How to be Productive When Tired and Stay on Top of Your Game

how to be productive when tired

Do you have tons of work to finish faster than usual? How hard do you try but can’t get the productivity ball rolling? You’re at the right place to learn how to overcome this challenge!

Productivity issues are a serious concern for almost everybody. The reasons may vary for different people and companies, but we all struggle to focus on the task at hand.

If you’re worried about your declining productivity, this guide is for you. We’ll give you tips on how to be productive when you’re too tired to tackle your productivity dip.

Understanding the Reason for Fatigue

Here are a few reasons why your productivity might be slowly wearing off:

1. Lack of Sleep

lack of sleep

The biggest reason why you might be tired and exhausted lately could be a lack of sleep. In today’s hustle culture, people often prioritize their work and goals over a much-needed 7-hour sleep every night. Lack of sleep will take out of your daily fuel, leaving you tired, lethargic, and unable to do the bare minimum. A few hours of sleep might give you an initial boost at work, but only for a short period.

Along with exhaustion, lack of sleep over a prolonged period will also affect your cognitive performance. You might find it hard to focus on your work for a long time, processing information might become challenging for you, and brain fog might intensify.

2. Stress

stress worker

Have you been super stressed lately? That could be another reason why you get so tired so often. Stress exponentially increases your heart rate and weakens your immune system. This cripples your body’s strength and stamina, making it impossible for it to cope with the workload. Stress also induces emptiness, despair, and sadness, which again lowers your desire to do anything, let alone be productive.

Stress-induced exhaustion isn’t limited to emotional exhaustion. This is because your mind controls every aspect of your body. This weighs down, kills your enthusiasm and the resulting effect is tiredness. Just like sleep, stress also makes it hard for you to focus. This constant lack of enthusiasm and feeling of despair can also be mistaken for exhaustion.

3. Hunger

Surely, you have found yourself in an awful mood — like the entire world around you is falling apart right before your mealtimes. This hunger is one of the common reasons for extreme exhaustion at the workplace.

Sometimes you’re so buried in work that you might miss out on your lunch break or intentionally postpone it. That could be doing more harm than good. Hunger is not an emotion that can be brushed aside; it severely impairs your bodily functions.

For instance, extreme hunger causes your body’s sugar level to drop, making you feel lightheaded, dizzy, tired, and weak. In some extreme cases, it can also make your vision blurry. You might brush it off as a temporary weakness, but it can be easily fixed in a jiffy with a quick, filling meal.

4. Monotony

Exhaustion alone isn’t responsible for your unwillingness to work. And the funny part is, all the other reasons can easily be mistaken for tiredness. One such reason is monotony.

If you’re doing the same kind of work day in and day out, it’s natural for you to lose enthusiasm over time. This can hamper your focus, mental energy, and attention and eventually lead to a burnout. All these symptoms together can make you feel exhausted. So before you jump in to fix your physical and emotional exhaustion, ponder over whether you’re tired of doing the same work.

5. Mental Health Conditions

Prolonged exhaustion can have much more severe root causes than just excess workload. If you find no improvement in your energy levels even after maintaining a healthy workload and lifestyle, take a deeper look into your mental health.

Mental health conditions like anxiety and depression can reduce your energy level. This makes you feel empty inside and lethargic towards anything productive. In this case, the only way to get you back on track is by consulting a mental health professional and treating the problem from the root.

How to be Productive When Tired

Here are a few ways to recharge your weary mind and body and boost your productivity:

1. Take a Break

how to be productive when tired

Working your way through exhaustion, being reproductive, and completing your goals for the day isn’t rocket science. Sometimes, it begins with a simple break. If you feel tired and unable to focus on your work, take a quick break.

Exhaustion and the workplace contribute to emotional stress, especially if you have a desk job. Your body might be at rest, but your brain, which has constantly been running for the past hour, definitely needs a break. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. Get up from your desk, drink a glass of water, take a quick stroll, chat with colleagues, and more.

Make sure to avoid spending your free time on your phone. Phones are a huge distraction, making it difficult for you to return to work. Any digital device, like a phone, can turn a quick 5-minute  into an hour-long distraction. On top of that, constant exposure to screens can hurt your eyes and increase your anxiety and restlessness. You might take a 15-minute break but feel no better than before.

2. Break Down Your Work

how to be productive when tired

Sometimes, all the fatigue you’re feeling could be just an illusion created by your brain. You heard that right! Check your unhealthy work-life boundaries. You don’t have to get everything done in one sitting — the world can survive another few hours without you updating that excel sheet or completing that report.

Setting an impossible to-do list will put your brain in an anxiety frenzy. You’ll worry about how much work you have left to do and whether you can finish it on time. All these questions will eat up your energy and attention, making you procrastinate — and stressed — causing you to get no work done at all.

On the other hand, if you break down your work into smaller goals, it’ll seem like less of a burden to your brain. Also, each time you finish these small goals and feel closer to your goal, you’ll be filled with renewed enthusiasm.

Once you have broken down your entire work into sections, go ahead and try the Pomodoro technique.

3. Take a Quick Nap

Take a quick power nap if you ever feel like you can’t execute, no matter how hard you’re pushing, take a quick power nap. This is your way of giving your brain a much-needed break from the constant hustle. This trick also comes in handy if you had an insufficient sleep the night before.

Your brain needs adequate sleep every night to function well; there’s no bargaining with that. But if you’re unable to get enough sleep in one go, you can also make up for the remaining hours of sleep with short naps. Why waste hours dragging your tired brain through the work when your fresh, post-nap brain can get it done in minutes?

4. Be More Physically Active

how to be productive when tired

Even if you love your job and would do it 24/7, make time for yourself. Be sure to squeeze in a quick workout almost every day. You might not care about your physical health or posture (you definitely should!). Did you know that a regular workout shapes your brain as much as it shapes up your body?

The adequate physical movement encourages the production of new mitochondria cells, which further increases the production of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). ATP gives your brain enough energy to handle every challenge you face at work.

Regular workout also boosts the production of serotonin and dopamine (also known as happy hormones). This keeps you happy and stress-free, enabling your brain to focus on the work at hand.

5. Set Achievable Goals

While productivity is great, over-productivity is toxic. Only take as much work as you can finish without sacrificing your health and peace.

If you feel that you’re nowhere close to completing your goals, take a step back and check if your goals are attainable. It might be that you’re doing your best, but your goals are simply unachievable regardless of how productive you are.

Bottom Line

We hope you now have the answer to “How to be productive when tired.”

There’s no denying the struggle of unending productivity while the never-ending pile of work keeps flowing in. But here’s the bottom line — your work is important and a priority, but your health and peace are paramount. Your body and brain do so much, and all they ask in return is a little care. Treat them like the temple they are, and watch it bless you with everlasting productivity.

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