How to Beat the Dreaded Midday Work Slump (No, Coffee Is Not the Answer)

You totally know the feeling: It’s 2 p.m. and you’re sitting at your desk feeling what is best described as a lethal combination (at least for your productivity levels) of narcolepsy and total disinterest in anything and everything work-related. So, what do you do? You run to Starbucks and order a coconut milk latte — with an extra shot of espresso, of course. But as Fast Company reports, new research from smartwatch company Pebble suggests that coffee may not actually be your best bet when it comes to rebounding from an afternoon work slump.

Pebble recently gathered data measuring the moods and energy levels of over 10,000 users throughout the course of a week, getting an inside look at when folks are happiest (and least happy) and the most energetic at work. Fast Company talked with Pebble’s head of data, Susan Holcomb, to flesh out some of the greatest takeaways from the data when it comes to improving workplace culture and happiness. One finding that anyone who suffers from the dreaded mid-afternoon work slump (so everyone) should take note of:

“From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., people report a cascading slump in energy, which is why it can be so hard to stay productive in the afternoon. Holcomb thinks it’s a good time to try yoga or general exercise, both of which gave study participants more energy directly following the activity — a greater boost than reported from caffeine … People didn’t just report more energy after yoga, they were happier, too (an effect that has been shown in other studies).”

When it came to activities that boosted energy, according to Pebble’s data, the top five looked like this; yoga, then exercise, then socializing, then alcohol (oddly), THEN caffeine. This supports previous research, which has found that even a 30-minute midday walk can significantly improve workers’ moods and enthusiasm, both of which are linked to productivity levels. So next time you get the urge to run out and grab a coffee from the closest shop (because MUST. Keep. Eyes. Open.), you may want to reroute to an express yoga class — or even just get in a quick power walk around the neighborhood. And psst: If you’re in need of more suggestions to boost your work productivity, we’ve got plenty here.

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