How many 'weakdays' do you have per year?

lack of energy at workI had one of those mornings today.  Sure you know the type, you have your alarm set for a decent hour but then when it's time for it to wake you from your slumber you make the fatal decision to reach out a dozy arm and turn it off.  Just a few more minutes turned into two hours extra sleep (win) and a frantic dash to the bus to get to work on time (lose).

Thankfully the bus navigated London's roads in unusually efficient time and I sneaked in to work on time.  Whether it was serendipity or some other quirk of fate, a press release was awaiting me talking about so called 'weak days'.  They're the days we have when we're not off sick but not quite at our best either, and apparently we have a whole lot of them each year.  48 to be precise.

According to the survey, a 'weak day' is characterised by low energy levels, daydreaming and the creation of the illusion of work without any real quantifiable output.  Hopefully I'll be a little better than that despite my rude awakening this morning but the scary thing is that apparently around 20% of Londoners say they feel like that every day!  I often have a dose of scepticism around this kind of research as it nearly always supports the needs of the organisation sponsoring the research, but our own study in 2007 produced similar outcomes, with 2/3 of managers operating at less than maximum.

Now the research was done by juice company Pomegreat so you can perhaps understand that most of their tips for a more energised work day revolved around better diet, but here are a couple to help you avoid resembling the living dead at work today.

  1. Get some sleep.  I wrote just a few weeks ago about the importance of sleep to your office performance (I know, I know, should follow my own advice) but it is crucial.  Research strongly suggests that you both need your 8 hours of good sleep each night, and that a 'power nap' in the afternoon will work wonders for you.
  2. Get some exercise.  Bristol University found that a work-out either before work or at lunch helped improve both performance and mood. 
  3. Get the right food.  It's a cliche, but food is your fuel, and you need the right kind to keep you going.  Stay clear of sugary foods that will give you an energy rush but also a slump once it wears off.  Go for fruits and foods with slow burning carbohydrates.

What other energy boosting tips do you have?


I recognise I have days like this oocasionally;  my tips to keep going are:

  • keep a book - nohting work related, to hand and will stop to read at lunchtime - I make sure I stop to eat
  • I'm lucky to have gardens round my business that are good for a few minutes walk - whatever the weather - only a couple of minutes fresh air does the trick.
  • If good the weather is enough I'll take important reading outside to a quiet corner - sitting still and no computer or phone for 30 mins can create a real buzz - if having a face to face meeting why not go outside?
  • Alternative activty for rainy days is a desk drawer tidy up, filing, review meeting notes
  • A quick nap helps too - if accidental its probably needed
  • I also have a set of Devil sticks - a gift but am trying to be proficient in the use of them - it's something physical but not sweat inducing
  • Kicking back and just thinking is legitimate too
  • Don't feel guilty either - if the day doesn't seem ultra productive there will be the great days too - and looking after yourself will give you many more of these


Good tips there Philip, do you find these significantly reduce your 'weak' days?

I think employers have to take their share of the blame as well.  It's not just lifestyle issues that cause people to be a bit bleurgh at work.  I'm sure disengagement is an equal problem.

I like the concept of weak days. If I'm feeling below par I try to catch up with colleagues that I don't see so often. There's nothing like  a watercooler moment to blow away the cobwebs.

What are 'Devil sticks'?