9 Tricks To Beat The Midday Slump

You’re lethargic. You’re tired. You can’t stop checking the time. (How is it still, STILL, 2:55 p.m.?) We get it and we’re here to help.

You just ate your lunch, and all you want to do is go home.


There’s no way you can possibly get anything done–the next four hours of your workday are doomed. And to top it off, it’s summer, the most productivity-demolishing season of them all!

Let’s all pack it in and try again tomorrow, right?



We can help you. But we don’t have much time. Why? Because in just a few hours at 2:55 p.m, your productivity is going to die, unless we find a solution fast.

So here’s a list of nine tricks to keep the momentum going–and to have some fun in the process. (You remember fun?)

Have a conversation with a coworker–tell a story

First things first: You’re not alone in your struggle. Everybody faces the problem of a midday productivity slump.


Take a few minutes to shoot the breeze with the person sitting next to you. It might work something like this:

“Have you ever wondered what life’s like for an eBay Now deliveryman?”

“No, but I hear it’s pretty crazy.”

“Yeah, man. It’s all condoms, iPads, and toilet paper.”


If you want to take it a step further, turn your ramblings into the form of a story. Storytelling is an invaluable asset to not only your social life, but your career, as well.

Go for a walk–outside

You’ve been sitting in the stale air of your office for hours now. You probably even ate your lunch inside.


The great outdoors are wonderful for meetings, and freeing up your brain.

Going outside doesn’t make you a bad employee–you’re just taking a few minutes to recharge your batteries.

Plus, a little fresh air never hurt anyone.



When was the last time you had a glass of water? Okay, no: When was the last time you made a conscious decision to have a glass of water?

According to the Institute of Medicine, the average person should have between 2.2-3 liters of water per day.

Chances are, you’re not following their advice.


What can water do for your productivity? Just about everything. You’re made out of the stuff, after all.

Clean your desk

As we’ve noted before, you need to make the most of your little slab of real estate.

If your desk is a reflection of you and it’s messy, well, how do you expect to get anything done?


Try organizing your files and cleaning off your workspace. Once you get a good workflow going (cleaning can be addictive), who knows what you’ll get done next?

Embrace the slump

Sometimes you’ve just got to accept your fate. Look, you’re tired. You’re lethargic. But that’s okay. You can still do things–you just need to be smart about it. And, believe it or not, sometimes accepting your fate actually lets you achieve more than you’d ever expect. Why? Because you’re not worrying (and wasting energy) about not doing anything!

Make a to-do list

Map out the rest of your day with a strict set of goals. Just make sure they’re realistic–think small, to give yourself bigger results.


But before you get too list-happy, make sure you know what you’re doing. A proper to-do list is a part of everyday productivity, but you do need to pay attention to your form.

Take a nap

Really, we’re not kidding. In fact, we’re totally serious.

The best time for a nap is between 1 and 3 p.m., when the body most craves a period of sleep. The ideal length for a workplace nap is 30 minutes or less, which assures that you won’t fall into the deeper stages of sleep, and awake with that loopy feeling scientists call “sleep inertia.”

Seems like a pretty convincing argument to us.


Unplug and clear your mind

Unplugging is good for you. It’s as simple as that.
Being super-plugged–Facebook, Twitter, your smartphone, can be horrible for productivity. So instead of tweeting away in the midst of a project, just push it to the side, and focus. The only thing left when you take the distractions away is real work.

Look, like any organism, we run in cycles–for optimal productivity we need to rest. Try to unplug every 90 minutes.


You have too much going on inside your head. Think about it: When was the last time you were truly focused?


Sometimes the most simple answers are the best.

Give meditation a try (everyone at Google is doing it) or perhaps yoga. Just increase your blood flow, and get some fresh oxygen to those lungs.

So get out there–or in there or wherever your work takes you–and seize the day! And if you need a little more encouragement, here are a few ways to beat the heat and have a more productive summer.


No, sorry, more margaritas is not on the list.

[Image: Flickr user Rabbipedro]


About the author

Former Editorial Assistant Miles Kohrman helped run Fast Company's homepage and completed miscellaneous tasks around the newsroom. He is a 2013 graduate of The New School.