1. QUIT COFFEE
I actually bought into the whole “you need coffee to function” for a few years, but then wised up, and noticed that it was actually doing more harm than good. It can supercharge you for a while, but then it leaves you so devastated afterward, plus the fact that it can cause sleeplessness more often than not really doesn’t make a few hours of high energy activity worth it to me. Besides, I found that if you follow the rest of the tips in this article, you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with those overpriced cups of hot liquid in the first place.
Oh, and yes, I realize that not all people get these sorts of reactions from drinking loads of caffeine. Good for them, but they should at least realize that caffeine is truly addicting, and that if they’re drinking too much on a regular basis, it could cause permanent damage to the digestive system. In that sense, I really don’t think coffee is all that worth it.
2. WORK TO ATTAIN A SPECIFIC GOAL
Our bodies do become genuinely tired, but sometimes, our minds make more of our current condition than is accurate, and this is easily controllable, with a bit of practice. This is how top level athletes can work harder than most individuals, how they can perform better in actual competition, and why many champions over the years have stated that their games, despite being purely physical to the casual observer, is actually 99% mental.
This is because they have a specific goal in mind that they need to accomplish then and there. When you get home and pick up your favorite videogame, you immediately form a specific goal in your head, whether you’re aware of it or not. “Finish at least one stage before bedtime” or “clock in at least an hour of play before the day’s out” are probably the most common variations. When you click on your favorite’s sites latest articles, your goal is probably to read all of them in that instant.
The same technique can be used in the rest of your life. Most of the time, this downtime occurs during a working environment of some sort, and is usually caused by genuine disinterest. “I’ve been here doing the exact same thing for five hours now. I want out!” All thoughts of efficiency float out of your head and you just slump into your chair.
Instead of forcing yourself to become genuinely interested in work you really don’t like, attempt to at least break your activities down into several steps, and accomplish those steps in a matter of time of your choosing. “Step A should be done in less than half an hour, then step B should be finished within ten minutes …” and so on. Make a game of it and race yourself to the finish line. The added goals and pressure you’ve created should definitely help keep you awake and on your toes.
3. REGULARLY GET ENOUGH SLEEP
No, d’uh, right? Well, sure, but, still, not a lot of people follow this very simple rule of performing your best throughout the day. I make sure to get at least 7.5 hours each night as much as possible, and just so I can have some buffer time for that (since I’m not one of those people who can nod off at the drop of a hat), I actually allot a full 8 hours. It’s a simple goal that I adhere to as much as possible, and it pays off wonderfully.
If I can’t meet that goal, then I have a Plan B to replace it: I make sure that I get at least 6 hours of sleep instead, and allot 6.5 hours of bedtime. Beyond that, I’ll most probably feel sluggish most of the next day, so I try to make that as late as possible.
The reason a lot of people don’t get enough sleep is that they don’t plan for it. Some people can get by with very minimal sleep (something like five hours or less), but most people can’t function regularly like this.
If you have to get up at a certain time, say 6:00 AM, then allot your preferred sleep period (such as my 8 hours), and get to bed before then. Think of it as another deadline to fill, and should you miss it, there will be consequences.
If you’re staying up because of work, it can most probably be put off until tomorrow, if you’re cramming it, then make this the last time, plan out your work habits more efficiently in the future and sleep more regularly. You’ll consistently feel better every single day and you’ll enjoy much reduced stress. Your body will feel better and will thank you for it.
4. EAT RIGHT
Food is your body’s fuel. If you feed it crap, it performs like crap. Therefore, if you feed it overly processed foods and junk most of the time, it’ll run like a lemon most of the time.
Regularly eating a balanced diet is a key component in performing well throughout the day. Athletes have excellent diets in order to perform their best throughout training and competition, and not just so they can stay within their weight limits.
Eat fresh as much as possible, and avoid fast food and vending machine options. Eat whenever you’re hungry, consume plenty of fresh vegetables of all sorts, good protein such as chicken breast, fish, and egg whites, and if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, pick up your favorite fruit instead of that Snickers bar. Eating healthy will have your tank running in its best possible condition.
5. PERFORM PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES
Yes, exercise can give you a quick energy boost whenever you’re feeling physically down in the dumps. It might sound counterintuitive, but just perform a quick workout, like the simple, but effective, home workout I previously suggested, a quick jog around the area, or pop in your favorite workout DVD and go a few rounds and you could feel right as rain.
If you’re still at work, go outside and walk around for maybe 15 minutes, or until your energy systems pick up. Lots of workers are allowed breaks for the most unhealthiest of habits (e.g. smoking), so it should only be logical that breaks be allowed for some of the healthiest activities around.
Carry a water bottle with you as you go, take in some sun, and enjoy the scenery. Try to go around a path with very little cars going by, to avoid inhaling the pollution. You’re trying to pick up your energy systems and become more healthy, not do the opposite, after all.
It can also help if you substituted short walks like this throughout your working day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, parking your car a few blocks away, and so on, so that you can pick up the pace and supercharge your energy systems.
6. TAKE A POWER NAP
I follow all of these techniques regularly and feel great throughout the day all the time. Sometimes, though, you really can’t help it if you feel really down during the day, or if you spent the night finishing a project. In that case, taking a quick power nap, of 15 – 30 minutes length, could really perk you right back up, better than any cup of joe ever could.
If you have your own office, then that will be easier, since you can just tell people not to disturb you for 30 minutes and lie down. You could also try napping with your feet up to increase the circulation throughout your body, making you feel even better.
If you don’t have an office, and your bosses absolute refuse for you take naps on your desk, then you should probably be a bit more creative if you really need to take a nap. Some people drive out to a park or any relaxing, open area during their breaks to nap for half an hour. Just try not to do this anywhere too dangerous, like while standing up during a commute on a train. Napping during bus trips home could also be fulfilling, as long as your confident enough about your security, that is.
These are all the techniques I use to keep my energy levels up, and they have worked splendidly for me over the years. Have any other great techniques that aren’t listed here but work wonders for you? I’d like to hear them!