The Express Blog

8 hacks for staying focused in a meeting without coffee

We’ve all been there. That “let’s kickstart the day” 8am morning meeting, or the meeting at 2:30pm that coincides with your post-lunch zone-out. We know that coffee can have plenty of harmful side effects, so it's time to come up with a strategy for maintaining your focus without relying on a caffeine hit.

Soak up some vitamin D

We'd all love to abandon our cubicles on a sunny day, so here's your excuse! Living things derive energy from sunlight. Our bodies are naturally trained to associate light with waking and dark with sleeping. All that dim office light can confuse our bodies into sleepiness, but even a couple of minutes out in direct sunlight will remind your body to wake up!

Try a refreshing splash

If your eyes feel a little heavy just before a meeting, wake up with a splash of cold water. A quick refreshing splash will startle your reflexes back to attention.


Stand up and walk around, or find a corner and do a little bit of quick office yoga. Touch your toes and try some windmill twists. If you are feeling more ambitious, throw in a few triangle poses or an eagle pose. The goal is to get the blood pumping through your body again. The more blood pumping, the more awake you will feel.

Give yourself a mini massage

What if the meeting has already started? You can’t exactly strike a warrior pose in the middle of the room, and pouring that bottle of water over your face may seem like a bit much, but there are still things you can do! In keeping with the idea of increasing blood flow, try a subtle hand massage to get your blood moving again.

Come prepared

Showing up prepared does more than just win bonus points! When you actively take notes, your brain stays more engaged. The more engaged your brain is, the less likely that you'll wander off to the Land of Nod.

Ask questions

Just like the notebook, asking questions will force your brain to stay engaged. If questions aren’t appropriate, try using a post-meeting recap buddy. Challenge each other to note down a certain number of questions or observations, then swap ideas after the meeting.

Try a seriously strong mint

You know that feeling you get when you pop a ridiculously strong mint? It almost feels like a slap across the face. It certainly wakes you up! The “refreshing” ingredients are designed to elicit a big response from your system. Keep a few strong mints in your handbag or pocket for meeting emergencies.

Keep healthy

Ultimately, the best defence against mid-meeting snoozing is good self-care. Get a decent amount of sleep on weeknights. Don’t load up on carbs before a meeting. Eat healthy meals and explore vitamins which are known to help boost focus. Your body and your boss will appreciate it!

Need more information to help you organise your next meeting?

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