HOW TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE EVEN WHEN YOU'RE SUPER TIRED
It’s no secret that we all want to learn how to be more productive.
But this can be a struggle, especially when one of the most frustrating things about building an online presence is knowing how much stuff there is to get done.
Yet when it comes to the time when the task needs to be done or else it won’t happen, you say…
I just feel so tired.
A few minutes of work turns into hours procrastinating by checking social media, email and anything else you can find. By the end of the day, you feel not only like you haven’t achieved anything but more tired than when you originally started out.
It’s a vicious cycle.
This is how to be more productive and claw back your motivation (without needing an afternoon nap).
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#1 | GET SHOWERED AND DRESSED (PROPERLY)
You know you need to start with getting to bed earlier, right?
But when it comes to the morning, this tip might confuse some of you. Who doesn’t shower and get dressed in the morning?
Believe me, it happens. So if you’re suited and booted move onto the next time.
For those of you that find the task of showering completely daunting, that’s okay. It happens to most of us.
But feeling clean and wearing fresh clothes will make a world of difference. It might not feel like it but it’s definitely worth the effort.
And by fresh clothes, I don’t mean a pair of fresh PJs. I mean real clothes.
A lot of people find getting up and doing their hair and makeup gets them more prepared for the day too and you can include me in this camp. Ultimately, whatever makes you feel ready to face the day, get it done.
#2 | STEP INTO NATURE
You preferably want to do this in the daylight. If there’s sunlight that’s even better.
You know how looking at a glowing screen at night confuses your brain into thinking it’s still daylight? Well, a little extra sun in your life will help your brain realise that it needs to get into work mode. The key feature here is melatonin, which is the hormone that helps you drift off to sleep at night.
Your other alternative is to invest in a sunlight alarm, and these are actually a pretty amazing invention. They stimulate the sunrise to wake you up naturally, instead of waking up to that standard iPhone alarm.
# 3 | GET YOURSELF MOVING
If you feel so tired that you could hardly get up the stairs let alone fit in a workout, the last thing I want you to do is exercise. The process of this isn’t to torture you more.
But there’s no denying that exercise is good for you. It means more oxygen and gets the blood flowing around your body.
It’s also been found that exercise can not only help you sleep better but can improve your quality of sleep too. And it can make you feel 65% less tired.
If you want to learn how to be more productive even when you’re tired, surely that proves it’s possible.
But I get it. You’ve probably read other articles on how to be more productive and I bet they all suggest getting your body moving.
I’m just too tired for that!
No excuse on my watch. Here are some handy tips on how to stick with your exercise plan.
10 MINUTES IS ALL YOU NEED
The thing about going to the gym or going for a run is this: both of those involve leaving the house.
Leaving the house involves putting on real workout clothes, possibly getting in the car and potentially having to deal with conversations.
Doesn’t sound great when you’re tired, does it?
That’s where your laptop or phone is going to come in handy.
If you’re finding it really difficult to motivate yourself to get your workout done, try a short five or ten-minute video. I find it useful to choose one that doesn’t involve as much cardio, as you might not have enough energy to do jumping jacks right now (let alone burpees).
I love Fitnessblender - click here to head straight to all their workouts that are 10 minutes or less.
If ten or even five minutes seems like too long, just commit to doing it for as long as you can.
For instance, if you’re getting up every hour to make a cup of coffee (which I imagine you are), do an exercise from the video while the kettle is boiling.
But once you get started, it’s likely you’ll feel more energised as you go on. That’s the power of exercise. And if, after the kettle has boiled, you’re still feeling exhausted, at least you did something good for your body.
More often than not though, it really helps kick-start the waking up process. That’s why I always work out first thing in the morning. It’s just getting over that first hurdle of actually starting (aka getting out of bed) that’s the hardest.
#4 | DRINK LOADS OF WATER
If you know you’ve not been drinking as much as you should, you might want to double check if you’re irritable due to dehydration. This can be a big side effect of tiredness and can even make you think you’re hungry when you’re not. You just need water.
Even a loss as small as 1-2% of your body weight as water (i.e. mild dehydration), is enough to impair your thinking. So keep that flask handy.
#5 | START SMALL
Learning how to be more productive when you’re tired starts with knowing that your working memory is diminished when you’re tired. That means multi-tasking probably won’t be possible.
Your best bet is to start small. Find those tasks that don’t need your brain working on a high functioning, creative level. This might be a good time to do those tasks that keep getting bumped down the list because they aren’t a ‘priority’.
Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll start to find it easier to keep going. Plus, this is so much more effective for you rather than tackling a big task where your attention keeps faltering every ten minutes.
#6 | USE A TIMER
When you’re tired, it’s much more difficult for you to recover your concentration when you get distracted.
That two second Facebook check has suddenly turned into an hour on social media and you feel like you’ve completely lost your sense of time.
It’s so easy to click onto something else without even thinking about it. So use a timer. The technique I recommend using is Pomodoro.
This is where you set a timer for 25 minutes, and in that 25 minutes you work solidly on the task you’re doing. Then you have a five-minute break to do whatever you want, and then you’re in focused work mode for another 25 minutes. And on it goes.
This works so well and your productivity will definitely increase because you can see the timer counting down and think “I’ve just got five more minutes to go and then I can have a break.”
#7 | TAKE REGULAR BREAKS
That’s what’s great about the Pomodoro technique because it encourages you to take regular breaks. Having frequent breaks is so important when it comes to knowing how to be more productive. Your brain runs on the fuel of glucose and just like your car, if it runs out of fuel it’s going to break down.
So, not only is it important to keep it topped up, but you also need to give it time to recharge. Remember, your concentration runs on a line of diminishing returns.
Instead of struggling for two hours and achieving very little, why not rest and get twice as much done in the next hour?
#8 | TAKE ONE BIG BREAK
For those of you reading this who are fellow business owners, there’s this mythical event that never actually seems to happen. The Day Off.
I get it - there’s too much that needs to be done.
And maybe this time around, you really don’t have time to take a day off.
But rather than waiting until burnout forces you to take time off (because you just can’t function any longer), think about planning ahead and scheduling more days off in the future.
Taking a day off when you don’t actually need a day off might feel a little selfish. You might even feel guilty. But if you plan it in advance, you can use it to your advantage.
An unexpected day off because you’re ill or burnt out is a much bigger problem.
You need to not get into that situation in the first place and that comes from setting boundaries and having routines.
You might think it’s a waste of time in the short term but if you look at the bigger picture, it’ll save you so much time.
Happiness = higher levels of productivity.
I really hope these tips will help you, even if it’s only in the short-term. But learning how to be more productive when you’re tired is usually something that requires a more long-term strategy.
That’s why a big focus of my goals for the end of this year and leading into next year will be the human side of business. We may not ever be able to achieve complete work/life balance but we can sure as hell try and create a version of it that suits us.
What was your biggest takeaway from this post? Which of these tips will you be putting into action first?
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