8 Ways to Stay Alert During a Long Workday

We all want to maintain a work-life balance but the best of us struggle with it. Getting through your work fast allows you to leave the office earlier. That being said, staying alert and keeping your pace during long work hours is difficult.

Stay Alert
Mr. Bean (Staying Alert)

Here are a few ways you can keep your mind awake and remain productive for longer at work.

Get Some Exercise Before You Head to Work

Waking up earlier than you need to is frustrating for most people but if you’re going to bed earlier the night before, getting up a couple of hours earlier wouldn’t be so bad.

Once you’re finally out of bed, wash your face and make yourself a healthy but light sandwich or a green smoothie and then get exercising.

You don’t have to get an intense workout to start your day but you need to do something to get your body loose and your heart pumping. Consider taking an aerobics class or yoga class in the morning or just head to the gym to get a good cardio workout on the elliptical or treadmill.

A powerwalk or jog around the park will be even better.

Don’t forget to have proper breakfast after you’re done exercising.

Eat Light and Healthy

Once you get to work keep yourself fueled with healthy snacks, like a cup of yogurt or some fruits. The idea is to not let yourself get so hungry that your stomach requires a hearty lunch. You want to eat several smaller, healthy meals throughout the day that keep your energy levels sustained.

Listen to Music

Listening to music blocks out the excessive input your brain receives in the workplace.

Studies have found that those who listened to music when doing repetitive tasks worked faster than those who didn’t with less errors. The reason for this is that when you’re listening to music you like, your brain releases dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, all of which are ‘feel-good’ hormones.

These help you relax and enhance feelings of positivity, resulting in animproved focus on tasks. Being in a better mood affects how you interact with co-workers. When you feel better you are likely to be more respectful and patient, both are qualities that make you a better team member.

Music also helps ease complex tasks by relieving stress and keeping your mind calm which is why many surgeons choose to listen to music when conducting surgeries.

Prevent Straining Your Eyes

Staying in front of the computer all day puts your eyes under a lot of pressure. Eye strain causes headaches and fatigue along with a stiffness in your neck and shoulders. It will also cause your eyes to either go too watery or too dry. At some point, you can have difficulty in keeping your eyes open.

To avoid straining your eyes, give them some rest every now and then. A good 20 minutes, completely away from thescreen will be sufficient time for your eyes to relax.

Use an anti-glare screen on your laptop to prevent the glare from affecting your eyes.

Adjusting your screen display is another way you can help your eyes out. Zoom your screen if you struggle to read smaller fonts. Adjust your brightness to your surroundings.

You can also download special software on to your computer that reduces the blue light in your screen. Screen adjusting software reduces the blue light and replaces it with orange/red hues which are much less strenuous on your eyes.

Take Frequent Breaks

The science of taking frequent study breaks when you’re in high-school and college to improve your productivity has been proven, yet when we join an office we forget about them.

When we’re in the groove of completing a task, we feel great but the longer you work on the task, the lower your productivity will get. This is why taking a break is important.

Our brains are not wired to focus on a single task for too long, we’re used to responding to various stimuli which makes taking breaks essential for our productivity.

For those who feel guilty about walking around the office, a study conducted by Staples interviewed employees and their manager found that 90% of managers encouraged their employees to take breaks, revealing that managers were aware of those breaks.

Drink Fluids

Many adults underestimate how water fuels your body. The National Institute of Health states that dehydration can lead to feeling exhausted, an overly dry mouth and affect your kidneys in the long run. It also results in lower blood pressure and heartrate.

Oxygen is extracted from water and carried to the brain through blood cells. When you aren’t drinking enough water, your oxygen levels in the brain are low causing you to feel fatigued, making it very difficult to concentrate.

Pop Some Peppermint

Anything containing peppermint has the ability to wake you up and make you feel energized. The scent of peppermint – specifically the menthol effect – stimulates the hippocampus making you feel alert, improving mental clarity and even memory.

Don’t Have a Heavy Lunch

One of the worst ways you can obstruct productivity is to have a heavy meal at lunch. A meal with high content of fats, carbs, and sugars stimulates a neural response called parasympathetic nervous system when it reaches the intestine. This response tells your body to slow down and focus on digesting.

There you go, get started now to improve your productivity at work and get better work-life balance.