Trying to be productive while nearly asleep at your desk is the worst. Your ability to find ways to stay alert when it seems impossible will propel you toward achieving your long-term goals, despite how tired you might be. That said, here are nine simple ways you can boost your productivity and keep your current job until you can find one that pays you to sleep.
1. Drink water
Cold water can be revitalizing. Grab a tall glass to wake yourself up, but a slap to the face with cold water works too.
2. Get some sun
Open the blinds and take a look around. Do you notice anything? In case you missed it, every living thing is getting its energy from the sun. Do yourself a favor: Let the sun in to give you a burst of warm energy.
3. Do some jumping jacks
Getting your body moving is a great way to muster up some energy to get you to the finish line (or at least the rest of your work day).
One study concluded that some smells make us "more vigilant, leading to greater energy." One of those aromas is peppermint! If you don't have the essential oil on hand, surely you have access to a mint or a stick of gum.
5. Have a snack
Try nuts, or another form of protein. Skip the fries or anything too heavy, then you'll just have "the itis," and there's no going back from there.
6. Light a candle
If you don't have gum, and you've already asked the entire office, try keeping a candle at your desk. Apparently, different scents evoke different emotions, physical and cognitive responses. You can try cinnamon for staying on task and lavender for concentration.
7. Tug on your ears
Apparently some basic acupuncture not only relieves stress, but also makes you more alert by simply applying firm pressure on different acupuncture points. (I'm tugging my ear with one hand and writing with the other, I'd say it's working.)
8. Take a timeout
Take a timeout from the emails, step away from the project you have due by morning, and yes, the text messages and phone calls can wait. All of it drains your energy. Take a moment to breathe, regroup and gather your thoughts. This is not the time for shut-eye, but it's definitely a time for stretching your legs and shaking off drowsiness.
9. Power nap
If you must, take 20 minutes. No more, no less. A midday nap has many benefits, including boosting your memory, your cognitive ability, and enhancing your overall performance.