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Office Blues- 7 Quick Ways to Beat The Friday Afternoon Slump

Updated on January 30, 2015
photo credit: kennymatic via photopin cc
photo credit: kennymatic via photopin cc | Source

The Afternoon Slump

It’s Friday afternoon in the office after a long, hard-working week.

No matter how much you might enjoy your job or how many tasks you might have it is easy to fall prey to “the afternoon slump”. That dreaded time at about 3 o’clock when your eyes feel heavy and you struggle to concentrate on anything.

Here are 7 quick ways to help you to WAKE UP on from the afternoon slump and improve your focus.

1. Go For A Quick Walk

A walk around your office building in the fresh air would be best. It gives you a chance to stretch your legs and gather your thoughts away from the work environment. Sitting in a warm room or in front of a screen for too long can make you feel sleepy and passive. If you can’t leave your building try walking to the photocopier or even just walking further to reach the watercooler or make a round of drinks for yourself and your co-workers.

2. Take Five

No matter how many tasks threaten to overwhelm you, try to take a mental step back. Often we struggle to focus because we find it difficult to work out which task to focus on first. Take a moment to breathe slowly and concentrate on your breathing for a few minutes. If your mind is struggling to focus on work, give it a few moments to focus on breathing instead- when you mentally step forward into work mode again you will find yourself feeling automatically more alert and refreshed.

photo credit: Gabriele Diwald via photopin cc
photo credit: Gabriele Diwald via photopin cc | Source

3. Drink Water

It might feel like a cup of coffee or tea will help, but caffeine may only make the problem worse over the course of the afternoon.

Dehydration is a common problem in stuffy office environments, so a cool glass of water may help. If your office is cold rather than warm, or you aren’t a fan of water on its own try drinking fruit or herbal tea or adding some sugar-free fruit squash to normal water to give it a bit of flavour.

photo credit: purplevintagespaceprincess via photopin cc
photo credit: purplevintagespaceprincess via photopin cc | Source

4. Eat Some Fruit

A banana is one of the best fruit to have as it contains a lot of potassium and complex carbohydrates which release energies slowly.

A quick biscuit or a chocolate bar may seem more appealing but the sugars in chocolate are processed much more quickly by your digestive system and only gives one quick sugary hit before plummeting your energy right back down again.

5. Give Yourself Smaller Tasks To Do

Rather than struggling trying to complete one large task over the course of the afternoon, try to break your afternoon into hour or half-hour sessions- so you might spend an hour completing that database, then half an hour typing up notes from a meeting. Try to vary the types of tasks you complete as well so for example, if one of your tasks is data entry and another element of your job is more creative you can ‘reward’ yourself after half an hour of the less interesting task with one that makes your brain think in a different way.

6. Look Away From The Screen

Any office Health & Safety guidelines will have told all staff about the importance of taking regular breaks every hour or so to look away from any Display Screen Equipment but how many of us actually comply with these rules?

It is too easy to get absorbed in what you are doing and forget to look away from the computer which, when you are feeling tired and unproductive anyway, can exacerbate your sleepiness. Set up an alert on your computer or phone if you can to remind you to take regular breaks.


7. Make A List

Still struggling to concentrate even on the simplest of tasks? Can’t focus? When all else fails mMake a list of your work streams and the jobs you will need to do the following week.

It may sound like a procrastination exercise but it will help you feel more pro-active and in control. It means that, even if you don’t achieve much for the rest of the afternoon, on Monday morning you will be super-organised and ready to hit the ground running.

The Afternoon Will Soon Be Over

These steps will hopefully help you to bring your focus and concentration back to work and make those slow, tired Friday afternoons run a lot faster and more productively. Before you know it, you’ll be able to log off, kick back and enjoy your weekend.


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    • owlish profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Cheshire

      Thank you for your comments- I've never heard of Workflowy before, I will have to check it out

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      3 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Good tips. For making a list, try the web-based program WorkFlowy.

      Also, if your mind is on the future, on when will quitting time ever come, time passing will seem very slow, but if you keep your attention on the here now moment, you'll enjoy the sights and sounds of your surroundings, respond to your body's needs, such as for a quick stretch and a look away from the screen, and do work tasks with focused attention, and quitting time will arrive supprisingly fast.

    • owlish profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Cheshire

      Thank you for your comment! I find a walk helpful too- or drinking water- we drink a lot of tea and coffee in the office and by mid-afternoon I find water is more likely to wake me up.

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 

      3 years ago from Ireland

      Very useful tips if you are feeling tired and listless at work. I prefer to take a walk when I can and it does help a lot


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