeling more energized.

Clean your desk and inbox

These tasks at a glance might be considered tedious, but mindless tasks have been proven to give your brain a break and even serve as meditational opportunities.. This is a great way to give yourself a mental break while still being productive. In addition to digital decluttering, tidying up  your workspace will give you both energy and satisfaction because your results are visible.

Stretch it out

Have you ever watched a cat stretch after it’s taken a nap? They do this to wake up their muscles after periods of inactivity. It’s a fantastic way to wake up not only your body but also your brain. So when 3pm rolls around, stretch out your limbs by standing up and reaching for the ceiling. Speak to your health advisor at work and ask for recommendations on some exercises or stretches you can easily perform at your desk.

Be smart about your screen time

Having a desk job that involves a computer can create terrible eye strain. Eye strain symptoms include fatigue/pain around the eyes, headaches, and at times double or blurred vision. Avoid this by keeping your computer screen an arms length away from your eyes, and taking occasional breaks.

Pro tip: Instead of sending that one coworker an email, walk over to their desk and talk to them face to face.

Plan a brainstorm session

If you work alone most of the time, plan a group meeting during midday to socialize in a productive manner. If you work in an open office environment, plan a brainstorm session during this time also so you aren’t distracted or tempted to distract your co-workers with mindless chatter, instead put the time to good use.

Tea Time

Schedule time into your day for afternoon tea. The small amount of caffeine will give you a boost of energy without the crash of coffee. You’ll also benefit from the quiet minutes you’ll have to yourself as you brew and steep the tea. Personalize the experience by purchasing a nice tea mug to keep at your desk as a reminder to take a few minutes a day to refresh and rejuvenate yourself.

Get your snack on

I’m unfortunately not talking about a Kit-Kat bar or loaded nachos. As tempting as they may be, they will only increase the symptoms of your mid-day slump. Instead, grab an energy boosting snack such as assorted nuts, granola, fruit, or a healthy protein.

Chew gum

A low maintenance and inexpensive way to keep your mind alert is by chewing sugar-free gum! Still not enough? Try a spicy flavor, such as cinnamon, to keep you subtly awake and alert at your desk.

Tune out

Music can stir up all sorts of emotions in us, including positivity and productivity. Plug in your headphones and listen to some of your favorite music to help you focus on your work and tasks you may have at hand.

In addition to these tips, remember to also get adequate amounts of sleep at night, exercise regularly, and eat sufficient amounts of protein to maintain your energy levels.


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About the author

Yaniv Masjedi serves as Nextiva's CMO. An avid reader and lover of all things marketing, leadership, and personal growth, Yaniv is obsessed with creating strategies that drive awareness, strengthen brands, and create customer-centric culture. To get in touch, follow Yaniv on LinkedIn.