Between delicious seasonal coffee beverages, sweaters on sweaters on sweaters and gaining back one glorious hour of sleep, it’s no wonder why fall is on the top of plenty of people’s best seasons list. Still, there’s another phenomenon occurring that’s definitely less fun than apple cider donuts, more damaging to productivity than watching football all weekend and a sure sign that winter is, in fact, coming.

It’s getting dark too dang early.

There’s nothing quite as draining as finishing the work day, taking a look out the window and thinking to yourself, “Time for bed!” When the sky is pitch black at 5 p.m., finding the motivation to keep up a steady working pace is challenging. Thankfully, there are steps you can start taking to boost productivity even with the sun dips out early.

Soak It In When You Can

Seasonal affective disorder is a real thing. Without realizing it, we can easily go an entire day without spending anytime in the sun. Over time, this can lead to a disruption of your body’s internal clock, serotonin and melatonin levels and, ultimately, depression. To dodge these effects, make the most of the sunny times of the day. If you’ve got time on your lunch hour, step outside and soak in the sun – even if it’s for ten minutes at a time. You may not be able to leave the office with sun shining on your face, but you can still make time to enjoy it’s benefits.

Make the Most of Your Sleep – And Mornings

By now, we should all recognize the value of a good night of sleep. However, it’s even more crucial to get quality shut eye when the seasons are playing tricks on your brain. Resist the urge to nap early in the evening, and maintain a consistent sleep routine each night. Then, slowly ease yourself into waking up a little bit earlier each morning. If you can become accustomed to getting more done earlier in the day, you’ll be able to take advantage of the hours of sunlight that are still available.

Embrace a Change of Scenery

Staying put in one place can be a drag – literally! Increased melatonin levels can make us feel lethargic during this time of year, and a great way to combat the effects is to get up and get active. If you’ve been sitting in one place for too long at work, consider finding a way to get moving to boost productivity, like hiking up and down some stairs in your building. Beyond that, consider incorporating other changes of scenery, such as working in a cafe or from home when possible. The variety of new locations might just be the trick to keep you motivated when it’s dark out far too early.

Give Yourself Something to Look Forward To

If the best thing on your schedule after 5 p.m. is bedtime, it’s time to rethink your seasonal game plan. It’s extremely difficult to maintain energy and productivity when you don’t have anything to look forward to. Mixing in a hobby or project to keep your mind active after working hours can keep you moving and actively thinking, rather than settling in sluggishly.

If watching the sunset earlier and earlier each evening feels like a bummer, take active steps towards lights out productivity this season! How do you fight that fall feeling when working? Share your ideas in the comments below!