We all have days when we’re not in the mood to work. But unless your boss lets you take impromptu vacation days on short notice, you have to figure out a way to propel yourself forward.
And when you’re incredibly tired, it can seem nearly impossible to do.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to make a day of unwanted work or chores be a productive one. Ready to learn some new strategies?
Here are five easy ways to stay productive when you are exhausted.
1. Focus on the Hard Stuff
Getting into the groove of a long workday can seem daunting when you’re tired, but how you spend your morning will set the tone for the entire day. In most cases, you’re likely to become more and more exhausted as the day goes on. So it’s always best to tackle the most challenging tasks on your list first.
At the start of your day, make a to-do list of everything you have to accomplish.
Whether they’re major projects or small tasks, rank items in order of difficulty and start with the hardest thing first. By getting that toughest project out of the way at the start of the day, your day will ease up as it progresses.
Ideally, by the time the three o’clock slump rolls in, you’ll only have a few straightforward to-dos left on your list. By saving the small things for the end of the day, you’ll still have a productive afternoon (even if all you can think about is going home and taking a nap).
2. Get Rid of Distractions
Do you have a chatty coworker that eats up your time whenever you pass their desk? Are you having a hard time working from home because of your crying kids or barking dogs?
Whatever it is that distracts you, strive to learn how to tune those things out when you need to be productive.
Put your smartphone in your handbag or briefcase or put it in another room, so you’re not distracted by social media or incoming calls and texts. Turn off apps on your desktop, so you’re not bombarded with unimportant notifications.
Resist the urge to check your email every ten minutes. When you’re tired, your inbox can become a sinkhole that draws you in and wastes even more time.
It’s easy to get distracted — it happens to us all to some degree. But when you’re exhausted and prone to be less productive, the simplest distractions can derail your entire day.
3. Do Some Exercise
Whether you’re at home or in the office, doing some exercise is a surefire way to increase your energy levels and help you get through a day of work and chores.
When you’re in the office, take an early morning break and stroll around the parking lot or walk up and down the hallway. When you’re working from home, take a 20-minute break to run on your treadmill, do some yoga, or carry a few loads of clothes to and from your laundry room.
Even a small amount of exercise will help you combat fatigue, feel happier, and be more energized. And when you’ve got energy, you’re able to focus better.
When you’re exhausted, it may seem difficult to want to get in a workout. Yet it’s one of the easiest and most beneficial ways to fight off those sleepy feelings and be more productive.
At the very least, get up from your desk chair and do some stretches!
4. Play Music That Motivates You
Music can be a great motivator. When you’re extra tired, put on some tunes that energize and inspire you to get your work done!
Pop on your workout playlist for extreme motivation. Put on your Saturday dance party station and get your toes tapping. Whatever music gets your blood flowing, play it loud! The noise alone may be enough to give you the wake up you need.
Just be careful not to play songs that you’ll want to sing along to. The worst thing you can do is allow yourself to get distracted by singing lyrics. That can actually make you less productive.
If you can’t resist the urge to sing, instrumental music can be a great motivator without being as much of a distraction. Classical music and jazz are great options!
5. Open the Windows
Sunshine and natural light increase serotonin, melatonin, and Vitamin D. All of these are essential brain chemicals that boost mood and mental health. When you’re feeling tired and unproductive, a little bit of sunlight may be all you need.
If you work in an office with artificial light, sunlight may be hard to come by, so get outside for a few minutes and try to soak up some natural light. If you work from home, put your laptop by a window or take a break and spend a few moments outside.
Sunlight is the ultimate mood booster, and the better your mood, the more productive you’ll be.
On days when it’s not sunny outside, it can still be beneficial to open up a window. Cold air and a nice breeze can also help make you feel more awake and increase motivation.
Need to find some motivation and learn how to be productive when you’re exhausted?
Here’s how to do it:
- Do the most demanding tasks at the beginning of the day
- Cut out distractions that waste time
- Do some exercise to boost your energy levels
- Play music to wake you up and keep you motivated
- Open the windows to absorb some mood-boosting sunlight
If you often struggle with feeling exhausted at work, there is one other thing you should do: improve your sleep habits.
The more regimented your sleeping habits are, the better you’ll feel and the less exhausted you’ll be. A good night’s sleep isn’t just the key to good health — it’s also a key component for success and productivity!