The demands on a busy entrepreneur mean that time for rest can be in short supply. But no matter how fatigued you become, your venture still needs plenty of attention, and you might not have the luxury of delegating essential tasks.
Here are nine proven ways of getting things done even when you’re tired and lacking in your usual entrepreneurial energy.
1) Prioritize Your Tasks
Sometimes, making a to-do list is an excuse for procrastination. But when you’re low on energy, it can be a hugely useful step. List your urgent tasks in order of difficulty, and tackle the hardest ones first. Use the energy you’ve got at the start of the day to achieve the toughest jobs, saving the easier ones for later when your motivation is at its lowest ebb.
2) Pace Yourself
When it comes to long term projects, consistency is key. But so is pacing yourself. Try and divide your work day into periods of half an hour to an hour, taking a five minute break after every section. Use the time to escape from work duties completely for a few minutes, ideally getting away from your desk and screen. Even a short break can boost your productivity when you return, and it’ll also stop the day stretching out interminably in front of you.
3) Stretch and Flex
During your short breaks, try to stretch your leg and arm muscles a little to give them a break from your desk-bound posture. Not only does this make you feel less physically strained and fatigued, it will also increase the blood flow to your brain for a small but useful boost in mental energy.
4) Work While Standing
Similarly, if you can work standing up for a while then the change in position can increase circulation, refreshing your muscles and boosting your mood. Maybe take your laptop to a windowsill or counter, or maybe make those vital phone calls while walking around. But no matter how you achieve it, a shift in position will certainly help rouse you from lethargy.
5) Get Some Natural Light
Another benefit of working at a windowsill is the increase in natural light you’ll be exposed to. Sunlight is known to increase mental performance, so if you can work near a bright window then do so. If you can’t, consider a short walk outdoors to get a little more re-energizing light on your skin.
6) Reduce Distractions
When you have no energy to waste, disable your email, phone, and social media notifications so that nothing distracts you during the periods you should be working. Although planned breaks are vital, unplanned ones can seriously disrupt your flow, draining your remaining mental stamina.
7) Change Your Environment
However, sometimes a little distraction is exactly what you need. If you find you can’t get going at your office, take your laptop to a local coffee shop or another place that’s buzzing with atmosphere. The energy may well rub off on you, giving your spirits and productivity a boost.
8) But Go Easy on Caffeine
Many people find it hard to get moving without a cup of coffee, but be careful of relying to heavily on caffeine’s energizing effects. Too much of the stimulant is counterproductive, leaving you prone to fatiguing headaches and distracting jitters. What’s more, coffee has a strong dehydrating effect when it’s drunk in quantity, and dehydration is a surefire route to fatigue.
To avoid this difficulty, either take a glass of water with your coffee, or switch to a refreshing, caffeine-free herbal tea for most of your daily drinks and you’ll avoid the downsides of a post-caffeine crash.
9) Take a Quick Peppermint Hit
But if you still need a little external stimulation at low points through the day, then keep a bottle of peppermint essential oil in your desk. A quick but careful sniff of the heady mixture can revitalize your mind quickly with no side effects.
Even the most driven entrepreneur’s energy can ebb and flow, but when your business relies on you there’s no space for slacking off. It’s important to avoid burnout, but following these tips will ensure you’re as productive as you can be when fatigue is threatening to get the better of you.