Want to stop feeling tired? Maybe that’s a silly question. A lot of us get so used to ‘running on empty’ we barely register we’re exhausted any more.
But having energy to do the things you want to isn’t a luxury. It’s essential if you’re going to have the impact you’re capable of.
What’s more, being tired can actually be dangerous
According to Barna Group, a research group in the States, only 39% of us are satisfied with the amount of sleep we’re getting. In other words – 61% of us are probably feeling tired. And this matters, because according to another piece of research (this time from Harvard Medical School) if you’re only sleeping four to five hours a night it’s the equivalent of operating with a blood alcohol level of 0.1%.
So most of us are trying to manage our lives, our businesses, and our work, with impaired executive functioning.
It’s not your fault!
But it is your responsibility to do something about it.
If you want to stop feeling tired, let’s start by getting honest. How often do you feel like you’ve run out of energy? Is it every day? Is it once or twice a week? Are you feeling run down on a month-by-month basis? Is it very rare for you?
Write it down, get clear, be honest with yourself.
So why are we so tired?
The problem often starts with the way we’re taught success works. For example, I started my working life as a medical doctor. This is a realm where 24-hour shifts are not unknown.
It may well be that you also got trained inside an organization which was run on similar lines – where pushing yourself and working all hours was something senior people always did.
And yet the evidence is clear: it’s not healthy, or even effective, to be operating at a state of depletion. Let alone the fact that it’s not much bloody fun to be on your knees all the time, right?
Just as we were ‘raised’ in a culture where tiredness was often celebrated, it’s up to us to model a different way of doing things.
So, what can you do if you realise you really are tired all the time? How can you boost your energy without sacrificing the many important things you do each day, or doubling the amount of sleep you get each night?
Ready to stop feeling tired? Here are 3 ways to boost your energy
1. Replenish yourself
If you’re in a state of chronic tiredness, and you’re experiencing a loss in executive function (for example indecisiveness or an inability to make clear decisions) then you’re probably not in the best place to think about about the changes you’ll need to make.
The good news is, you don’t need 14 hour’s sleep or a day at the spa to get back some of your energy. (Though if either of those are options for you right now, I give you permission to grab them with both hands…)
Some fresh air, movement, and making sure you’re hydrated and fed will give you the base you need to think about other changes you can make. Drink a big glass of water; make yourself a snack and head out for a quick walk round the block. It’s amazing the boost these simple things can give you.
Come back, and it’s time to take a look at longer term ways to make a difference to your days.
2. Batch your tasks
One of the biggest ways we leak energy is when we switch between tasks.
For example: You’re in deep focus mode preparing a project, and then your email pings. An urgent message has come in, and you’re back in your inbox, only while you’re there you remember a few other things you ought to do. Whoops, there’s that email from a friend you meant to reply to last week, only you didn’t have time. Should you do it now?
Before you know it, 5 minutes has become an hour and by the time you return to the big piece of writing you’ve totally lost your train of thought.
Often, it’s not the amount of things on your to-do list that is the problem. It’s the number of different energies on your to-do list on any given day.
Instead – if you’ve got 15 tasks on your list for today, you might find that they can all get batched into just three different energies.
And if you re-organize your day to do them together rather than just starting at the top and going down? You’ll find you’re much less tired when you get to the end of your day.
Need some extra help?
In Be Fruitful, our 6-week online training that helps busy women free up 5 hours a week (at least!) to do what they want, we delve into this in much more detail. (Click here if you’d like to get the full lowdown on the training). I call it Batching for Energy Matching. It’s a foundational principle, because it makes such a difference so quickly.
As a starting point, try taking 10 minutes at the start of your day to block out time for the different things you’ll need to do, and when you’re best placed to do them.
Do you like to ease into your day with some admin tasks while you sip your coffee? Or do you prefer to get the big, scary tasks done so that you’re relaxed for the rest of the day?
Paying attention to the ebb and flow of your natural energy and grouping your tasks accordingly is the best way I’ve found to change up my energy, reduce my tiredness and ultimately maximise the impact of my work. I’d love to know how it works for you.
3. Find your rhythm
Every month I go through four pretty distinct seasons of energy. A winter where I want to withdraw from the world, a spring, a summer, and an autumn.
We all have cycles. And even if you don’t menstruate, you may well notice you’re still cyclical. Your energy levels cycle.
My third suggestion if you want to stop feeling tired is for you to start to think about yourself as a being who goes through cycles and rhythms which can be predicted and relied upon. And to realize that, if you start to harness those natural advantages, those natural strengths and those natural optimum times that you have, that you might be able to create real shifts in your energy levels.
Ritual and rhythm orientate us in our life and helps us tap into the energy that allows us to be most effective with the least stress and depletion.
How to build rituals into your day
You will have times of the day where you are at your peak for different tasks – start to notice it about yourself. And then start to lay a ritual into the day to help you be ready for those things.
So for instance, I have a ritual to start the day. I get up, I go down into my kitchen, I make my tea and I do some morning writing. Three pages every single day, and then I have a little way of getting in contact with my purpose, what I’m up to.
As the old adage goes, if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. Well, I would say, if you fail to plan like a woman, you’re planning to fail as a man.
So always overlay any planning process you have with the recognition that you’re a cyclical creature who is not as necessarily as modal as your average man.
Tell me – does this help?
Managing our energy is such a huge part of being the leaders we are able to be, and so I’m always curious about how this goes for you. Do you want to stop feeling tired and are you willing to give these ideas a try?Leave a comment below, and let me know if finding a rhythm and batching your tasks to match your energy makes a difference. I really would love to find out.
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