Daylight savings. We love it when we gain that extra blessed hour of sleep—and hate it when it means it’s pitch black by the time we leave the office.
No doubt your productivity takes a hit during this dark time of year. And I’d guess that by 4 or 5 PM, you’re ready to get the hell out of there (winter Fridays, anyone?).
So, how can we stay focused and determined when there’s a lot on our plates but we can barely keep our eyes open?
These tips might do the trick:
1. Get Moving
Coffee only works up to a certain point and I’m guessing if you’re reading this, you’ve already done some self-caffeinated medication.
Instead of reaching for another mug, add some movement into your routine. The act of getting up and away from your desk will make it feel less like you’re trapped in the office when you don’t want to be, and studies show that moving really does wake you up. (You have free will! You can leave and come back at any point!)
So, get up and stretch, start a walk-around-the-office club, or even do some simple desk exercises, and you’ll instantly feel a bit better. Trust us, just try it.
2. Put on Some Tunes
If you’ve been listening to the buzz of silence and other people packing up their bags, you’re probably starting to go crazy—and the lack of light sure isn’t helping.
Right now, I want you to try putting on some music (or, if you can, a podcast) to jolt your brain back into work mode. Plus, the noise will prevent you from dosing off when the darkness is just that soothing.
(Pst: We know just the playlist to listen to.)
3. Try an App
Sometimes, you just got to recruit some outside help to get motivated. Have no fear! These 11 apps will encourage you to avoid distractions, stay focused on one task at a time, and even create a reward system for accomplishing things. So one’s bound to work!
4. Embrace “Comfort” Mode
Hear me out, but the lack of sunlight can actually be cozy with the right mindset (especially for all you night owls out there).
So, if it’s just too impossible to avoid the dark, embrace it instead. When the sun goes down in your office, pull out a blanket (or an oversized sweater), dim the harsh light on your computer screen a bit, and make yourself a cup of tea.
Sure, you have to keep working into the nighttime, but who says you can’t be comfortable while you do it?
5. Do the Easiest Stuff Last
Finally, if you can, organize your to-dos so that all the easy, mindless, not urgent stuff is saved for when the sun’s gone—answering emails, filling in spreadsheets, scheduling meetings.
This way, if you want to stop midway and head home earlier than usual, you’ll feel good knowing all the most important stuff is done and out of the way.
I know. It’s a rough time of year to be productive, but unfortunately you can’t leave work when the sun does. But I know that if you try out these tips, you’d be surprised just how survivable it is.
Photo of person at office courtesy of Hero Images/Getty Images.
Previously an editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She’s written almost 500 articles for The Muse on anything from productivity tips to cover letters to bad bosses to cool career changers, many of which have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., CNBC's Make It, USA Today College, Lifehacker, Mashable, and more. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer and reader, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.More from this Author