Napping during your lunch hour is the best way to avoid getting busted. Or, set up a “conference call” in your calendar to nap, mark yourself as “busy” on IM and have your phone by your side.

The morning WFH session was pretty busy. You were able to knock out a few key tasks, follow-up on some outstanding requests, reply to a bunch of emails, work on the presentation deck and all the while, replying to a few instant messages.

It was a good pace, not like one of the crazy-ass mornings where you’re putting out fires the whole time. This was an ideal balance. You were in the zone.

You finish your lunch and head back to your desk.

As you’re reviewing yet another wordy document, you can feel the onset of post-lunch food coma creeping in.

Oh damn, here it comes.

The words on the screen are getting blurry and you’re doing your best to fight the head nods and trying your damnedest to stay awake.

Thank God that you’re not in the office because your desk neighbor or anyone walking by would totally spot you dozing off, maybe even with a fine string of drool dangling from the corner of your mouth.

You’d be only one video away from total shame.

But, you’re at home and safe from any corporate paparazzi snapping photos or vids of you.

As you approach the cusp of totally falling asleep, your body jolts you awake.

It’s at this point that you contemplate taking a nap on the couch or maybe even laying back in bed. It’s right there. All you gotta do is walk a few steps and just lay down.

You glance at your calendar and see that you’re clear for the next couple of hours.

It’s at this point you declare to yourself, “Ah, fuck it. I’m taking a nap.”

You lay down and within minutes, you’re snoring.

After some time, you wake up with a bit of fogginess and then, frantically check the clock like you overslept and missed your flight. You’re freaking out about the next meeting.

Thankfully, you didn’t miss the next meeting. But, it was a close call and your stress-o-meter was off the scale.

You jump back to your desk and scan all the communication channels for any urgent messages or requests from your boss. Luckily, there weren't any.

Now, even though you napped, it didn’t feel as refreshing and re-energizing because of your fear about missing something, whether it was a text message, instant chat, phone call or more bluntly, getting caught napping.

This isn’t the way to nap.

You need a guilt-free way to nap without getting busted for doing so during the day.

Sleep Deprivation & Why Napping Is A Good Thing

With all the advances in technology, everyone is more distracted than ever. Things like Netflix, YouTube, social media, online gaming and shopping, etc. all vie for your attention.

And, it’s in the evenings that we want to use them the most because during the day, we’re focused on work. So, what ends up happening is that we push back our bedtime to much later in the evening, sometimes well past midnight, so that we can enjoy these things.

The consequence - we’re dragging ass during our morning routine and perpetually tired all day long.

Our bodies need 7-8 solid hours of sleep every night. However, most of us don’t get this amount of sleep. And if we don’t get enough sleep, our brains will find ways to get some zzz’s somehow.

Usually, it’s in the early part of the afternoon, after lunch, that our brain cranks up the drowsiness big-time and we’re falling asleep at the desk.

This is an ideal time to shut off your brain and take a power nap. In fact, there are multitudes of studies that prove that taking an early afternoon nap actually increases your cognitive ability and alertness for the rest of the day.

Really, it’s no surprise that taking a nap rejuvenates you.

The problem is that in most western cultures, sleeping while on the clock is frowned upon. However, in Italy, Spain and many Asian countries, napping during the day is an accepted norm.

The good news is that with WFH, you can take a nap during the day without the stigma and without getting caught - as long as you follow some key tips and tactics.

Work From Home Napping Tips & Tactics To Avoid Getting Caught

There’s nothing worse than getting caught doing something that you shouldn’t have been doing. And, getting busted snoozing on the job is just as bad as not following dress code on video calls.

The good news is that it’s really hard to get caught napping when you’re working from home. Nobody can actually see you. However, there are telltale signs that will raise your boss’ eyebrows and make them reconsider your WFH status.

You gotta be smart and play it safe.

You don’t want to fuck this up and lose the golden privilege of being able to work from home.

1) Take Your Nap During Lunch

If you want to keep this 100% legit, use your lunch break as your time to take a power nap. Your lunch hour is your personal time, not the company’s. Period.

Here’s the best way to go about this.

11:30am - 12:00pm: Eat your lunch while working at your desk. This will allow you to devote your entire lunch hour to a power nap.

12:00pm - 12:45pm: Take a power nap on the couch or bed.

12:45pm - 1:00pm: Shake off the grogginess and freshen up for work.

You may need to adjust this based upon how much time your company has allotted for lunch breaks.

This is one of the best ways to nap at work if you ever had to return to the office and work from there.

2) Work Through Lunch & Nap Later

Although this isn’t as ideal as the one above, this is another legit way to take a WFH nap guilt-free.

While we don’t recommend working though lunch, you can grind your way through lunch by eating and working at the same time and then, use your “lunch hour” later in the afternoon to nap.

In this approach, you’re powering through the lunch hour and you keep going until 2pm or so. Then at that time, take your break with a power nap.

3) Nap Whenever Then Make The Time Up Later

If you’re still taking a normal lunch break and still need to get some shuteye in the afternoon, then you can still keep this somewhat legit by making up the lost time later on.

So, if you can’t fight off the head nods in the afternoon, then go ahead and take a quick power nap but make up the lost time by working longer into the evening. Doing this will ensure that you’re still putting in your eight hours for the day.

The important thing is to keep your power nap to one hour or less. If you fall into the habit of napping for long periods, you will get busted eventually as you’re not “visible” with email activity, messaging or worse, missing meetings and calls altogether.

When this happens often enough, you’ll eventually just get caught and shit-canned.

4) Schedule A 1-Hour “Meeting” To Block Nap Time

When you’ve got an open slot in your afternoon calendar and need to take a break, be sure to block off the hour in your calendar. This will prevent last-minute meeting invitations.

If your boss and coworkers have the ability to see the contents of your calendar, then you need to take a couple of extra precautions to keep yourself safe.

In the meeting invite, use a subject title that will show that you’ll be busy and not available. This can be any number of things like:
  • Customer or client presentation
  • Industry webinar replay
  • Conf call (with your BFF at another company) for “brainstorming”
  • Focus time for “deep work” analysis
  • Online training session
  • Legal contract review

5) Adjust Instant Messaging Status

Some companies have now adopted instant messaging as another form of internal communications. This could be Slack, Google, Skype or any number of messaging platforms.

If your company uses instant messaging, you should change your status on the messaging platform so that people know that you’re “busy” and unreachable.

Some messaging platforms will integrate with your calendar so it will automatically adjust your availability. But others don’t, so be sure to stay on top of it. Otherwise, you’ll get “dinged” during your nap.

6) Have Your Work/Personal Phone By Your Side

If you’re one of the many employees that gets issued a work cell phone, then you’ll want to have this nearby while you nap as a precautionary measure.

It’s a bit of a crapshoot on whether or not you’ll get a call or text message while you nap. It all depends on your company’s working culture.

If the culture is all about quick replies and responsiveness, well, you’ll have a tougher time napping without interruptions from text message alerts and calls. But, it may or may not happen during your one-hour nap time.

To avoid the risk of missed notifications or calls, keep your work phone next to you during your scheduled nap.

7) Use Your Phone Alarm 

Another reason to keep your phone next to you during your nap is to use the alarm. This will minimize the chances of you oversleeping and missing your next meeting or call.

According to several studies, the ideal length of a nap can vary from 20 to 40 minutes depending upon what your body needs. Since we’re assuming a one-hour block, set your phone’s timer for 45 minutes as you’re laying down.

The first 5 minutes is to allow you to settle into the nap. Then, the main 40 minute chunk is for the nap itself.

The last 15 minutes of the hour should be dedicated to shaking off the nap-time fogginess.

8) Do Post-Nap Wake-Up Activities

To help you get your bearings back, you should develop and follow a process to help you get back on track mentally. You can’t just dive right back into work. It’s gotta be a smooth transition.

Here are a few things that work well to help make the transition easy:
  • Drink a glass of cold water
  • Do a few standing stretches and neck rolls
  • Go for a quick walk outside
  • Splash your face with cold water
  • Eat some fresh cold fruit 
The point of these activities is to get your senses fired up and boost your alertness so that when you get back to your desk, you’re ready to rock-n-roll.

Be Smart About WFH Napping & You’ll Be Set

In today’s working world, everyone is sleep-deprived to some degree. And with all the technology, distractions and general life challenges, it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep.

The result is that everyone suffers from a sleep deficit and it’s always during the afternoon that people run out of gas.

With WFH, you have the luxury of using some time to get a bit of recharge with a power nap in the afternoon. But, you have to be smart about it.

Plan out your napping strategy so that it doesn’t negatively impact your work output, collaboration with your colleagues or visibility with your boss. And when you get this dialed-in, you’ll no longer have to “nap in fear”, worry about missing something or getting busted.

You’ll be a napping pro.

Feel Better,

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