Finding ways to be productive on a good day can be difficult, but learning how to be productive when tired is a big struggle for a lot of people.
And that’s absolutely normal.
Tiredness often tells us that our body needs to rest and that we’ve pushed enough for that day.
Your brain gets foggy and you lose concentration easier, and it can be hard to keep being productive when you’re tired.
These tips on how to be productive when you’re tired are assuming that you need to continue being productive.
I would caution against continuing working if you’re really tired if you’re doing something that needs your intense focus, as it can be dangerous to continue on when you’re tired in those instances.
But let’s say you need to finish a paper by a deadline, you want to fight through your tiredness to get some more done around the house or you just want to learn how to be more productive when you’re tired.
Follow these guidelines and enjoy the results!
Best tools for Productivity
1. Choose Tasks that Take Less Brain Power
The first thing to do is make sure you’re prioritizing the tasks that take less brain power to complete when you’re tired.
In making money from a blog, I know that it takes a lot of brain power to write a post, but a lot less to create a pin on Pinterest, so I save things like Pinterest and social media scheduling for the end of the day when I’m more tired.
Sometimes, it isn’t possible and you still need to continue writing your essay at the same brain power as you were before you were tired, but you can still think about what parts of writing the essay are going to take the least brain power and save those until last.
For example, skip figuring out the title or doing the bibliography or the formatting until the end and focus on the actual writing first.
The longer time goes on, the more tired you’ll be, so you want to either being doing mostly tasks that are easier to do when tired or you want to put those tasks towards the end of your to-do list to get the harder ones out of the way first.
2. Chunk Your Tasks into Smaller Segments with Shorter Timeframes
To get around this, you should set very small goals in very small amounts of time.
For instance, if I were writing an essay during the day when I wasn’t tired, I might say “okay, I have an hour to write 3 paragraphs.”
When you’re tired, an hour is an eternity, so you’ll want to say “okay, I have 20 minutes to write one paragraph” or you can even break it down further and say “in the next 5 minutes, I want to write 3 sentences.”
This works for any task you’re trying to complete.
Break it down into as small of chunks as possible and set yourself little goals to keep working and keep pushing.
Your brain just can’t cope with long deadlines that will drag on forever.
You need that immediate success to keep going, and you need to be able to stay focused.
You can also set a timer or use an app to help you break things down into small chunks and keep you motivated.
3. Do Some Quick Exercise
If your body is lagging, you can wake it up naturally by doing a bit of exercise, which should be done mostly in place in your room.
You don’t need to go on a 5 mile run, just get your body moving and do a 5 minute workout video or 50 jumping jacks or something to get your heart rate up.
This will feel incredibly hard to do when you’re tired (but then again, it is hard to be productive when tired so this is what you signed up for!), but you’ll feel better and more alert afterwards.
You can repeat this as necessary throughout the night to try to stay awake and focused, mixing up the exercises each time.
4. Make it a Game
I always find that being productive when I’m tired is easier if I turn it into a game or a race against myself.
The goal, of course, is to finish the work as soon as possible, and so if I can do it as fast as possible, then ultimately I’m the winner!
Challenge yourself and see just how fast you can get through your tasks to turn it into a bit of an adrenaline-pumping experience and less of a dull slog through whatever it is that you need to get done.
5. Turn on Some Music
If you’re someone who is able to get things done with music on, use this to your advantage.
There are plenty of focus soundtracks online, but I would caution to make sure you choose one that’s pretty upbeat to keep you awake rather than one that will lull yourself to sleep.
You could also add some noise by putting on a podcast or TV show on in the background, just to breathe a little bit more life into the room and make you feel like you’re not alone.
6. Drink Some Caffeine
If you desparately, desparately need to, and only in rare occasions, you can resort to the age old technique of drinking caffeine to keep yourself awake.
However, you should do this in a natural way with things like teas and not energy drinks.
You still want to be good to your body and be drinking as much water as possible, not putting a bunch of chemicals into it in the quest to pull an all nighter.
7. Get Something to Eat
If you’re tired, you may also be hungry, and so you should have a snack that will help you focus and keep you energized, like almonds, bananas, or avocados.
Avoid sugary foods that will lead to a crash later, and don’t stuff yourself as that can also lead to you being more tired later on.
Just make sure you’re hydrated and full enough to not listen to your stomach grumbling!
8. Change Your Working Position or Room
If you’re getting really tired, you can breathe new energy into your project by either changing your work position, for instance from sitting to standing at a standing desk or by changing rooms, so maybe moving from the living room into the office or moving from your place on the sofa to the kitchen table.
Changing your environment adds a little bit of “excitement” into your routine and can jolt your brain awake a bit more as it gets used to your new surroundings and feels like you’re making progress.
Your body can also just tend to get fatigued sitting in one position for too long, so make sure you’re taking regular opportunities to get up and walk around or switch the position your body is working in.
9. Use Daylight Bulbs
Daylight bulbs like these are one of the best things to ever happen to people who need to work well into the night, as they don’t give off the same warmth as a regular bulb that can make us feel more tired or cozy.
A daylight bulb is meant to resemble just that, daylight, and people use them to beat Seasonal Affective Disorder or in rooms that need a brighter light.
By using daylight bulbs around your workspace when you’re tired, you can help trick your brain a bit into being more active.
If you’re working in the dark by the light of that one lamp with a really warmly glowing bulb, it’s no wonder that you’re lulling yourself to sleep!
Overall, figuring out how to be productive when tired is a really difficult thing and not something you should always strive to do, but when it’s necessary, there are ways to work around it and still achieve your goals.