1

votes

Most days in the late afternoon, my brain goes to mush.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 17, 2013 at 7:57 AM

Does this happen to anyone else? I feel like a zombie sometimes!

I can't sit. I'll start slouching and eventually I'm completely zoning out of what I'm reading. Some of the thoughts that go into my head are "I just don't care about what I have to do right now" or "I feel sooo tired" or "I actually don't feel that tired, but I just can't focus on this and I want to go out and enjoy the weather or something".

About 75% of the afternoons, I feel that I should either take a nap (and sometimes do), or I'll go over to some of my favorite cubicles for a conversation with a coworker that too often lasts longer than I'd like. The issue is that productivity is essential for my work success right now, and it drops precipitously in the afternoons until when I leave work.

I've made some changes in my diet and noticed that more fats and less sugars sometimes helps. I'm also really hoping to keep a better record of my eating (including a breakdown of macro-nutrients and complex/simple sugars) to see if this is truly the case and to what degree diet makes a difference. But I've also noticed that depending on what I'm working on (more focus while I'm coding or writing something versus reading or searching for something), I can be truly focused even with a sub-optimal meal (some gluten, sugar, and lack of fat). Because diet doesn't seem to be the only thing contributing to my focus or my day, this makes me less committed to eating healthy.

I'm also jealous of some of my co-workers who are almost machine-like in their work ethic and yet eat all the junk foods I try to stay away from, but I'll save this from turning into a rant. This is what I consider ideal. Even if I had to eat poor food sometimes, I'd like to be able to have a sharp mind. My genetics won't allow for that, so my goal is to at least be able to modify diet, exercise, etc... to train myself to be able to work for long hours, esp. in the afternoons and evenings, without losing focus!

Anyways, what are some of the things you have done that have improved your mental function at work? If possible, describe what your focus has been before, after, now, or what you would like it to be in the future. Thanks!

4cbc4488855b0421943b57de0a9018c2

(212)

on March 17, 2013
at 09:13 PM

Thanks for the tips.

4cbc4488855b0421943b57de0a9018c2

(212)

on March 17, 2013
at 09:10 PM

A few questions. If you get tired after moderate exercise, what does this mean? I'm not overweight, but sometimes I'll get tired if I workout, especially if I wake up groggy. I do have enough sleep however, and it's pretty good sleep overall.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on March 17, 2013
at 11:09 AM

Get more sleep.

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3 Answers

6
5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on March 17, 2013
at 11:39 AM

I used to be a zombie at work in the afternoons and would have horrid sugar cravings. I used to attempt the good ol afternoon cup of coffee with my co workers but found that coffee in the afternoon made my sleep like hell.

My hacks that have made a huge difference:

  1. Switched from coffee to green tea. If you love/need your coffee try having just one cup in the morning then replacing your other cups with tea/water and no coffee in the afternoon (it may keep you up at night, depends on the person)
  2. Exercise first thing in the morning if you can -- this makes a huge difference in my alertness all day long and gives me energy
  3. Try a lighter lunch focusing on hq protein and veggies, try to avoid heavy/starchy foods
  4. Drink water -- if you're starting to get that groggy feeling take a big gulp of water, you may just be thirsty
  5. If water doesn't help get out if your cube and if you can take a quick brisk walk outside or by the windows with some natural light. At lunch I always try to get outside for a walk esp if your job is coding (same here) because your eyes are glued on your screen pretty non stop. I used to break at my desk but really, it was still tiring for my eyes to read blogs at lunch even though I thought I was breaking
  6. Think about your cube -- is it too dark? Is your chair comfortable? Screen too close? Little things can suck our energy. I brought in some big green plants and got a lumee lamp to emulate the sun which made a huge difference for me! I also requested a better chair (some companies will even give ergonomic assessments and provide you with a new desk/chair if you ask) and that seemed to help. I also switch between sitting on a bosu ball and my chair in the afternoon because it keeps me engaged. It's a personal preference.
  7. Have you had your eyes checked? I never thought I really needed glasses until I had an eye exam recently and the doctors suggested it. I noticed this made a massive improvement in my energy because I didn't realize how much straining my eyes was tiring me out -- you'd be surprised!
  8. Sleep is so important. Magnesium makes a huge difference for me. Check out this great article on sleep by Mark Sisson...maybe you can find something useful on there that will improve your sleep and make a difference -- I know I did!

Hope something there helps! I know everyone is different but these are some of the things that made a big impact on my work performance -- I even recently just got a raise because of my work ethic and I personally think without these hacks I'd still be in la la land in the afternoons :-).

Good luck!

4cbc4488855b0421943b57de0a9018c2

(212)

on March 17, 2013
at 09:13 PM

Thanks for the tips.

4cbc4488855b0421943b57de0a9018c2

(212)

on March 17, 2013
at 09:10 PM

A few questions. If you get tired after moderate exercise, what does this mean? I'm not overweight, but sometimes I'll get tired if I workout, especially if I wake up groggy. I do have enough sleep however, and it's pretty good sleep overall.

1
37cc142fbb183f2758ef723a192e7a9d

(1353)

on March 17, 2013
at 12:30 PM

"I'm not actually that tired but I want to go enjoy the weather or something"...

Listen to your body/mind!

You may be suffering from ODS. (Office Drone Syndrome).

Get out of the office, breathe some fresh air 3-4 times a day, even if it's only for 5-10 minutes. Preferably jogging or at least walking briskly. Try a standing work station. Graze. QUIT COFFEE. Drink tea and water instead. I did all these things and transformed my work day, felt more energized and had more mental endurance.

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