You can see the finish line. You can’t quite touch it yet. You’re not that close. You can see it, though. It’s right there on the horizon. As you’re counting off how many more paces you’ll make to get through the last few miles, you must admit, you’re getting tired. You feel your energy starting to wane. Your enthusiasm is sagging. You want a break, and at the same time, you want to push through to the end.
If we were talking about a running marathon, we’d delve into tips on how to push through the pain and pace yourself through the home stretch. However, this is a different sort of marathon. This is a beautiful, summer day with a pile of work on your desk a mountain high. This is a long week of deadlines and demands. You want to call it a day but you need to finish this last spreadsheet. You consider a stroll to the café for a caffeine pick-me-up, but the deadline is looming and the walk will tax your already waning resource of time. So, now what?
Sitting with your shoulders hutched over a keyboard for a long stretch can ratchet up the tension even without the deadlines and related stress. Those tight muscles aren’t doing much to help your concentration or enthusiasm. Raise your arms above your head and reach up as high as you can. If you can stand to get your whole body into it, all the better. A few good neck rolls, and a quick twist or two at the waist will have you back on task and notably refreshed. Trust me.
Take a deep breath. Then let it out. Repeat. Even if you wouldn’t consider yourself to be stressed, there’s a certain sense of urgency and importance attached to working on a deadline. Stress can create shallow breathing. Slow it down. You’ll feel the relaxation spread through you.
Pump it up with protein
You want that coffee; maybe even that chocolate bar from the vending machine. The combo of caffeine and sugar will surely give you the energy to finish out your day. Right? Not so fast. Skip the sugar rush-and-crash scenario by noshing on a high-protein snack. It’ll recharge you and keep you going. There’s nothing wrong with a good cup of coffee or bar of chocolate (in fact, there’s a lot right with both of those things!). Just don’t use them as your energy crutch.
The smell of peppermint can be invigorating. You could keep fresh peppermint on your desk as clippings in a jar of water or a potted plant. Peppermint candies and essential oils are both viable options, too.
Go ahead and watch that kitten
It can be easy to be pulled into the vortex of internet memes and adorable cat videos. If you can muster the self-discipline to limit yourself to a five-minute foray, give your brain a mini-break and take a gander at something cute. If you need some official science-backed evidence to make this one okay for you, get this: A team of researchers at the University in Japan found that pictures of baby animals can have powerful effects on attention and concentration.