Simple tips to avoid an afternoon slump, stay focused, and get the job done—straight from the people who do it best!
We’ve all helplessly procrastinated on Instagram, stared zombie-like at the computer screen and made the nth bathroom trip while facing a mental road block. You know how it goes: By the time 3 o’clock rolls around, you’re in a slump and the afternoon is shot.
Don’t raid the vending machine just yet. Turns out, a few minor adjustments in your day can free you from Snoozeville. We talked with folks across all industries—a florist, a baker, a marketing maker—and discovered unexpected ways to channel focus and gain motivation.
See how a mini meditation session or a whiff of grapefruit can take you from zero to productivity hero.
“When I’m stuck, I do a mini meditation session. All you have to do is sit up straight, relax your shoulders, jaw and neck, set a timer for one minute, close your eyes, and focus on the rhythm of your breath. I swear those 60 seconds let me have a completely fresh perspective.” —Devani Paige, Yoga and meditation leader at L’Auberge de Sedona Resort & Spa (Sedona, Arizona)
“I divide my duties into like things. This means I tend to all of my computer work one day and work on creative projects the following day. Before setting up this system, I felt like I was running in circles all day long and never achieving anything. Now I can work through the entire process without feeling stressed.” —Alea Joy, Floral designer and co-owner of Solabee Flowers & Botanicals (Portland, Oregon)
“Citrus fragrances work wonders in helping me find focus. Aromatherapy is as simple as breathing. Even a whiff of grapefruit or wild orange essential oil straight from the bottle does the trick.” —Deborah Zie, General manager of Cal-a-Vie Health Spa (Vista, California)
“I work from home and learned that setting small rules keeps me on track. For instance, each night when I am officially done, I organize and straighten up my desk. That way I can get started right away in the morning.” —Rachel Rosenthal, Corporate event planner at Rachel and Company (Washington, D.C.)
“Whenever I need to gather my thoughts, I implement a yogi technique called the Ujjayi breath [a deep diaphragmatic breath through the nose]. It is said to focus the mind while generating an extraordinary amount of internal heat and energy. Even a few minutes of this should revive you.” —Deepti Kapoor, Author of "A Bad Character" (San Francisco, California)
“I try to begin each day with a clutter-free mind. I usually wake up and go through my in-box, then don’t check email again until about noon. This gives me the entire morning to focus my creativity.” —Dan Husserl, Partner at Uhuru Design (Brooklyn, New York)
“I always have a two-liter jug of water on my desk. It serves as a constant reminder to stay hydrated. Otherwise, the day just gets away and I find myself sluggish by mid-afternoon. It really helps with focus and energy.” —Rosie Daykin, Baker and author of "Butter Baked Goods" (Vancouver, Canada)
“I try to make my meetings mobile when possible. If I’m on a conference call and can break away, I like to take it while going for a walk. A dose of fresh air and daylight, away from the office, helps me stay centered.” —Holly Perez, Consumer money expert at Intuit and Mint.com (Mountain View, California)
“Make nutrition a priority. It’s easy to skip meals or grab something unhealthy when you’re busy, but the phrase ‘You are what you eat’ is so true. Healthy meals fuel your brain, optimize circulation, bolster immunity and counter stress. Take the time to seek out nourishing go-to options and stop to eat.” —Cynthia Sass, R.D., Author of "Slim Down Now" (New York, New York)
“I spend a lot of time on the road. This can lead to sporadic availability and unusual work hours. For me, prioritization is crucial. I’m a big fan of Stephen Covey’s time-management matrix, which identifies actions based on their level of importance and urgency.” —Antonia Clark, Head of marketing for Mudderella (Brooklyn, New York)