How Not To Be Tired at Work (With Tips for Building Energy)

Updated February 27, 2023

A bored office worker stamps papers.

Staying alert and productive at work can ensure your success and give you opportunities for career advancement. Many factors can affect your energy levels, like diet, sleep, stress and level of activity. If you work long hours, learning how to maintain your energy levels can help you succeed in your work and balance your job with your personal responsibilities. 

In this article, we explain why it’s important to stay alert at work, provide 10 strategies to not be tired at work and share tips for building your overall energy levels. 

Why is it important to stay alert at work?

There are many benefits to staying alert and focused at work, including:

  • Increased productivity: When you’re focused and energetic at work, you can meet your deadlines and other goals.

  • Fewer errors: Increased energy can improve your accuracy in reporting, calculating and other key tasks.

  • Improved professional relationships: Having energy during your workday can allow you to build stronger bonds with your colleagues, which can improve your collaborative efforts.

  • Ability to learn new skills: When you’re focused and energetic, you might find it easier to improve your skills and learn new ones, like software proficiencies.

  • Enhanced professional reputation: People often see alertness as a sign of confidence and expertise, so avoiding tiredness can help you establish yourself as an authority in your field.

  • Increased safety: In some workplaces, avoiding tiredness can ensure that employees follow important safety measures while handling hazardous materials and performing other challenging tasks.

  • Opportunities for advancement: Showing your employer that you can stay focused during long shifts can increase your chances of a promotion to a senior position.

How to not be tired at work

Here are 10 strategies you can use to alleviate tiredness during your workday:

1. Get some exercise before work 

Exercise can help you activate your mind and generate energy, which can help you stay awake at work. Even doing low-impact exercises can help you focus before your workday starts.

Consider spending a bit of time outside or doing a brief stretch routine before heading to your office. Many exercise videos on the internet can show you best practices and poses to help you gain flexibility. If you don’t currently exercise before work, start slowly and build up to a routine lasting 20 to 30 minutes.

Related: 11 Simple Morning Routines To Start Your Day

2. Use caffeine and sugar strategically 

While coffee and energy drinks can give you a boost when you’re starting your work shift, excessive amounts of these solutions can cause you to lose energy, especially late in the day. Consider reducing your caffeine and sugar intake or scheduling your coffee breaks in the morning.

You might choose to wake up naturally and have a cup of coffee or energy break when you get to work, allowing you to maximize the effect of the caffeine on your productivity. Avoiding caffeine and sugar late in the evenings can also help you sleep better at night.

Related: 25 Steps To Become a Morning Person

3. Eat a midday snack

Eating a midday snack can give you an energy boost during your workday. If you begin to feel fatigued during your shift, consider eating a snack to replenish your energy levels.

Some people benefit from eating a full meal before their workday begins, while others prefer to have several smaller meals over the day. If you’re not sure which solution works for you, try both options and see which one leaves you feeling more energized.

4. Engage with your colleagues

Taking time to connect with your teammates and manager can give you a boost of energy and make you more excited about your work tasks. If you work in an office setting, consider coming in a bit earlier than usual to get to know your colleagues.

Remote companies may have chat platforms and virtual happy hours, where you can connect with colleagues who work in different cities or states. Companies often hold optional socialization events during the lunch hour, so if your workplace has these opportunities, consider taking the time to talk to the other people who work there.

Related: Work Colleagues: Definition and How To Communicate With Them

5. Use stress-relieving techniques 

Stress and tension can make us feel tired, so finding ways to alleviate your stress throughout the day can help you regain your energy. If you encounter a stressful situation, you might take an international break away from your desk, use a stress ball or other device to alleviate tension or perform a mindfulness activity. You can try a few different activities to find an effective way to release tension and restore your energy levels. 

Related: Preventing Burnout: How To Identify and Avoid It

6. Increase water intake

Staying hydrated is a simple way to combat tiredness during the workday. Start your day off with a glass of water, and be sure to drink water regularly throughout the day. You could bring a bottle of water with timestamp labels to ensure that you drink enough water over the day. If you want to increase your physical activity, you might use a smaller bottle and set a phone timer to refill the bottle from the water fountain at regular intervals. 

7. Optimize your schedule 

Learning which tasks take the maximum amount of energy can help you create a schedule that maximizes your effort and keeps you from getting tired. Reflect on your daily tasks and determine which ones are the most draining.

If you can, consider doing these tasks early in the morning to ensure that you have energy left over for the rest of your day. You can also schedule your breaks after completing your more challenging tasks. That way, you can restore your energy before beginning other tasks. 

8. Listen to energizing music

In some jobs, listening to upbeat music can help employees increase their productivity and regain energy. Employees who work in data entry, reporting or other clerical areas might play music throughout their day, while other professionals might play a song to get themselves excited for the day.

While you might not be able to listen to music all day, you can often incorporate music in your breaks or morning commute. If you work in a cubicle setting, consider using headphones to allow your colleagues to work in silence.

9. Change positions if possible 

Standing or sitting in the same place all day can increase tiredness, so shifting or moving around can help you preserve your energy. If you usually sit at your desk, consider investing in a convertible desk, which allows you to stand and sit at different points during the day.

You might ask your manager if your company offers funds for ergonomic workspaces, which might cover a standing or convertible desk. If you stand for most of the day, ask your manager if you can sit on a stool for a few minutes each hour. 

Related: How To Sit Properly at a Desk

10. Brighten up your environment

Having more light in your workspace can help you feel more energized. Consider opening the blinds to let in natural light, turning on more lights in the office space or adding a lamp to your desk to brighten the area.

Increasing the amount of light can be good for spaces that don't normally get a lot of natural light, experience harsh shadows or see limited light at certain times of day, like in the morning or afternoon. If your office has no windows, consider getting a natural light lamp, which can mimic the effect of sunlight indoors.

Related: How To Design an Office in 7 Steps

Tips for building your energy levels

By making some lifestyle adjustments, you can increase the amount of energy you have when you arrive at work, which can keep you from getting tired during the day. Here are some things you can do to have more energy:

Start a regular workout regimen

Adding more physical activity to your daily life outside of work can help you relieve tension and sleep better, which can increase your energy during the workday. Regularity is key to a successful workout strategy, so if you don’t exercise often, start with short, frequent workout sessions. For example, you might go to the gym in your apartment complex for 20 minutes every other day. Once you get into your routine, you might increase the length of your workout gradually.

Related: Offices With Gyms: Advantages for Employees and Employers

Develop a sleep schedule

Having a regular sleep schedule can increase the amount of deep sleep your body gets, which restores your energy. The first step to building a sleep schedule is to determine how much sleep you need.

Adults usually need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. If you’re not sure about your optimal sleep needs, keep a sleep log for a few weeks. Keep track of how many hours of sleep you get each night and take notes about how you feel in the mornings.

Once you’ve found your ideal sleep amount, go to bed early enough to get that amount of sleep before your wake-up time. For example, if you wake up at 7 a.m. to make it to work by 8:30 a.m., you might go to bed by 11 p.m. every night to get eight hours of sleep. If it takes you some time to fall asleep, you might go to bed at 10:30 p.m.

Related: 25 Steps To Become a Morning Person

Optimize your sleep environment

By creating an environment that encourages deep sleep, you can give your body more energy and the rest it needs to recharge for the next day. Before bed, avoid tablets, phones and laptops, which give off light that can disrupt your sleep cycle.

Consider reading a book or writing in a journal. You can also do some light stretches before bed to calm your mind and relax your muscles. If it takes you a long time to get to sleep, consider listening to calming music or drinking a hot cup of tea.

Related: 9 Ways To Avoid Falling Asleep at Work (With Additional Tips)

Take time off

If you're feeling tired at work more often, consider taking some time off. Increased tiredness during the workday can be a sign of illness or burnout. You might take a vacation or stay at home, resting and working on your hobbies. You can also use your time off to establish a sleep schedule, as well as a new workday routine that'll help improve your energy levels once you return.


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