8 Ways to Stay Productive at Work When You Are Exhausted

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Struggling to stay productive at work even though you’re tired and have no will to continue the work? Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Lacking productivity can be related to various factors. The most common one is not getting enough of rest and sleep which can lead to feeling exhausted or burned out. But sometimes the factor for being less productive may lie beneath the work pressure itself. 

In today’s busy world it’s hard keeping up with all obligations you have including home and work. And people often find themselves in situations that require them to stay productive despite sleep deprivation and being tired. Here’s a shortlist of possible solutions which, hopefully, will help you stay productive at work and not end up being unemployed. 

Make a List of Priorities 

Sometimes, one of the worst parts of working is getting started. To handle this properly, try making a list of all the tasks you need to do and start working on them. There are two possible ways – you can either start with the easiest or on the contrary – start with the toughest. At the workplace, people tend to start with the easiest tasks because by accomplishing one easy task at the time it keeps on motivating you to achieve your goal and a small triumph which as a result, boosts your self-esteem. But sometimes, when it’s one of those days when you don’t feel like working and you need more initiative to start working, it’s advisable to start with the toughest task first. When you’re lacking productivity you’re usually tired, and tiredness impacts your cognitive performance. When you’re already tired it’s best to start completing a tougher task while your body and mind are still fresh and energetic. As the day passes by, you become more tired and that’s when difficult tasks seem even more difficult than they actually are. When you complete the toughest task, feel free to reward yourself by choosing to complete some of the easier tasks before you get to the next difficult one. 

Coffee Break

Coffee isn’t just a drink it’s also a helpful tool that can help you boost your energy and productivity. Having a good coffee at work is an awesome way to relax and start a conversation with your co-workers. During this break, just for a second, you can forget all the work-related stress and just enjoy social interaction with some of your friends from work.

Caffeine intake is a great tool for improving your attention and problem-solving. So, if you’re struggling with being productive at work having a cup of coffee may be the right solution for you. The best part about coffee is that’s so easy to make it, all you need is some boiling water and instant coffee. Or if you’re lazy you can go to the nearest coffee machine or coffee shop and enjoy having it made for you. When you drink coffee you’re not just boosting your energy and your cognition – you’re also taking care of yourself and giving yourself something that you enjoy. In return, this may reduce your anxiety at work and restore your brain. Therefore, coffee can also be therapeutic.

Play That Funky Music 

Music’s effect on people’s cognition and their feeling is undoubted. People use music in almost every possible situation – when they’re happy, to celebrate something, to keep them activated or to help them be more creative and productive. Life without music would be a waste of life. 

Some of the studies have shown that music can improve satisfaction with conversations, work productivity and it can reduce anxiety. There are benefits of listening to music while working, eg. improvement in productivity in repetitive work and increased work enhancement. That’s why most workers and professions allow using music while working. 

But not every kind of music is good for your work productivity. The best one is instrumental music or music without lyrics. The reason behind that is quite logical. Imagine you’re at work and one of your favourite songs start playing and you know all the lyrics to it. You’ll probably get a sudden urge to get on your feet and start dancing and singing along to it. Simply put, lyrics in music distract you and keep you away from your task that needs to be done. Most studies have shown that classical music is the best one for work productivity. But if you’re not a fan of classical music, don’t worry. It’s said that up-beat rhythmic music (eg. techno, DNB or funk) has physiological effects on your brain and help you stay productive, too. Awesome, right? 

Move Your Body 

Sitting for too long can be painful for your body which in return can make you grumpy and more focused on your body than actual work that needs to be done. To avoid pain and these problems make sure you stretch whenever you get a chance. Stretching has lots of effects – it improves your concentration and cognition, and it also reduces physical fatigue. Simply put, it helps you stay productive at work. 

If you have enough time, try doing a few push-ups and sit-ups before you go to work. This will help you wake up faster and easier. You can also do these easy exercises during your breaks at work. There are a few others you can do, which don’t require special equipment and big space. You can try running in place, or find stairs and go up and down them. Or, you can do squats by putting your back to the wall. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you keep your heart rate up and your energy boosted. 

Focus on Your Breathing 

Energy plays a crucial role in staying productive. And to be energized you need oxygen. The proper rhythm of breathing is linked to brain function and its electrical activity that increases memory recall and emotional judgments. The effects of breathing are related to the way you breathe, whether you breathe through your nose or mouth or you inhale or exhale. As you probably know, the main purpose of meditation is a proper practice of breathing. And the reason for that is because it reflects the connection between mind and brain. Taking deep and slow breathes through the nose harmonize brain oscillation and makes you calmer and more focused at the moment. It reduces your anxiety and affects your memory. 

There are lots of breathing exercises that you can try to do at work to increase your productivity and calm yourself down in the moments of need. One of the exercises that you can practice may include scanning your body. Close your eyes and go through your body starting from head to toes to see which part of the body you should focus on and then try to relax it. 

To be productive at work you should practice your breathing which will help you operate at your maximum level of efficiency.

Socialize 

If you’re feeling tired and not motivated for work, try talking to someone. The talk doesn’t have to last long and it doesn’t have to be a deep conversation about the Universe. It can be small talk or any kind of social exchange that will boost your productivity. 

In most organizations having a conversation with your co-workers is not so well perceived. You’re usually expected to do the work and leave the talk for later. But in fact, talking to your friends from work not only makes you happier but it also boosts your productivity. Sometimes you just need the right words from someone to encourage you and help you stay productive.

Enjoying a conversation with co-workers also helps you work on your social skills, increase your self-esteem and contribute to team cohesion.

To develop and work on intrinsic motivation the best thing to do is talk to yourself. It may sound crazy, but it’s true. When you talk to yourself it helps you stay focused, productive and it helps you set and reach goals. 

Choose Your Environment 

Working in natural light can increase your productivity and job performance. Being exposed to light has great cognitive effects.

If you’re privileged to choose your working environment, make sure you get a spot to work by a window. This way you can enjoy the view and effects of the natural light that will help you stay productive when you’re tired. If you can’t choose your working environment, make sure you get enough fresh air and light from time to time. Rooms without enough air and light can make you sleepy and unfocused, which in return, reduce your productivity.  

Power Nap 

If you need to recharge and boost your energy, a quick power nap might help you. It will increase your cognitive skills, energy level and memory. The good thing about this trick is that you can sleep for a short time, especially if you’re working from home. The bad thing is that not many companies and organizations allow this practice. 

A power nap can help you reset the system, increase your motor performance and alertness. Naps that last between 15 and 20 minutes can help you increase creativity and motor learning skills (eg. playing the guitar). Naps that last between 30 and 60 minutes are good for decision-making skills (eg. recalling some information). 

Taking a nap during the daytime has cognitive and health advantages. It improves your verbal memory, statistical learning, perceptual learning and symbol recognition. Naps also improve your mood, blood pressure and heart rate.

Summary 

Trying to get things done while you’re tired and exhausted won’t lead you anywhere. It will probably leave you with consequences on your body and your overall health. No matter how busy you are and how much things you have to accomplish, remember to always put yourself first. If you don’t take proper care of yourself it won’t leave you just exhausted, but it will also have an impact on your job satisfaction and productivity. Whenever you’re feeling tired and not motivated, try to figure out what’s missing and what might help you get back on track. Hopefully, some of these tips above will give you an idea of how to work on your productivity next time you find yourself struggling with it.

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