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Background:

I recently started my career as a professional. I have the luxury of working "flextime", meaning I can start and finish when I want, as long as I work my 7 - 8 hour days. Virtually all of my work is at my desk on the computer.

The travel time to work is about 45mins, and I enjoy having more free time in the afternoons, so I choose to work from 7:30 to around 3:30 - 3:45.

However, when I get home at around 4:30, most days, I feel extremely tired / lethargic. I'll often "slump-out" for up to an hour, essentially loosing my extra free time, and then feeling sluggish for the rest of the evening.

I always get 8 hours of sleep, but still struggle to "grind out" the entire day. I don't drink coffee, mainly because I just never got into it and I don't particularly like it.

Some of my friends are tradesmen who wake up at like 5:30 and still manage to last until 10 o'clock at night - I don't know how they do it!!

I eat plenty of food and drink plenty of water throughout the day. I'll have a small meal at 9:00 and another when I finish work at 3:30. These are on top of lunch and a few snacks as well.

Due to my regular water intake, every hour or so, I go for a walk to a distant bathroom to stretch my legs out.


Questions:

Is this lifestyle routine something that I will get used to as I get older?

What strategies can I employ to feel less tired in the afternoon?

I really don't want to start work later because I don't like getting home late(er).

  • Hi user9506231, Welcome to StackExchange.Lifehacks. We hope you enjoy yourself here and sharing your knowledge and experience with us. Many different individuals have diverse routines and lifestyles. – Stan Apr 17 at 0:59
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    You say you eat plenty of food; that's not very informative. Is it nutritional food? – lucasgcb Apr 18 at 11:41
  • I would say the number one thing to do is stand on your commute home!! I used to encounter this too, but found a massive difference between standing and sitting on the commute home. – Dean De Villiers Jun 27 at 13:00
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Your list of factors was lacking NUTRITION which I find affects your overall performance and energy level. That is, your lack of energy level.

Examine your schedule for refuelling yourself in a timely way. Are some times of the day more demanding than others? Do you spread your meals evenly enough to compensate for energy spent and for anticipated demands.

Food is one factor. Do you get enough liquids? When you are dehydrated, you lose energy. Water is great as a beverage and can be hot, cold, fizzy or flat.

Stand-up. Sitting all day at a screen is not good for your blood circulation and your overall physical condition. Stand up on a good floor mat with comfortable footwear at a standing desk set-up for you ergonomically. Most of the basics are covered in short videos such as ergonomically correct standing workstation set-up or others that turn-up from a web search for "set-up ergonomically correct standing workstation."

Practice the 20-20-20 rule regularly and religiously. That's every 20 minutes, stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Feed your eyes with sufficient Vitamin D and enough A to get it into your system.

Surround yourself with plants and clean odour-free air and natural lighting as much as possible.

Good luck

  • I've updated the question with my nutritional intake details. – user9506231 Apr 17 at 3:30
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I notice there's a lack of exercise in your schedule; If your body doesn't feel like it needs to push it won't push.

While walking to the bathroom helps you stretch, it won't give you the edge of actually exercising.

Since you have lots of "flexible time", I'd recommend turning your commune into an exercise in itself if possible. This will wake you up, put your body in shape, and give you more energy in the long run. This will also force you to eat better since your body will demand it.

Either biking quickly or even jogging to work a few days a week instead of taking a bus or your car is guaranteed to give you these results. If there are showers in your workplace that makes things easier, otherwise just bring spare clothes with you and a towel.


Footnote: your tradespeople friends are probably very engaged with what they do (read: workaholics) to the point where they are inclined to work more. This is a feedback loop that gives them "energy" (which you don't seem to have as you want to enjoy free time, like a healthy person would). Comparing yourself to others in this regard hardly turns out well.

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Depending how old you are, consider a shot of caffeine after lunch. I know you say you don't do coffee, but that's what it's good for. You can take it as one of the many different variations of coffee or tea or one of those sugary drinks in tins.

I have very low blood pressure (did you have yours checked recently?) so I run out of energy, and I prefer to self-medicate with Darjeeling rather than take the pills. This is what works for me.

Actually, if you are generally feeling a bit run-down and tired, get a medic to check you out. You may have a deficiency of something or other, or even some illness.

  • Personally when I have coffee immediately after lunch I get extra sleepy, so I'm not sure how to go about that. Emptier stomach tends to have the desired effects for it in my case. – lucasgcb Apr 18 at 11:44
  • Don't forget caffeinated mints. That said, I'm not certain the situation warrants drugs, There are probably other considerations to be gone through first, as even drugs as unregulated as caffeine have side effects and long term consequences. – Ed Grimm Apr 26 at 2:11
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I definitely agree with the nutrition and exercise advice. While you do mention having something of an exercise routine, choosing the bathroom farther away rather than right by your desk is not the same as 15 minutes of cardio workout. I know this well, as I've tried both sorts of workout routines. (Going to the bathroom on the first floor when you're on the fourth, and using the stairs to and from, is closer to the cardio.)

You don't mention temperature at all, or the level of stress from your commute or the social interactions of work. Each of these could play a part in this.

When I was first on my own, living in Texas (I'd been living significantly north of the Mason-Dixon line before that), I found I ended every work day by coming home and collapsing on the bed for a few hours. Even when I didn't have a stressful day at work or a rough commute, once I got home, it was like my energy just vanished. It turned out it was the Texas heat.

  • While I didn't consciously notice it being a problem, I needed to turn the AC down a few degrees to be able to be active after work. This was something I adapted to over time, to an extent, but the AC setting is something that can be quick to change.

People frequently discount just how much driving can wear one down. It's an easy task, only requiring a small portion of your attention, it's not physically grueling, it's easy, right? Maybe you're already beating the commute by the times you're going to work and getting home from work. But my personal experience is that the energy drain from commuting, per minute of driving, is peak shortly before the roads are so clogged from traffic they start slowing down. There's hundreds of other cars on the road around me at that time, and I feel I need to keep track of most of them. This fatigue went way up when I moved to Boston, with its much less regular traffic than Texas.

  • It's possible that shifting your commuting slightly earlier, so there's even less traffic on the road, would be helpful.
  • Public transportation can also be a big help. Sure, it takes longer, but you're not the one driving. Get a seat and relax.

Social fatigue is a real concern for people on the autism spectrum, but there are also others who are affected by it as well. I think just about any introverts will have some fatigue from this, and even extroverts can feel it a bit when they're in a new environment. This does tend to get less the more you know the people around you, but if this is a problem for you, there's other things you can do to help lessen the impact in the short term as well.

  • When I was going into the office, I found it to be a big help to spend the last 15 minutes or so with my office door closed, by myself, just recovering from having dealt with my coworkers (not that they're a problem, but I'm an introvert on the spectrum, so socializing is rough for me.)
  • I've talked to others without an office door who found hiding out in a bathroom stall or just sitting in their car (assuming it wasn't too hot inside their car) before actually starting out had much the same effect.
  • If there's somewhere calm and relaxing near where you work, you could also take a bit of a stress break there.

Basically, the idea on this point is to drop the stress from working before you pick up the stress from commuting. I do realize it's kind of at odds with your getting away before rush hour, but life is a balancing act, and I don't have answers, I just have a list of things to possibly try.

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Build a strong purpose and this tiredness will simply perish. So ask yourself: for what ends do you want this power? Once you wholeheartedly know that, body and mind will grant you that untapped energy.

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