Shake Up Your Day: Take another route to work, sit in a different chair at dinner, put a new font on your computer.
The Energizing Effect: "When it's same-old, same-old every day, you start taking things for granted," says Pierce J. Howard, Ph.D., author of The Owner's Manual for the Brain, 3rd Edition (Bard Press). "It's called habituation." Change causes you to pay attention more, which makes you more alert.
Check Your Attitude: Drop grudges—toward others, yourself and, most important, toward what you've got to get done today. Instead of griping, spin things to the positive: not, "I have to pay my bills," but, "I choose to be on
top of my finances."
The Energizing Effect: Positive thinking moves your body out of tense, tight, do-or-die survival mode into a relaxed, just-do-the-next-right-thing m.o. Feeling you have options frees you from a debilitating inner tug-of-war between the part of you that orders, You have to! and the part that yells back, But I don't want to!
Step into the Light: Get a few minutes of sun outside or near a window or invest in a full-spectrum lighting system.
The Energizing Effect: According to a study by the National Institute of Industrial Health in Japan, exposure to as little as 30 minutes of natural bright light helps people through those late afternoon slumps. If you can't get outside, indoor exposure near a window is just as effective.
Make a List: Before starting your mad dash of a day, take a couple of minutes to write down and prioritize tasks and errands.
The Energizing Effect: A flurry of thoughts in your head causes energy-draining confusion; putting tasks on paper helps clarify what you need to do. Now, the energy you spent ruminating about what you have to do—remembering it, dreading it—gets released for action. What's more, checking something off the list gives you an uplifting feeling of accomplishment.
Do What You Dread: Empty the dishwasher or call the cranky client before you start the rest.
The Energizing Effect: Even small anxieties hit the brain as a threat and provoke a flood of energy-depleting stress chemicals. "Tackle what you've been avoiding so it doesn't drain you," says Martha Borst, an organizational coach.
Drink Up: You don't have to guzzle eight glasses of water, but you don't want to wait until you're parched, either.
The Energizing Effect: Water makes up 79% of our bodies, says Mary Ann Bauman, M.D., author of Fight Fatigue (Tate Publishing), and one of its functions is to deliver glucose to the cells to fuel them. It takes only a 5% drop in your body's water for your concentration to decrease and for that frustrating drowsiness to set in. Start replacing the lost fluid, and you're good to go.