For a while, it seemed like every single day at some point around 2 or 3 PM, the life had been sucked out of me. I would feel drained and exhausted, neither of which aids productivity. But, I seemed to make it through everyday with the help of my crutch — coffee!

Recently, a good friend challenged me to scale down the expensive (and likely unhealthy) coffee habit. We both were getting used to functioning with several cups a day. For the month of May, we tried to be coffee-free and opt for tea, water and other energizing behaviors instead. Part of the coffee addiction involved loving the taste, for sure. However, after a few days of feeling groggy, I realized it also had a lot to do with the energy boost it seemed to provide. In order to remain excited and productive, I needed to enforce some new behaviors.

Here are some that worked for me and made the May days bearable given my lack of my beloved coffee bean:

  • Schedule your day in advance. Plan your to-do list before bed or at the start of the day and do the mundane tasks earlier. Plan to do the tasks that excite you most in the middle of the day so you can be energized by doing work you enjoy.
  • Take a break from the work. Force yourself to create a distance for a few minutes. This enhances creativity and increases happiness. Go outside and walk around the block. Get moving. Do some stretches. Engage in small talk for a few minutes. Give yourself time in the day to remove yourself from your office chair.
  • Put down your phone and computer. Give your eyes rest as well and do some tasks that don’t involve looking at your devices for the time of day when you are feeling the sleepiest. This could be a great time to take calls or check progress on a to-do list.
  • Schedule in small talk. Catch up with colleagues helps break up the monotony of the day. Schedule in a set amount of time for small talk. Network with your peers. Talk about work and your upcoming projects. Share something other than work for a few minutes. One way to make sure this doesn’t turn into an all day thing, is to schedule this 15 minutes before a call or meeting, so you have an easy excuse for a hard stop.

I’ve made a month, with limited caffeine now (I haven’t been perfect every day). Still, now that May’s closing, I still plan to keep my coffee intake at a minimum and utilize these alternative strategies to keep my energy up.

What are some behaviors you’ve tried to get over the mid day slump?

Originally published at on May 31st, 2016.

Originally published at