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How To Stay Awake At Work

January 10, 2018

I just shotgunned a Red Bull, ate a caffeine pill, and ripped a line of sweet smelling Gatorade into my water bottle. And yet, I’m still struggling to keep my eyes open as if they were closing garage doors with a kid sticking their foot in the sensor every minute to keep them open.


I thought this stuff got easier after graduation. Did I mention that it’s only 1:00 pm? Struggle bus ticket for one, please.


Why is it that despite how much sleep I get, whether it’s two hours or ten, I’m still exhausted halfway through the day? Let’s see what solutions there are to keep you from head-butting your keyboard again to stay awake.


I’m most tired at the beginning of the work day. Well, there are four major things that can help you get the boost for a productive day. One is getting enough sleep the night before. 8-10 hours is the magic window, and falling asleep at the same time each night is critical.


Working out before work adds a massive boost of oxygen to the blood and brain, acting like a Starbucks coffee mixed with cocaine. Caffeine can be helpful for those days you don’t get enough sleep, but use this in moderation or its effects will decrease over time.


Finally, a big breakfast with plenty of food groups, carbs after workout, and a mint can help jump start your mind for the grind.


I’m bored. I get it. You’re checking the same email inbox waiting for something to come in. Or you’re refreshing the same Facebook feed hoping something engaging will pop up.


Maybe you’re unlocking the same smartphone only to reveal no one has texted you in the 17 seconds since you last checked it. STOP THIS. I KNOW THE DOPAMINE FEELS GOOD BUT YOUR BRAIN IS TURNING INTO A SUN DRIED RAISIN.


You’re setting your brain into reactive mode, and it’s allowing you to slip into a pattern of craving external stimulation for energy. If you want something that will last, find it within.


Create an opportunity, write something, start a conversation, plan out your day, read. Anything that puts you in the driver’s seat wires your brain to shift into sixth gear instead of idling in neutral.


I’m most tired at the end of the day. Join the club. We’re all tired af by the end of the day. Hopefully because we’ve been working. It’s natural. Don’t freak out. You’re not going to live in this cycle of zombie mode forever.


The important thing is to reflect on what kind of tired you are. Is it because you spent all day watching the clock and appearing busy, or because you focused and did something productive?


Usually the latter is easier to bounce back from because you know your energy was well spent, leaving you fulfilled. The former can program your brain into apathetic mode, making it harder to start new tasks since you’re beginning from a state of eye-rolling exhaustion.


This list isn’t failproof – I’ve already admitted to having a caffeine blood level of 0.1. But taking some steps in advance and being aware of where your energy is going can help you stay alive in your ambitious hopes to change the world.


Or bring the boss coffee, whatever your job today might be.


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