For IT support staff, sometimes it’s drought, and sometimes it’s flooding. For me at least, it’s rarely much in between. And since our hiring freeze, incidents that are within my scope are scarce. I read this article today on Tech Republic regarding night shift boredom on the help desk. Now, I don’t do “help desk” per se, and I don’t do night shift, but I do have the same essential issue – my quality of work depends on my alertness of mind.
I like Jeff’s ideas. He’s pretty much hit the nail on the head. I would add a few ideas, though. Here’s my comment I posted on the thread:
First thing (which you alluded to) is physically keeping the body alert. Walking, running, even having a treadmill or bike in the office (depending on your corporate culture) could be a help. Proper ergonomics (especially neck and back) are a must.
Mental stimulation is key as well. I love designing things, so designing a woodworking project or a guitar or a computer program will keep me rolling at all but the most sleepy of times. If you like to hack (in the old-school non-destructive sense), and you have the authority to set up an old ‘retired’ asset, set up a dev box and write code. Save all of it, too. That kind of analytical thinking will not only keep you awake, but will also sharpen your analytical skills and broaden your knowledge.
Eating right is a big factor. While a Coke can provide a short buzz, it also makes you crash afterwards. Eat plenty of fruits/veggies, and take a multivitamin. Stay away from fast food, etc… all the things we already knew but don’t practice. =D
So what are your secrets for ensuring that, when the next phone call or meeting comes, that you are at the top of your game?