16 Ways To Stop Feeling Restless At Work. #1 Is… A Little Weird, But Totally Works!

We’ve all been there — the day is dragging, deadlines are looming, and your motivation is… well, around here somewhere. If you’re in a slump, don’t fret! We have some different ways to re-energize your work day, in a completely random order.

Motivation doesn’t just fall out of the sky. Planning, positive thinking, and changing up your routine can all help you stay on track to getting stuff done! (Most of the time anyway. Everyone has a day where they’re basically falling asleep at their desk.) Read on!


16. Take a short break: Every hour. And get up out of your chair for at least part of it. Not only will this change the scenery, but studies have shown that sitting for too long can wreak havoc on your health. In fact, people who sit for 11 hours a day have a 40% increased risk of death. The good news is that taking a short break negates the awful side effects. Things you could do on your break:

  • Refill your water bottle. Dehydration can sideswipe your focus, says a 2012 study in The Journal of Nutrition.
  • Chat with a coworker. Forgo using the company’s message system or relying on email or phone, and spitball in person.
  • Make some tea, and suit it to your mood. Need to calm down from a meeting that got you all jazzed up (and not in the good way)? Brew a cup of chamomile. Need a burst of energy to get you through the afternoon? Brew something with a citrus-y zing. Check out our list of tea benefits here.
  • Focus on uplifting or positive material, or watch a funny clip online. A positive message can have a lasting impact on your day!

15. Expect something good to happen today! Then you’re on the lookout for good things, and you notice more of the good stuff that happens. Bada-bing-bada-boom.

14. Declutter your desk: I actually just did this. It was helpful for both my sanity (clear space, clear mind) and for this article (another thing added to the list!).


13. Declutter your virtual desk: Your desktop monitor is a nightmare. Organize things into folders. Assess the craziness that is your online bookmarks. Cluster, filter, delete. Keep a bookmark folder of items that make you laugh, like links friends have sent you. Then, if you’re having a rough day or need a boost of energy, click on one, like this!

12. Learn something new: Take a class that could give you an edge at your current job, or help you qualify for a different job somewhere else. Then bring that new information into your daily work.

11. Ask your boss for more responsibility: A change in routine (and a way to show you’re a go-getter who wants to move up the ladder) can give your usual workday routine a boost.

10. Use a timer: Love trolling for new ideas on the internet, but easily lose track of time (and therefore have to rush to complete your assignments)? Set your handy dandy timer! Hate checking email? Check at specific times of the day, and give yourself a limit. This can also be helpful in maintaining your new break schedule, and seeing how long it actually takes to complete a task.

lemon timer text

9. Set up a reward system: We’re not saying eat a candy bar every time you type a paragraph, but give yourself small little treats after specific tasks.

8. Ask for feedback & input: Bored with what you’re doing? Ask someone else how they would do it. Ask them for input on a particular tricky (or boring) assignment. You’re not necessarily looking for praise here (though that helps) but for ways to improve or change up your work flow, and dig deeper into your potential. This can alter your routine, and make your work more interesting to you.

7. Know yourself: Recognize when you’re the most focused, recognize the people and meetings that drive you insane (and the ones that boost your mood), and tailor your projects around that. Do your most important tasks first thing in the morning, if that’s when you have the most motivation. Or, do them later in the day if you need small accomplishments to build you up to that large looming task. When I start my day with tasks that I have down pat, I stay focused more easily. My sense of accomplishment carries me through the more difficult tasks in the afternoon. This, however, works every day but Friday. On Friday, I work on the pressing assignments first — the ones that require the most creativity and brain juice. Then, when afternoon hits and my focus is scattered to the four winds, I do the tasks that are a bit more mindless.


6. Be mindful of your physicality: Ugh, you’re just so BORED. Instead of staring forlornly at the picture of you and your hubby on your vacation to Cancun, sit up straight and get out of your head. Feel your toes scrunch in your shoes, slowly roll your shoulders backwards and forwards, feel your butt in your chair, strrrretttcchhhh! Being mindful of the physical brings you into the present moment, and can refocus you.

5. Switch out your desk or chair: Do your work in a different empty cubicle where you can’t hear your coworker’s music blasting through his headphones. Take your laptop to the lounge. Swap out your chair with an exercise ball, or try a different type of chair. If your office is cool enough to have a standing desk, check it out.

4. Remind yourself that YOU’RE in charge: Maybe you’re not the boss, but you have at least some autonomy about your work! You’re in charge of when you do your work, and how quickly you get it accomplished, and the quality of work you churn out. You GOT this!


3. Congratulate yourself: Every evening, mentally review the awesome things you’ve accomplished today, no matter how small. If you make ANY of these suggestions part of your routine, do this one. It’ll do loads for your confidence, and put a positive spin on every day.

2. Make a To-Do list for the next day: At the end of the day, plan what your next day needs to look like. Don’t cram it too full and stress yourself out, but create a list of reachable tasks. Below that, list other things that need to be completed overall. Then when you get into work, you know exactly where to start.

1. Change your shoes: This is weird… but interesting. The senior manager of product development at FORBES keeps several pairs of shoes under her desk, and changes them throughout the day based on the task. She could switch from heels to flats to sneakers in the space of a few hours. For some people, shoes help them define who they are. So wearing a specific pair for specific events can give you a boost of self-assurance or make you relax. This could translate to a whole bunch of different things: hats, scarves, a watch that makes you feel powerful, a certain cologne or perfume, an inspirational picture of Leslie Knope. For me, my hair can have startling power over my day. When I need to get down to business in the afternoon, I throw my hair into a bun and BOOM. Instant focus.

In a nutshell, shaking up your routine can help you pull yourself out of your work rut. Surround yourself with happy, positive vibes and stay organized, and you’ll keep those restless feelings at bay!

How do YOU stay focused and motivated at work? Let us know in the comments!

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