5 Hacks for When You’ve Hit a Wall at Work

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Because you can’t make the clock go faster.

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It’s practically a daily rite of passage to hit the brakes on your work just a few hours from the finish line. But don’t give up hope yet – no matter how far your couch at home seems from your desk. Here are some clever hacks to help pull you out of that afternoon trough.

Have a waiter on hand

Feel so swamped you can hardly leave your desk? That’s exactly the reason you should step away from your computer. Give yourself a little nudge with a super smart kettle, like the iKettle 2.0 of the Smart Coffee machine, which lets you remotely brew or boil your kettle from your desk. You can even set it to a timer so your cup of coffee is ready at 3pm every day, forcing you out of your seat to grab it (and take some time away from your task list to relish it).

Watch a LOL-worthy video

Your workplace might disagree and while we don’t necessarily advocate you falling down a two-hour rabbit hole of puppy videos (we’ve all been there on a Tuesday), giving your brain a break is actually proven to boost productivity. The important caveat to this is that you time your break and ensure you give yourself an allotted time off so you know exactly when to go back. Set a timer on your phone, get up from the desk, head to the kitchen and press play. Whether it’s a montage of baby monkeys riding backwards on a pig (a timeless classic) or an inspirational TED Talk, give your mind a rest and take the pressure off for 15 minutes.

Make a pick-me-up pack

You know a dip in your energy levels is bound to hit at some point during your day, so why not prep in advance for it? We recommend topping up your pack with items that help you get through a slump, rather than distract you from your work.

While your instinct might suggest you shouldn’t snack for an afternoon pick me up, studies say you actually should – as long as it’s healthy. If you’re putting down the chocolate biscuits, you’ll want something just as good to hit the spot: gathering some almonds with dried cranberries is a good option, as is swiping some carrot sticks through a snack like Chobani Mezé Dips (and devouring the whole tub – it’s OK, they’re yogurt-based and full of protein, keeping you fuller for longer) are both a healthy and delicious bet for an afternoon boost.

Essentials oils, in oil or mist form, are also a great way to wake up your senses or stimulate your mind (rosemary, which can assist with reversing mental fatigue, and peppermint, which helps to boost concentration and clear your mind, are particularly good stimulants) and a copy of a helpful office yoga book to remind you to strike a simple pose before diving back in are great places to start.

Get a dopamine top up

Headphones aren’t just a great way to let people in your office know you’re in the zone, they can also offer a handy wake-up. Take the clever NERVANA headphones – not only can you listen to your favourite tunes, but it also stimulates the vagus nerve in synchronicity with your chosen music. It’s your vagus nerve that calms you down if you’ve got an excess of cortisol and adrenaline in your body (stressful morning? Yeah, we thought so). Stimulating it in this way is intended to help you calm down and de-stress, in case you’ve been wound up all day.

Time yourself

Studies show that time-based tasks, as well as working under pressure, is a great driver for productivity. At that time of the afternoon, the hours until 5pm seem to be the longest in existence, but if you break up your tasks and only make yourself commit to a short burst of work, you’ll actually be more likely to want to continue, giving you that little bit of extra fuel. 30/30 is one of the best work timing apps out there – it isn’t super high tech, but there’s a clear clock timer and you can add your tasks all in one go, essentially plotting out your entire day’s worth of tasks (if you prefer that). It’s like a timed to-do list that will remind you to take time to actually get your work done. Genius.

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