Increasing Energy and Afternoon Productivity

27356484_10156059473118607_2411223696349477133_oIf you are like most people, you experience a mid-afternoon slump causing a loss in energy and productivity between 2-5pm. If you find yourself relying on coffee, soda, chocolate bars or energy drinks to get you through the afternoon, you’ll be happy to know that there are definite action steps that are much healthier that you can take to reduce the loss in energy in the afternoon. I recently presented the following 10 Tips to the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce members to help enhance energy and productivity.

Opt Outside For 10 Minutes

The fresh air, Vitamin D and movement will get your blood flowing, endorphins flowing and you’ll feel so much better. Perhaps, invite a colleague and you can also Walk & Talk and get a work meeting done on the go. You’ll return to your desk feeling energized and ready to tackle the rest of the day.

Recess for Lunch

Just like kids need a break from school, adults need a break from work activities to reset and come back more productive. Schedule a lunch time workout at a gym close to your work or meet a co-worker for a lunch walk or run. Talk to your employer to discuss whether it’s possible to have a trainer or instructor come to the office to lead everyone through a quick 30 minute express workout. It’s worth the investment because it will increase team morale and enhance productivity.

Get Up Often

You’ve probably heard that sitting is the new smoking so if you sit at your desk for extended periods of time, you need to set a timer to assure that you are getting up and moving at least every hour. Also, consider investing in a variable desk that will allow you to sit or stand while you work so you can adjust your body’s position. Holding the same posture for extended periods of time is not good for you back and decreases energy.

Perform a Few Anti-Gravity Stretches

If you are working at your desk for extended periods at a time, your hip flexors are in a shortened position, your upper back is hunched and rounded and your shoulders are slouched forward. So at least every hour, do a couple stretches to counteract those positions. Stand up, put your hands on your low back and look to the ceiling. Place your hands behind your head, look towards the ceiling and press your elbows back and down. Stand on one leg and grab your foot on the other leg and bring your heel towards your hips/glutes. Taking a couple minutes to perform a few of these types of stretches will go a long way towards enhancing your energy, productivity and improving posture.

Deep Breathing and Brain Exercises

When your energy is draining, take 60 seconds to focus on deep, slow breathing. Often, just oxygenating your blood can make you feel more awake and alert. You can also try some brain exercises such as massaging your head, ears and forehead to increase blood flow to your brain and make you feel more energized. Try contracting and relaxing muscles in your face and head to also get the blood flowing causing you to feel more awake.

Drink Water, Green Tea or Kumbucha

If you find yourself relying on multiple cups of coffee or energy drinks in the afternoon, opt for water, green tea or Kumbucha instead. They will all keep you hydrated which will improve your energy and are healthier alternatives.

Have a light, protein-rich lunch

Consuming a big lunch heavy on the carbs is a sure way to feel a mid-afternoon slump. Instead opt for a light lunch with about 500-600 calories with some protein which will provide you sustained energy. Have a light, mid-afternoon snack – If you find yourself grabbing for a chocolate bar, pastry or other processed, high-sugar snacks, instead try something healthier between 100-150 calories. Try banana and almond butter, veggies and hummus, or cottage cheese and fruit. It will be a quick pick-me-up without a subsequent energy crash.

Schedule social meetings, brainstorming sessions or other fun, stimulating, more-fullfilling work-related activities in the afternoon

If you schedule your day so you plan for more enjoyable activities in the afternoon, you’ll be less likely to suffer that afternoon slump. Do the most important activities in the morning when you have the most energy and schedule the most enjoyable activities in the afternoon when you need to be energized.

Check Out for 20 Minutes – When you find yourself lagging, take 20 minutes to do something that will energize or inspire you.

  • TED Talk – a 20 minute inspirational talk can get you fired up and ready to tackle the rest of your day.
  • Read an inspirational article – keep an archive of articles you want to read when you have the time.
  • Update your To-Do and Done lists and highlight the one thing that you should do that would be the most impactful for the last couple hours of your day. It can be motivating to know that you only have one really important thing left to do.
  • Add to your Bucket List – Writing things down that you’re excited about can increase your motivation for all of your activities.
  • Social Media – Sometimes you just need a brain-dead activity but be careful because 20 minutes can quickly turn into an hour drastically decreasing your productivity. Set  a timer and allow yourself only 20 minutes.
  • Nap – If you have the opportunity, many world-class leaders swear by an afternoon nap to revitalize the rest of their day.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan


Cover Clover Run 2016Join us for the…..COUVE CLOVER RUN – 3, 7 & 10 MILES – March 25th, 2018
Celebrate in your festive green while running or walking 3, 7 or 10 miles along an extremely fast and scenic course to support local charities! We will make you earn your post-event party but it will be off the charts hosted by Main Event and other downtown Vancouver Pubs & Breweries.




Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

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