Help! I feel brain-dead…how can I possibly be productive?

You eat well, you get enough sleep, you exercise every day, but your energy’s at rock-bottom. Maybe it’s toward the end of the work day. Maybe it’s the end of the week.  Maybe it’s the first day of your menstrual cycle. Maybe your biorhythms are at a natural ebb. Or maybe it’s the dead of winter, and any sane mammal would be hibernating instead of driving to work while it’s still dark out. Whatever the problem, here are a few quick fixes that can help you get back on track.

1. Recharge regularly. If you’re staring at a computer all day, you’re probably not moving much — and lack of movement translates to lack of energy. Take a break and do something that gets you moving.

2. Get outside and get some sunshine. A lack of fresh air and sunshine deprives your body not only of fresh oxygen but also of Vitamin D, which is produced by sunlight falling on your skin. You need at least 10 minutes of sunlight a day.

3. Stretch at your desk. If your muscles are stiff, tight, and sore, that means they’re too tense. The more tension in your muscles, the less power you have, because tenseness impedes oxygen and blood flow, resulting in lower energy.

4. Strike a pose. Lack of flexibility can lead to lower energy. However, studies show that people who practice yoga are less anxious, have more efficient heart and respiratory function, and are more resistant to stress.

5. Engage in some silliness. If you take life too seriously, you’re setting yourself up for stress, depression, and physical ailments that can sap your energy. Instead, start a silly hobby, tell your co-worker a joke, or read a Calvin and Hobbes book.

6. Try some aromatherapy. Recharge your energy by jolting your sense of smell. Keep small bottles of invigorating scented oils like lavender, lemon oil, orange, and spearmint at your desk, and take a whiff when you’re feeling down.

7. Try some ancient exercises. One way to avoid modern-world burnout is to be willing to try something old. Ear rubs, acupressure, and deep breathing can all help you release some of that pent-up pressure that can lead to energy loss.

8. Feel good in your skin. Ditch clothing that makes you uncomfortable; that’ll only lead to irritation and associated energy loss. Wear sensible shoes, avoid ties, try colorful clothing, and if you’re a woman, go braless occasionally — every hour you wear a bra makes it more likely you’ll end up with breast cancer.

So open your mind and get out the door; take a deep breath and strike a pose; or act like a kid and laugh ’til it hurts.  These tricks also come in handy for an energy boost during your mid-afternoon break, or when you’re trying to get off the caffeine roller coaster. 

© 2008 Laura Stack.  Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author, and professional speaker who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with Maximum Results in Minimum Time™. She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress organizations.  Since 1992, Laura has presented keynotes and seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today’s workplaces.  She is the bestselling author of three works published by Broadway Books: The Exhaustion Cure (2008), Find More Time (2006) and Leave the Office Earlier (2004).  Laura is a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, and Day-Timers®, Inc and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her clients include Cisco Systems, Sunoco, KPMG, Nationwide, and 3M.  To have Laura speak at your next event, call 303-471-7401.  Visit to sign up for her free monthly productivity newsletter.