You don’t know what’s wrong with you.
No matter what you try, you can’t conquer the exhaustion that drags you down all day.
Friends and colleagues ask if you’re okay, and you always reply that you’re tired.
You need energy now, but most “solutions” are disasters.
Naps backfire. You snooze the day away, only to wake up more exhausted than before.
Caffeine prevents sleep but doesn’t fix the root problem, leaving you jittery and sluggish.
Snacks either fail to energize you, or bring on an even more paralyzing crash.
You lack the energy for an average day, much less something extra. When an incredible opportunity comes along, you’re too tired to take advantage of it, and the prospect disappears forever.
You’re afraid of waking up in a decade and realizing the life of your dreams slipped away… because you never had the energy to reach for it.
And while the horrifying thought of wasting years of your life should invigorate you, it just leaves you more tired and discouraged.
You know this must stop. But you don’t know how.
It’s time to make you feel superhuman.
Here are 11 guaranteed ways to skyrocket your energy levels:
1. Stop reaching for high-protein snacks
If you’re trying to eat for energy, stop snacking on protein.
Your body uses the calories in protein to rebuild tissue, and will avoid using it for energy at all costs.
When you munch on greek yogurt, cheese, or jerky, your body will first burn the fat and carbs in the snack, then move to its 10-hour supply of stored glucose before even touching the protein.
Plus, digesting protein requires as much as 30% of the calories in the protein itself. That means a 200-calorie protein snack will never hit your bloodstream, but costs your body 60 calories in the process.
If you’re eating for energy, you should never eat a high-protein snack.
2. Lower your standards
If you’re always tired but never accomplishing enough, you’re trying to do too much.
Setting your goals too high discourages you and creates a frustrating cycle of failure. Instead, set the bar as low as possible.
Churn out a shoddy first draft, brainstorm a dozen ideas you know will fail, or start on the worst idea that comes to mind.
Lower your standards so much you can accomplish your goal as quickly as possible. Our energy is closely related to our sense of accomplishment, and the act of finishing something (even if it’s poor quality), will skyrocket your energy.
3. Get a little bit angry
As much as we’d love to be happy all the time, sometimes we need a more fiery emotion to wake us up.
Read a news article that riles you up, play a pounding song that strikes a nerve, or relive a scenario that frustrated you. Build a connection between your anger and the project at hand, and nothing will be able to stop the fury of your energy.
4. Sit with bad posture
If you’ve tried to improve your sitting posture to boost your energy, you’ve probably gotten frustrated. In fact, it’s the opposite that works.
Instead of trying your best posture, try to slouch and take up as much room as possible. Spread your arms out, lean back, and even put your legs up on the table.
Congratulations! You’re now in a power position, a posture that science has proven will make you feel energetic and confident.
Stay that way for a few minutes. Before you know it, you’ll feel ready to take on the world.
5. Interrupt yourself every five minutes
Stop spending the afternoon lamenting the hours that have already passed, and start tracking the minutes that are passing now.
Set a looping timer for five minutes, and every time it goes off, write down what you’re working on. Don’t record what you’ve accomplished in those five minutes—granule progress is almost always demotivating—but keep track of what you’re working on.
You improve what you record. When you record what you’re doing, you will always find yourself doing more.
6. Banish your high-energy workouts
Intense workouts get your heart rate up, boost your energy… and then let it crash.
Vigorous exercise is hurting, not helping, your energy levels.
Research has shown that problem-solving, attention, and memory plummet for 20 minutes following an intense workout.
But it isn’t just in the minutes after exercise. A six week study of adults with persistent fatigue found that those doing low-intensity exercise had more energy than those performing at moderate intensity.
For increased energy, replace your intense workouts with something easier.
7. Do your work by candlelight
Oftentimes, energy comes when we’re most relaxed.
Instead of trying to energize yourself under the harsh glare of fluorescent lights, try the opposite.
One of the quickest ways to signal relaxation to your body is to reduce the amount of light that surrounds you. Disable your screen’s blue flicker, turn off nearby artificial lights, close the blinds, and light a candle or two.
This will shift your surroundings to a warmer, cozier glow that is guaranteed to leave you relaxed and energetic.
When my energy slumps, this is my go-to strategy. The more calm I am, the more energized I feel.
8. Stop the meditation sessions
If you’re taking a break from your work to reenergize yourself with meditation, you’re doing it wrong.
Research suggests that any interruption, regardless of context, introduces a change in working patterns. That change makes work more stressful and tiring, taxing your dwindling reserves of energy.
Meditating like this might be the lurking cause of your exhaustion.
If you want to actually boost your energy with meditation, start taking deep breaths while you work, or scheduling a time to meditate during another break in the day.
9. Fiercely disobey your body’s natural rhythm
Going with your body’s rhythm isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
If you always feel a slump at 3:00pm, don’t plan a low-energy task then. That will only exacerbate the problem, and deplete you of the minuscule amount of energy you have left.
Instead, schedule tasks that demand high energy for when you’re most tired. For that 3:00pm time frame, plan something with an adrenaline rush (like practicing a presentation or meeting with an important client) or a task that requires physical activity (like carrying boxes to another floor or collecting the trash).
After a scheduled high-energy task, you’ll have more energy to take on whatever comes next.
10. Bore yourself silly
Nothing makes a task seem fascinating than comparing it to something far worse.
When you’re dreading a dull task, focus on something even less appealing.
Set a timer for 10 minutes, and do the most mind-numbing task possible (filing papers is usually my first pick). Don’t allow yourself to stop the task until the timer goes off. And yes, it will feel like an eternity.
After the ordeal is over, reward yourself with the task you previously thought was “dull.” You’ll be surprised how much energy you’ll get from a fresh perspective.
11. Stop using your brain so much
Your brain is one of the reasons you’re exhausted all the time—it’s trying to make too many decisions. Over time, those decisions weigh you down and your energy dwindles.
Instead, transform blocks of your day into bulletproof routines.
Create a step-by-step procedure for each block of time, and practice that routine until it becomes a habit.
The most effective for me has been a morning routine. At the start of each day, I make smart choices without exerting willpower or making decisions. When evening arrives, my energy reserves are still brimming because I’ve pared down decisions.
The strategy you must use if you need energy now
Exhaustion makes you powerless, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Imagine waking up with excitement, eager to take on whatever comes your way. You blast through your morning routine and arrive at work knowing you’ve accomplished more than most people will all day.
Instead of asking if you’re okay, your coworkers ask you how you do it.
When they complain about never having enough time, you smile to yourself.
Since you usually finish early, you spend the last few hours at work on that exciting project you’ve always wanted to start.
When you get home, you’re enthusiastic about spending quality time with loved ones. You even have the energy to make progress on the hobby you set aside years ago.
This might sound like a fanciful dream—but it’s not. It’s a concrete image of what life can look like when you apply these tips.
Choose one strategy, and get started immediately.
When you put these techniques to use, you won’t feel tired.
You’ll feel superhuman.
Bio: Stephen Roe is a high-energy guy who teaches how to use your individual strengths to grow into a better self. Get an immediate energy boost every day with his free guide “Habit-Forming Morning Routines.”