While most of us in the Western World do not perform back-breaking manual labour, working in an office or at a computer for at least half our waking day can be equally as physically demanding. Of course, I'm not comparing apples with apples here but modern office work can cause havoc with our energy levels, posture, and mental health. Here are the “how to boost energy” tips I recommend to people. Learn how to get more energized at work and how to boost energy while studying.
Create a Regular Stretching Routine
Cultivate a routine of stretching at your desk or somewhere quiet. Morning stretches are great for literally waking the body up. If you work out in the morning, try to stretch at lunchtime to prevent the afternoon slump. Ideally, stretch before lunch.
Stretching will ‘reset’ the spine, open the lungs, and help pump blood into the muscles. The goal is stopping that after-lunch slump so many of us experience. Stretches can be as simple as raising the arms while trying to touch the ceiling, touching your toes, rolling the shoulders back and hugging the arms behind the back. Whatever you choose, just do it.
Come On Feel The “White Noise”
If you work in a noisy environment but you're also distracted by music on your headphones, try Noisli. Noisli is a background sound and noise generator for web and mobile apps. If the sound of birds chirping with water flowing through a windy meadow helps you work, then this is the app for you. The App also offers random white noise and coffee shop sounds. The web version is free and the phone app costs just a couple of dollars. Alternatives included Coffivity and Noizio.
Curb The Caffeine
Instead of coffee, try Matcha Tea. Matcha is a cancer-fighting, fat-burning super drink that delivers caffeine in a more steady release fashion. Coffee tends to give us a jolt and then bring us back to earth with a thud. Matcha tea gives a milder buzz for a longer period of time. Matcha is packed with antioxidants and doesn’t raise insulin levels, thus helping keep cravings and blood sugar under control.
Take The Power Back
If you are easily distracted by the likes of Facebook and Twitter, the following tools will change your life. Use Rescue Time to get a log of exactly how much time you are spending on these sites in relation to the amount of time actually working. It's an excellent tool for understanding where time is being wasted. Secondly, use website blocking software. Most browsers (Chrome, Firefox) have plugins that will do the job.
Use the Pomodoro Technique to work in chunks of time. The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management system that uses a timer to break work down into 25-minute intervals. At the end of each interval, you take a short break. The technique works on the principle that chunks of solid, undistracted work followed by short breaks help maintain mental agility.
Practice Yoga once or twice a week. Yoga can help with posture and concentration and is an excellent way for stressed-out workers to relax. Like stretching, it's all about gentle movements that open the chest, realign the spine, and make us feel good. I can vouch for the lifechanging benefits of regular yoga practise.
Substitute The Sugar Snacks
In case you haven't heard it a million times already, consuming sugar causes a spike in insulin levels. That is an undelniable fact. This raise in insulin levels comes with a drop later on. And this can bring your energy levels right back down to where they started (or worse). Snacking on high sugar foods at work is probably one of the most detrimental things you can do to your productivity.
Eat nuts or chocolate high in cocoa. High-protein snacks won't crash your energy.
Put a plant or plants near your workspace so you not only have something green and natural in the room, but the plant's air-filtering properties will also help remove contaminants in the air. The air in the modern office is full of dust, ozone, viruses, and bacteria. Anything you can do to help lessen the impact of these contaminants will improve your productivity and health.
Get More Light
If you find you are tired in the morning and can’t sleep at night, especially during the winter, you might be suffering from seasonally affective disorder (SAD). Getting some natural light, especially early in the day, can work wonders for lifting your mood, energy, and productivity.
If. you can't get natural light, use something like the Philips goLITE on our desk for 15-20 minutes first thing in the morning. The natural light from the goLITE helps trick the body into thinking it’s a bright, sunny morning. this helps reset your body clock so you have more energy in the morning and you feel more sleepy in the evening.
Stand At Work
Get a Standing Desk. It will change your life. They take a little bit of getting used to but once you’ve used them you will never go back. The legions of techies in Silicon Valley currently using standing desks can’t be wrong!
Kill The Blue Light (At Night)
If you find yourself working till late and then being unable to sleep, use your Mac's “Night Shift” feature or a tool like Flux for night-time viewing. These tools automatically change the brightness and colour on your monitor with the changes in daylight. Blue light from your monitor is designed to look its best during the day but it produces an effect on the eyes and brain like the effects of sun light.
Working late into the evening means you'll be exposed to more blue light before bedtime. Flux and Night Shift adjust the brightness of the screen, creating a warming glow which helps reduce the blinding light effect of a monitor at night.
Fact: colour affects productivity. It's also important for our mood and influences our behaviour. The ambient colours in our place of work may be affecting our energy levels and moods. Blue, for example, is a calming colour and also called the most productive shade to use in the office. Blue is also good for motivation.
Using green in the office can help mimic the effect of natural objects. Humans react very positively to natural elements in the office. Plants in the office, natural light, or garden views are all associated with higher levels of happiness, productivity and a reduction in levels of stress.
This won’t replace the real effect of plants and natural light but adding green touches to the office is a step in the right direction. Experiment with different colours to see which ones work best for you.
Clean Your Desk
A clean, tidy desk is recommended for distraction-free, high productivity work. This report from Harvard Business Review discusses a report that examined the effects of a cluttered environment on a workers persistence in completing a task. The report shows that cluttered environments lead to distractions and unfocused thought.
Make Meetings Matter Or Don't Have Them
Make 15-minute meetings a rule. Meetings are always too long. According to Jason Fried of Basecamp, meetings are not even necessary and often toxic. The fixed one-hour meeting is how old school companies have worked for a long time. The problem with this is that people will generally fill the time with non-productive talk. Eight people in a meeting for one hour is an entire work-day.
Set meetings for 15 minutes. If more time is needed then take an extra 5-10 minutes or reschedule for another time. Only include the most relevant people for the meeting as they can then convey important information to their colleagues if required. Try to stand in the meeting if possible. An even better option is to hold meetings in a room with only a high-table. This keeps people alert, it's better for your body, and will make sure that the meeting does not run overtime.
Meditation can help you focus and be more productive in as little as 10 minutes a day. Meditation helps the mind de-clutter, helps you remove yourself from unimportant distractions, and gives you the mindset to see what’s important and what is trivial.
If you’re new to meditation try an app like Headspace to get going. Try meditation in the morning or early afternoon. It could be one of the best things you do all year.
Turn Off Notifications
Block computer-based distractions with an app like Freedom. Freedom lets you block distracting apps and websites. It basically locks out time-wasting sites like Facebook or whatever sucks most of your energy and time. If you need to meet a deadline or are having trouble focusing on a task because of reminders, messages and other computer-based distractions, this app may help. It’s free to use so give it a try.
Manage Your Tasks
Trello is a project collaboration tool which can also be used as a type of super to-do list. I use Trello to organise projects and tasks for the day, for the week, and for the month. Its many features include collaboration for teams where members can view processes in their current stage and contribute in a very user-friendly and intuitive way.
Trello's visual task management layout (using the Kan Ban system) is appealing to a lot of people.
Organize Your Thoughts
Taking notes, copying information from the internet, scanning text from a paper document, recording voice memos, and journaling are just some of the tasks that Evernote is great at. It can help you keep the clutter out of your head.
Evernote is a free app (with upgrade features available) that you can use and keep in sync on your desktop and mobile devices. It’s a great way of collecting ideas and storing them categorically. If you’re reading a magazine on the train and need to scan a piece of text, add a voice note explanation to it, and then send this note to a colleague Evernote will take the pain out of the process.
If you repeat tasks throughout the day (we all do), save some time with Zapier by automating these repetitive actions. Zapier lets you create “zaps” which are essentially small code snippets that can automate actions and save you a lot of time. There are hundreds of Zaps that work with almost every popular software tool and app. Zapier pro users can save hours daily on tasks.