It’s the start of a new week and many of us are already exhausted, wondering how we’re going to get through it all once again.
The good news is we will get through it – we did so last week and the week before that, and every week since the last opportunity we had to take a break.
The bad news is we may not get to Friday feeling any less exhausted, no matter what we get done or how successful we feel we’ve been with our time.
So, I invite you all to try tackling the exhaustion head-on. The following tips will help.
1. Make your work hours actual work hours. Do you ever get to the end of a work day and wonder how only half of your to-list got done? Do you end up working over time in order to tick off more items? Think about what actually stood in the way of your productivity and find ways to address it. Perhaps it was too many meetings, too much time spent on emails, or too much talking with colleagues. Or maybe it was just pure procrastination -- on social media, on various blogs or something else. Seriously look at how you're spending your time and what measures or parameters you can put in place to prioritise productivity.
2. Leave work on time. As above, this starts by actually getting work done during work hours. Commit yourself to leaving the office at an exact time, to the minute. Keep an eye on the clock at the end of the day and ensure you're doing everything you can to meet that end target. And if you don't get through the to-do list, leave anyway.
3. Go to sleep an hour earlier. I’m guessing that the last couple of hours of your evening are the least productive. They’re either the point where you attempt to get some work done – and spend twice as much time proofreading that document because you cant keep your eyes open – or the point where the television goes on to watch the latest Netflix series or some reality TV program. Now, this downtime is important but if it comes at the expense of your sleep, than you need to eliminate it. Try going to bed earlier with a book instead.
4. Wake up an hour earlier. Wait, what? Didn’t I just suggest you find yourself an extra hour’s sleep? No, I suggested you get to bed earlier at the end of the day when you're not at your best. There's a reason why one of the most common traits that links famous entrepreneurs is that they wake up early. This is a time when you're fresh, creative and the most uninterrupted. It's your power hour when you can get started on difficult tasks, which can set you up for a successful day and save you hours of work later on.
5. Eat well, and find natural energy sources. Our body and brain will only be as good as the sources we use to fuel it. Unfortunately eating well and finding great sources of natural energy can seem time-consuming. But you don't need to prepare a morning green smoothie with a list of weird supplements you can't actually pronounce, or even a salad with 43 different ingredients. Try picking up some ready-made 'fast food' options at the supermarket. Blueberries, bananas, strawberries, apples, raw almonds and other nuts. Snack when you're hungry and avoid a carb-loaded lunch. Just keep it all natural and don't touch the sugar-loaded 'health' options like muesli bars and cereal.
6. Delegate, delegate, delegate. You don't need to have a team of employees to delegate, or to be in a position of power. Delegation actually starts with saying 'no' to certain things, and leaving them for other people to do. While you don't want to leave a great opportunity on the table, you also don't want to pursue an opportunity that you're too exhausted to effectively exploit. Now if you have a team, or a family or even a flatmate, divvy up tasks that need to be done. Delegation starts with communication, get others involved in what needs to get done at the beginning of the process instead of scrambling at the last minute (which will piss everyone off)
7. Drink sensibly. Many of us enjoy a glass a wine with dinner, some of us also enjoy the odd bottle of wine when we head out for the evening. The sad reality is that even occasional 'binge drinking' sessions will destroy all the good work we do for our health and leave you feeling utterly exhausted for days after the big night out. Drink sensibly and enjoy your alcohol, rather than simply using it as a vice for getting through networking events or for socialising with friends.
8. Find time for at least 30 minutes of exercise. How you spend this thirty minutes will depend on your fitness goals. Perhaps you go for a run or a yoga class, maybe you swim laps at the local pool. Or maybe it's simply just a walk at lunchtime to clear your head. Find something you enjoy and can commit to, and prioritise it every single day.
Meredith is a contributing writer to Women's Agenda. She is is not a consultant, or a management guru. She's not even a published author. Just someone who's made plenty of mistakes, and learnt a few lessons along the way.