Working when you’re exhausted can be–let’s be honest–terrible. You don’t feel well, you’re distracted; but for millions of people, there’s just no other option. Working tired isn’t, and shouldn’t be, a sustainable option, but chances are it will happen to you. Here are some tips to make your sleepy day a productive one, even if you’re dreaming about going home and going to bed.
First, try not to hit the snooze button. You can set the alarm to go off at the latest point possible to get as much sleep as you can, but knowing you have to get up when it goes off–and doing so–sends signals to your brain that it’s go-time. Then, when you get up, eat something. Drink some coffee, drink some water, do a jumping-jack.
Once you’re situated in an office that’s hopefully full of natural light and windows rather than harsh fluorescents, do the hard work first. If you start with a clear goal in mind and know what you want to accomplish, you’ll have a better chance of getting work done and feeling productive.
Once you get into the swing of things and make yourself busy, time will pass by much more quickly.
Cut down on distractions while you’re trying to work–logging in to Facebook or Instagram is a good way to ruin your momentum. And once you’ve ruined your momentum when you’re already tired, it’s doubly difficult to get it back. But if you do lose it, it’s not impossible to regain: try to take a quick nap somewhere, or take a shower to get your mind and body back in motion.
If you can, avoid situations where your finesse will be on trial, like meetings or calls with important clients. You’re not quite yourself when you’re so tired, and the risk of making mistakes or saying something counterproductive are higher. Try to reschedule really important items if you can–for some things, waiting until you feel your best is the right choice.
Of course, getting 8 hours of sleep a night is recommended, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. So when you miss out on sleep, it’s best to be prepared and to put a plan for productivity in motion.