Sick and tired of being, well, tired?
There’s nothing more frustrating than having those little fights with yourself – you want to get stuff done, or maybe get in at least half of a workout session … but are just too exhausted to actually make it happen.
As much as we’d all like to be those super-active people who always seem to have energy to spare, the truth is that we all experience some motivation dips from time to time. Whether you’re naturally more lowkey or just have a lot of stuff on your plate, exhaustion and tiredness can really put a damper on all the things you want to get done.
This can apply to anything you want to do, from making sure you’re eating healthy to getting to the gym, or even to picking up that book you’ve been wanting to get to forever. And yes, this can be very frustrating – but you don’t have to let it get in the way of your goals.
Here’s how to get stuff done … even on the days that you really can’t seem to muster up the energy to get going.
1. Break it down.
When you’re exhausted, it’s very easy to avoid tasks that seem way too overwhelming (and most likely in exchange for a nap). So, to make starting easier for yourself, break down what you need to do into smaller and more manageable parts that you know you can get done piece-by-piece.
If you’re having a really hard time starting up, sometimes it can help boost your motivation levels to just start by getting one small task done. For example, if you want to eat healthier, one easy task you could do that requires minimal effort would be to divide your snacks up into healthy portions, just to get the ball moving.
Alternatively, you can organize your to-do list with the hardest task first to get it over with – whatever you need to do to check things off your to-do list efficiently.
2. Make sure you’re eating for clean energy.
Sometimes, the easiest way to get more energy is to make sure that you’re actually fueling yourself the right way. It might be worth taking a look at your eating habits if you find that your energy levels are crashing all the time, especially after meals.
To start, make sure you’re not consuming a lot of sugars, which can throw your blood sugar for a loop and cause significant drowsiness. Check all of your labels and avoid anything with added sugar, and also avoid all processed foods made with flours, like breads, pastas, muffins, cookies, granola bars, etc … in exchange for natural foods their whole state.
3. Create the right environment for doing the task at hand.
Sometimes the best way to get yourself going is to make the effort as seamless as possible.
Know you need to work out? Queue up your favorite upbeat playlist and check out a couple of your favorite fitness personalities and videos to pump yourself up. Want to finally read that book? Set up a comfy reading nook with cozy lighting and minimal distractions. Need to cook more and eat out less? Make sure your kitchen is clean and organized to minimize stress.
Whatever you want to do, just make it as easy as possible for yourself!
4. Figure out the time of day you’re most active.
You might as well work with your nature instead of against it. Since our energy levels tend to shift throughout the day, you should figure out when you have the most energy during the day and dedicate portions of that time to getting things done, instead of forcing it when you’re naturally more tired.
For example, if you know that you’re an early bird, you can get up an hour earlier to be productive. On the other hand, if you know that you’re most active at night, set aside a chunk of time after work to work on your goals. Whatever the case is for you, make your natural habits work for you.
5. Take a (power) nap.
No, it’s not counterintuitive – if you really find yourself falling asleep, you might benefit from giving into it a little.
Power naps can be a great tool to add into those days where you just don’t feel like you can fully wake up, rather than struggling through and being less productive.
There are a ton of benefits to taking a short nap too: research has shown that getting a short midday snooze in can help boost your alertness, memory, and even your mood! [*]
Just make sure to keep it short and sweet – according to NASA, you only need to nap for about 10-20 minutes to increase morale and boost your productivity, minus the post-nap grogginess.
6. Try meditating.
One of the best ways to summon up some motivation for the things you really can’t seem to get yourself to do is to have a little check-in with yourself – and there are few tools for this as effective as meditation.
Not only does meditation improve your mindfulness, it can also be great for your productivity. Regular meditation has been shown to decrease your levels of cortisol (otherwise known as your “stress hormone”), and it can do wonders for improving your outlook and preventing burnout. [*]
Try setting aside a couple of minutes every morning to give yourself an intrinsic motivation boost.
7. Try out some time-management techniques.
On the days that just seem like they’re dragging, you might be able to maximize your productivity if you have some time-management tools under your belt. One popular method for keeping yourself on task even if you’re flagging is the Pomodoro Technique.
The great thing about this method is that you only have to stay motivated for small periods of time. It’s pretty simple: all you have to do is set aside a certain time period for concentrating, then break up your work time with little rest periods. The “classic” method would be to focus for 25 minutes then rest for 5, but you can change it up whatever time period that you can maintain a high level of motivation.
This is especially good for doing things that require concentration, like reading: set a timer for twenty-five minutes and throw your phone and all other distractions across the house and dedicate that time to doing nothing but the task at hand. You’ll get more done in a short amount of time (instead of dragging it out halfheartedly for hours). Then you can reward yourself for your productivity with a break after!
8. Make commitments out loud.
One of the biggest hurdles of getting stuff done even when you’re exhausted is not having any accountability. It’s really easy to skip that workout, ditch the healthy recipes, or ignore your cleaning duties if you don’t have anyone or anything to answer to but yourself.
Try telling your partners or loved ones about your goals to keep yourself accountable to them. Or if you don’t want to bring others into it, you can also try setting up a reward system for yourself to keep you going even when you don’t necessarily want to.
9. Try adaptogen herbs
Sometimes, stress can be at the root of feeling tired, especially if you’re tired often. If you find this is the case, give adaptogenic herbs a try.
Adaptogens are a class of plant that help your body adapt to stress and increase your resilience to it. As a result, studies have shown they can significantly boost energy levels.
Adaptogens to try include:
• Rhodiola rosea
• Siberian Ginseng
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The Bottom Line
To fight tiredness and keep yourself motivated, try:
• Breaking tasks down into smaller steps
• Make sure you’re eating clean
• Create the right environment
• Work when you’re most active
• Take a power nap
• Try meditating
• Try time-management techniques
• Make commitments out loud
• Try adaptogen herbs
We could all use a little kick every once in a while to get us moving (yes, even the most intrinsically-motivated among us). If you’re feeling tired or down, try adding these habits and tricks into your daily routine to get stuff done – no matter what.