Productivity

12 Bad Habits That Are Making You Tired at the Office

Joe Keeley Updated 24-03-2020

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.

Advertisement

There are many reasons for bouts of office fatigue, 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, office exhaustion could soon be eradicated from your life.

1. Late Night Digital Activity

Man using phone in dark
Image Credit: Japanexperterna.se/Flickr

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.

The artificial light from smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions have been linked to worsened sleep quality.

Advertisement

Stop checking your emails right before you go to bed and avoid binging on Netflix into the early hours of the night. Ideally, you should be digital-free for one hour prior to sleeping.

2. Not Waking Up Early

12 Bad Habits That Are Making You Tired at the Office alarm clock 670x384
Image Credit: Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush/Pexels

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.

If possible, wake naturally without an alarm. Obviously this isn’t feasible if you need to be up on a schedule, so if you do set an alarm then don’t constantly snooze it. That extra ten minute snooze is going to impact you negatively because you won’t get the full 90 minutes required from a sleep cycle.

Advertisement

Go to bed early and wake up early in response to your natural body clock.

3. Skipping Breakfast

Breakfast
Image Credit: Burst/Pexels

Your body needs food to fuel itself. If you skip breakfast, your blood sugar levels will drop and you will feel tired.

Have breakfast that is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. Don’t wolf it down on the way out the door, either. Sit down and take your time, be mindful, and prepare yourself for the day.

Advertisement

4. Keeping a Cluttered Workspace

Messy desk
Image Credit: Jesus Hilario H./Unsplash

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.

That’s why, over the long run, clutter can drain mental energy and increase stress. You don’t have to go as far as adopting a minimalist lifestyle, but minimizing clutter as much as possible can have a tangible positive effect on your mental health and energy levels.

Advertisement

5. Neglecting Brightness and Lighting

12 Bad Habits That Are Making You Tired at the Office bright desk 670x447
Image Credit: Gabriel Beaudry/Unsplash

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.

That’s why you should enable adaptive brightness whenever possible 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.

6. Neglecting Monitor Position

Monitor
Image Credit: Niclas Illg/Unsplash

The position of your monitor on the office desk is important too. Ideally, your monitor should be at least at arm’s length. Smaller screens may need to be closer while larger screens should be farther away. Neglecting this can lead to eye strain.

There’s no evidence to suggest that sitting too close to modern monitors can cause actual eye damage (that’s a common myth about computer screens Fact or Fiction? 6 Myths About Screens and Monitors How many screen-related myths have you heard? Does looking at a screen in the dark hurt your eyes? The truth might surprise you. Read More that isn’t true) so don’t worry about macular degeneration.

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.

7. Sitting Rather Than Standing

12 Bad Habits That Are Making You Tired at the Office standing desk 670x447
Image Credit: Juhan Sonin/Flickr

We’ve known for a while that sitting at a desk all day can be detrimental to your health, but it can also sap your energy. According to the British Medical Journal, prolonged sitting contributes to fatigue.

If you find yourself tired in the office but are fine elsewhere, it may be the sitting that’s doing you in. As such, you may want to consider switching to a standing desk—a simple change that could have big results.

If you do go that route, make sure you get a balance between standing and sitting. You can make your life easier with these standing desk accessories 10 Essential Standing Desk Accessories for Home Office Workers A standing desk is only as good as your workstation setup. Here are the best standing desk accessories for your home office. Read More .

8. Sitting with Incorrect Posture

Yoga
Image Credit: Anupam Mahapatra/Unsplash

You might not be able to immediately switch to a standing desk, so if you have no choice but to sit in an office chair, make sure you’re sitting with proper posture:

  • 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.

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 your bad 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 .

9. Refusing to Take Regular Breaks

Person filling cup with water
Image Credit: LuAnn Hunt/Unsplash

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.

Also, 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.

10. Working Too Long and Hard

Man working at desk late
Image Credit: Simon Abrams/Depositphotos

There are many detrimental effects, both physical and mental, of regularly overworking oneself. You will feel much better when you pump the brakes.

Workaholism is a serious and growing problem for office workers across America. There isn’t a strict medical definition for workaholism, but there are several signs that could indicate you are one:

  • Fear of being unproductive.
  • Inability to get away from work.
  • Chasing after more work during lulls.
  • Neglecting health and hygiene.
  • Never satisfied with your 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 there isn’t a one-step solution for you. If you think you suffer from it, please consult a therapist and/or a workaholics support group.

11. Ignoring Seasonal Depression

Winter scene
Image Credit: Dominik Dombrowski/Unsplash

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 The 5 Best Sunlight Lamps for Winter Depression and Light Therapy If your depression only occurs in the winter months, it's likely seasonal and may be treatable with a sunlight lamp. Read More you can try to help minimize these symptoms.

12. Not Exercising

Woman exercising
Image Credit: Jonathan Borba/Unsplash

It might sound counterintuitive, but not exercising will make you more lethargic. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week can make you 65% less tired during the day.

If you can’t get to the gym, try one of these workout apps The 10 Best Workout Apps to Get in Shape We've rounded up the best workout apps for Android and iPhone. Get fit anywhere with plans, tips, training, and more. Read More . Even going for a long, brisk walk is really beneficial. Pop a podcast on and get out there!

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.

To help you break your bad habits, look at these free printables and ebooks to help you track habits 6 Free Printables and Ebooks to Track or Change Habits Habits aren't easy to change. These free printables and ebooks promise to help you track or change habits easily. Read More .

Explore more about: Habits, Health, Home Office, Productivity Tips, Relaxation, Remote Work, Sleep Health.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Enjoyed this article? Stay informed by joining our newsletter!

Enter your Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. David in Mississippi
    May 30, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    The title of this article is "How to FREEZE part of..." etc., however, you did not address how to freeze the non-active pane of a horizontally split document. Here's what I mean: If you have a long document and split it horizontally, then work in the top pane and insert, for example, a chart, the text you have displayed in the bottom pane will suddenly scroll out of view, so if you want to see it (still), you have to go find it again.

    We truly need to be able to freeze the pane we are not working in. Any clues? Thanks.

  2. Anonymous
    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. :)