The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Are you falling asleep at work? Try these 7 alternatives!
Kindergarten taught us all something that we seemed to have forgotten and should have taken advantage of when it was offered: Nap time should definitely be a requirement. In fact, there are businesses in European countries and Israel where shops close around a range of hours from 11 AM to 1 PM, 12 PM to 2 PM, or 2 PM to 4 PM. Unfortunately in the United States, businesses may take a lunch break for an hour, but falling asleep during work hours is hardly a thought.
It would be a perfect world to say that we all go to work and are able to focus for the 7 or 8 hours that we actually do work. We grab a cup of coffee, talk strictly business with our co-workers, read our emails, answer our emails, attend a meeting or two, get straight to work, go to lunch, come back from lunch, then continue working straight on till we go home — in a perfect world. There are times where we get bored of some of the more mundane tasks and other times it could just be due to lack of sleep or focus. While sleeping on the job may not lead to immediate termination, the fact that you were caught sleeping was noted and may be brought up against you if such behavior continues. If you find yourself falling asleep at work, here are some things you can do to avoid sleep altogether or even make a little sleep happen during work.
1. Stand up and stretch.
Walk around, talk to someone, or use the bathroom. Just getting up and doing something will take your mind off your mundane tasks and allow you to refresh yourself. If the office you work in has several floors, climb up and down the stairs several times until you feel you are awake.
2. Go outside.
You may not be a smoker, but going outside will help you to clear your mind, get refreshed, feel the fresh air, and allow you to come back inside ready to work again. If it is winter time, the cold air will certainly wake you up. You may even want to walk around the building a few times.
3. Play a game on your computer.
While frowned upon if you are caught, you may find it helpful to play a lively game. You can visit the Games section on Confessions of the Professions, which offers a series of fun, addicting, and mostly quiet games that you can play for a few minutes in order to wake yourself up.
4. Let sleep happen.
Most people do not let it happen. They fight it and in the end, sleep ends up winning in the form of you dozing off, even if it is just for a few minutes. You should probably not fall asleep at your desk or out in the open, but if you have your
cell phone, most companies offer two 15-minute breaks. Set an alarm for about 15 minutes, head to your car, and take a short nap. You may even want to combine those two breaks into one half hour break. If you have a lunch break, which is usually a half hour to an hour, you may want to take a longer nap and catch up on your rest. Make sure you set your alarm so you can wake up and make it back in time, though you should still have a snack handy, as the energy from food will help keep you awake.
Eating a snack or food will allow you to get up and do something. It will take your mind off your mundane tasks and focus on some food. Snacking on something will keep you chewing and keep you awake. You could also have an agreement with other employees to bring in random snacks so you all can share and have snack time together at designated times throughout the day. A different random snack every day and every week will keep everyone excited and guessing at the snack of the day.
Not snacking, but drinking something like coffee, an energy drink, or a drink of water can also help to keep you awake.
7. Have a side project.
Most companies want you to come to work and solely focus on your task-at-hand for the company. Google used to let its employees spend 20% of their time working on a self-project — so long as it was productive. Other companies are starting this trend as well and it may be a suggestion for your company to allow it too.
You may have to find a balance. While you may not be able to completely focus on something you are working on because any task projects for your company are priority, but practiced multi-tasking on your company project and your own project will allow you to keep going back and forth, which keeps your mind fresh, and interested.
Make sure that the majority of your time is spent working on the projects that your company has assigned to you and ensure those tasks are done correctly. Otherwise, you may lose privileges to work on your own projects.
If you really cannot do any of the above and must remain at your desk and work on your task until completion, you may just want to paint eyes on your eyelids so that when you close them, it will look like your eyes are still wide open, like this guy did. He may look creepy and disturbing at first, but it goes away when you realize he just has his eyes closed.
Matthew Gates is a freelance web designer and currently runs Confessions of the Professions.