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There’s nothing wrong with feeling tired at the office once every so often. But if fatigue and lethargy are the norm rather than the exception then it may indicate a deeper problem worth investigating.

There are many reasons why you might be feeling like crap, and you should always consult your doctor or a medical professional when possible, but the problem could be as simple as a few bad habits that you’ve picked up.

Breaking these habits won’t be easy, but with a bit of determination and small changes made little by little every day How to Use Micro Habits and Spark Massive Personal Change How to Use Micro Habits and Spark Massive Personal Change Creating new habits is hard. Habits are usually built over weeks or months of repetition, and motivation is the challenge. When the going gets tough, micro-habits can be a huge help. Read More , office exhaustion could soon be eradicated from your life.

1. Late Night Digital Activity

This first habit isn’t an office habit per se, but can have a HUGE impact on how well you feel during the day and so it shouldn’t be overlooked. Long story short, digital screens can negatively impact your sleep quality.

Even if you’re getting the recommended 5–9 hours of sleep every night, you won’t feel rested unless those hours are truly restful. As with most things, sleep and rest are more about quality than quantity.

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And as it turns out, the artificial light from smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions have been linked to worsened sleep quality Can F.lux & Night Shift Really Improve Your Sleep Habits? Can F.lux & Night Shift Really Improve Your Sleep Habits? Excessive use of computers, tablets, and smartphones can lead to deteriorated sleep quality -- but do apps like F.lux and Night Shift really counteract those effects? The science is pretty clear on this. Read More .

So stop checking your emails right before you go to bed and avoid binging on Netflix into the wee hours of the night. Ideally, you should be digital-free for one hour prior to sleeping, but installing an app like Flux or Twilight can help.

2. Keeping a Cluttered Workspace

If you think a once-a-year spring cleaning is good enough for your workspace, you may want to reconsider and start being more diligent about regular cleanups.

A cluttered desk increases the amount of visual information we have to process on a moment-to-moment basis, and this processing requires a lot of cognitive energy.

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That’s why, over the long run, clutter can drain mental energy and increase stress Clearing Out Clutter Is Good For You — But Why? Clearing Out Clutter Is Good For You — But Why? Decluttering is a great way to start the year feeling fresh, and it gives you a big sense of accomplishment — but there's more to it than that. This simple habit can improve your life. Read More You don’t have to go as far as adopting a minimalist lifestyle How To Be An Effective Minimalist In Your Daily Life How To Be An Effective Minimalist In Your Daily Life More and more people are choosing to embrace minimalism. In certain situations this can wreak frustrating havoc on your everyday life. With some minimal planning it doesn't have to come to that. Read More , but minimizing clutter as much as possible can have a tangible positive effect on your mental health and energy levels.

3. Neglecting Brightness and Lighting

Eye fatigue is a real problem in offices today. The thing with eye fatigue is that when your eyes feel tired, your entire body will feel tired too — even if you haven’t exerted much physical energy.

One of the leading causes of eye fatigue is a mismatch between screen brightness and ambient lighting. The brightness of your screen should be the same as your environment. If the screen looks like a light source, then it’s too bright. If it looks dull, it’s too dark.

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That’s why you should enable adaptive brightness whenever possible How to Toggle Adaptive Brightness in Windows 10 How to Toggle Adaptive Brightness in Windows 10 Adaptive brightness is a Windows 10 feature that's more useful than you might think. Here's how to turn if on or off and why you might want to. Read More because it takes the guesswork out of the equation. And, if possible, avoid working in rooms that are harshly lit or overly bright.

Have you ever heard that you shouldn’t use a computer in the dark? Because of this, there’s some truth to that. The darkness won’t cause any permanent eye damage, but it can expedite the onset of eye fatigue.

4. Neglecting Monitor Position

The position of your monitor on the office desk is important too. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no “right answer” here — all that matters is that you find a distance that’s comfortable for you How Far Should You Really Sit From Your Monitor? How Far Should You Really Sit From Your Monitor? Is sitting too close to a monitor damaging to the eyes? If so, how far back should you sit to mitigate any such damage? Read More .

Rule of thumb? Start at arm’s length and adjust so that the screen is comfortable to read. Smaller screens may need to be closer while larger screens should be farther away. Neglecting this can lead to eye strain.

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Note that there’s no evidence to suggest that sitting too close to modern monitors can cause actual eye damage (that’s a common myth that isn’t true Fact or Fiction? 6 Myths About Screens & Monitors (With Verdicts) Fact or Fiction? 6 Myths About Screens & Monitors (With Verdicts) How many of these screen-related myths have you heard? How many do you believe? You might be surprised at which ones are true and which ones aren't. Read More ) so don’t worry about macular degeneration.

But don’t forget that monitor height is important too! Too high and you can get tension headaches in your forehead. Too low and you can throw off your posture and strain your neck. The top of the monitor should line up with your eyes when looking straight ahead.

5. Sitting Rather Than Standing

We’ve known for a while that sitting for extended periods of time can be detrimental to your health 4 Serious Health Issues From Sitting Too Long & How To Avoid Them 4 Serious Health Issues From Sitting Too Long & How To Avoid Them When you work at any job that requires long hours sitting at a computer - programming, accounting, writing - it is very easy to stay in that one position for eight to nine working hours... Read More , but it can also sap your energy. According to the British Medical Journal, prolonged sitting contributes to fatigue.

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So if you find yourself tired at the office but fine elsewhere, it may be the sitting that’s doing you in. As such, you may want to consider switching to a standing desk From Sitting To Standing While Typing: Why You Need To Change Your Working Habit From Sitting To Standing While Typing: Why You Need To Change Your Working Habit Writing full-time keeps me sitting at a desk nearly eight hours a day. My office chair is not one of those Lexus ergonomic models designed to take away the pain of sitting, and though I’ve... Read More — a simple change that could have big results.

If you do go that route, make sure you avoid these standing desk mistakes 5 Things You're Doing Wrong At Your Standing Desk 5 Things You're Doing Wrong At Your Standing Desk Many people, especially those who work from home, are looking to standing desks as the solution for prevention of several serious health issues caused by sitting all day, but not everyone uses it correctly. Read More and make your life easier with these standing desk accessories 10 Accessories Every Standing Desk Owner Should Have 10 Accessories Every Standing Desk Owner Should Have Whether you are planning to buy or build your own standing desk, or if you already have one, a standing desk isn't the only thing you need to improve your health in the office. Read More .

6. Sitting with Incorrect Posture

We realize that not everyone can switch to a standing desk at the snap of one’s fingers, so if you have no choice but to sit in an office chair, make sure you’re sitting with proper posture Sitting Up Straight Is Bad: The Right Way to Sit at a Desk Sitting Up Straight Is Bad: The Right Way to Sit at a Desk If you think sitting up straight is the answer to back pain, think again. It actually puts more stress on your back. Read More :

  • Lean back at an angle of 120 to 135 degrees.
  • Keep your butt at the back of the chair.
  • Keep your feet flat (use a footstool if needed).
  • Don’t sit up straight.
  • Don’t lean forward.
  • Don’t use armrests or lean on your elbows.

The thing about bad posture is that it wastes energy while good posture keeps your muscles in a relatively relaxed state and conserves how much energy is needed just to keep yourself upright. It’s perhaps key to defeating computer fatigue Log Into Life: Top 9 Tips To Fight Computer Fatigue & Protect Your Health Log Into Life: Top 9 Tips To Fight Computer Fatigue & Protect Your Health Did you know that your sedentary lifestyle could be killing you from the inside out? Ryan has already presented a case on potential health risks from sitting too long, and for those of us who... Read More .

Over the long run, bad posture can lead to trouble falling asleep, muscle tightness, and a hunchback. Here’s a quick 3-minute exercise that can fix that This 3-Minute Exercise Will Actually Fix Your Posture This 3-Minute Exercise Will Actually Fix Your Posture You may think bad posture can't be fixed, but this quick and easy exercise will change your mind. Read More .

7. Refusing to Take Regular Breaks

Short-but-frequent breaks are critical for staving off fatigue because they address most of the issues mentioned above (but only if your breaks involve getting up and walking away from the computer).

For starters, breaks are good at interrupting any prolonged sitting positions. Breaks are also good for getting your blood flowing and activating your muscles. Plus, you end up giving your eyes a much-needed rest from the computer screen.

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And if you incorporate something like the Pomodoro Technique How a Simple Pomodoro Timer Made My Life Better How a Simple Pomodoro Timer Made My Life Better The Pomodoro Technique is one of the simpler time management life hacks. Break through distractions with the help of 25-minute chunks and a timer. It could be a life-changing routine change if it suits you. Read More , you’ll also notice a big spike in your productivity. But even if you don’t use Pomodoro, there are other ways to remind yourself to take breaks 3 Tools To Remind Yourself To Take A Break & Relax While Working At The Computer 3 Tools To Remind Yourself To Take A Break & Relax While Working At The Computer Working on the computer may not be very physical, nevertheless it's tough on your body. If you are damned to spend your working hours behind a desk, you had better find ways to do something... Read More .

One more thing: hydration is another key component in fighting off fatigue, so try to drink a cup of water every time you take a break. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel with proper hydration alone.

8. Working Too Long and Hard

As a workaholic myself, I can attest to the detrimental effects, both physical and mental, of regularly overworking oneself — and I can also attest to how much better you can feel once you stop.

Workaholism is a serious and growing problem for office workers across America. There isn’t a strict medical definition for workaholic, but there are several signs that could indicate you are one 5 Signs That You're Working Too Hard (And How to Fix Them) 5 Signs That You're Working Too Hard (And How to Fix Them) Do you suffer from an insatiable desire to work? Here are some of the signs to recognize this ailment and how you can overcome it. Read More :

  • Fear of being unproductive.
  • Inability to get away from work.
  • Chasing after more work during lulls.
  • Neglecting health and hygiene.
  • Never satisfied with one’s work.

It’s easy to see how these factors can contribute to not only mental exhaustion but physical exhaustion as well (because workaholism tends to result in long hours at the office, lots of stress, and insomnia).

Workaholism is a multi-faceted problem so we don’t have a one-step solution for you. If you think you suffer from it, please consult a therapist and/or a workaholics support group.

9. Ignoring Seasonal Depression

While seasonal depression itself isn’t a bad habit, ignoring that it exists is. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

“Some people experience a serious mood change during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This condition is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Not everyone with SAD has the same symptoms.”

Note that seasonal depression differs from clinical depression. Seasonal depression flares up and goes away with the availability of natural light whereas clinical depression isn’t related to light at all.

Common symptoms include anxiety, emptiness, irritability, fatigue, and mental fog. If you suffer from seasonal depression, there are several light therapy lamps 5 Light Therapy Lamps to Beat Winter Depression 5 Light Therapy Lamps to Beat Winter Depression If your depression only sets in during the winter months, then it's likely seasonal -- and in that case, it may be treatable with something as simple as light therapy. Read More you can try to help minimize these symptoms.

Tackle These Bad Habits One at a Time

If you’re feeling bad because more than half of these apply to you, fear not! Take a deep breath, relax, and realize that you don’t have to fix all of them overnight.

Some of them can be rectified in minutes (like the one regarding monitor placement) while others may take weeks or months (such as fixing your posture). Regardless, focus on one thing at a time. Don’t rush it.

Which of these bad habits do you have? Are there any tips or tricks you use to fight office fatigue? Share your thoughts and experiences with us below!

Image Credits: Dark Monitor via Shutterstock, Cluttered Workspace via Shutterstock, Tired Woman via Shutterstock, Graph Man via Shutterstock, Sleeping Woman via Shutterstock, Water Cooler via Shutterstock

  1. FileEagle.com Chris
    August 14, 2016 at 2:17 am

    Thank you for your advice. I remember someone saying "Smart Work is more important than Hard Work" !

    • Joel Lee
      August 19, 2016 at 7:55 pm

      Absolutely! I try to live by that statement whenever I can. :)

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