8 Unobvious Ways To Have Way More Energy At Work

From how you make decisions to what you decide to eat--everything in your day has power-sapping potential. Here's how to fight back against fatigue.

Look, we're all tired, so let's not take up much energy before we get right to it.

1) Filter out your decisions.

We only have the energy to make so many decisions within a day: Making too many gives you decision fatigue. So a savvy scheduler finds ways to reduce unnecessary ones, like by eating the same breakfast every day.

2) Be friends with your coworkers.

If you get to know your coworkers, you'll live longer--perhaps because you'll have less of a desire to kill them. Best of all is an at-work BFF--the kind of person who can make you feel alright even on crap days (and make companies more profitable).

3) Eat smarter.

If you don't get enough protein in your diet--as in, you survive on bagels and coffee, like Ms. Hepburn above--then you're inviting the low-energy grump into your life. As Lifehacker writer Jason Fitzpatrick notes:

A diet comprised mainly of carbohydrates. . . . is a recipe for a constant cycle of blood-sugar highs, lows, and the accompanying feelings of exhaustion that go with them. If carbohydrates are the kindling of your metabolism, protein is the slow burning old-growth wood that keeps you going.

How to get more? Fitzpatrick recommends eggs, peanut butter, and working in some protein powder.

4) Don't strain your eyes.

Do your eyes suffer from one or more of these?

  • Sore, tired, burning or itching eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty focusing

Then you might have eye strain. Here's how to deal with it.

5) Get more movement in your day.

We need not yield to the Sedentary Death that awaits our constantly sat seats; we can show some derrière-relieving daring-do by having walking meetings.

6) Engineer a nap.

Buffer cofounder Leo Widrich has taken a nap at 3 p.m. every day for two years. It gives him two days in one, he says--pretty productive, eh?

7) Have a restful weekend.

If your weekend is full of stresses, you won't be restored for Monday. Nonwork hassles, we've noted, exhaust your emotional resources--so we need to learn how to chill well.

8) Make breaks a part of your workday.

Contrary to popular belief, humans are organisms, not robots; thus, they need breaks to do their best work. Often in about 90-minute intervals.

Hat tip: Lifehacker

[Image: Flickr user Tim Snell]

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10 Comments

  • Fat Police

    Regarding #3, protein is fine but fat is actually what will help keep you satiated and provide long burning energy (so long as you don't continue to mix in carbs, resulting in insulin spikes, which in turn signal to your body to store fat rather then consume it).

  • Fat Police

    Note that the items described (eggs, peanut butter) have healthy amounts of fat alongside the protein. Roughly 3/4 of peanut butter's caloric content comes from fat. Avoid the low-fat variety: it usually contains more sugar. Fat is not our enemy: sugars and simple carbohydrates are what's killing us all..

  • Carl

    Honestly, chicken fetuses are nasty, I'd rather eat actual adult chickens, and I don't even do that.  Peanut butter, like, peanuts pre-chewed by a machine, yes, please pre-chew my food for me, machines.  I'd rather eat raw peanuts, kale, onions, tomatoes, and broccoli (which itself has more protein per calorie than New York steak).

  • Patrick Hopkins

    The obvious would be to drink caffeinated beverages and sleep more...a lot of people don't have the disciplines or rituals that are laid out in this article and therefore it's "unobvious" to some. 

  • Guest

    Not sure this makes sense... "Nonwork hassles, we've , exhaust your emotional resources..." 

  • TK

    I read a study several years ago that says humans are generally most tired about 12 hours from the middle of the previous night's sleep... for most people, that's around 2:00 - 3:00.  Your body knows.

  • Two Good Forks

    All great advice... except for #7. Take a nap? Seriously? What percentage of people can shut their office door and knock out a nap at 3pm? I don't know about you all, but that will get me fired in a heartbeat. 

    That said, I acknowledge I absolutely need a nap every day between 2 and 3, and taking one would do wonders for my attitude and energy level in the late afternoon.