The next time you have one of those days where you can’t get anything done, you feel irritable, etc. stop and think about how well you slept the night before (or even the past couple nights). For me personally I’ve noticed that lack of sleep seems to be the underlying cause when I’m having one of those days. Try getting a power nap in but the real solution is to make sure you are well rested.
Ever have one of those days when you can’t get anything done, nothing works, and, to put it simply, everything you touch falls apart? I have had a few of those days myself, and I have noticed a pattern. At least one of these things is almost always true when I have a day, or even a period of several hours, where I’m not functioning well.
The most common problem is that I just didn’t get enough sleep the night before or, in some cases, for two or three nights before. If you’re just very tired, and you have the option, try to fit in at least a twenty-minute power nap, maybe at lunch if you can’t manage anything else. Too often we try to fix tiredness with sugar and caffeine.
That may work for a while, and to a degree, but the only real way to recharge your brain is to allow it to rest for a while.
Power naps can be amazingly helpful, if you can just close your eyes and completely relax for twenty minutes. In fact, if you’re feeling too tired to do your work well, a quick nap like this may recharge you better than an extended nap, as well as leaving you feeling less groggy than a two-hour snooze.
Another problem I have that leaves me basically nonfunctional is that I haven’t eaten recently, or haven’t eaten the right things, and my blood sugar is low. Sometimes this is hard to tell from tired. For me, the symptoms of hungry include lethargy, extreme sleepiness, a “numb brain,” and the inability to think well enough to realize I’ve let myself get too hungry.
The obvious cure for this is a meal, but sometimes that’s not possible. Keeping high-protein/high-carb snack food in your office is a must if this happens to you on occasion. Those little packets of bread sticks or crackers with peanut butter are really good for this. Fruit is good, too, for a quick revival.
I’m not one to get angry and stay angry very often, but sometimes when my other gauges are a little off and I’m hungry or tired, I get irritated about things and am not completely able to let it go and get on with what I need to do.
I’ve found the best cure for this is taking a break and/or exercise. Blow off a little steam, take a walk or just do a few calisthenics in my office. This also helps the tired problem, so I can take care of two energy drains at one time.
Because I work alone, I am particularly prone to loneliness, and I know a lot of other solopreneurs get lonely, too. I’m lucky because I talk with coaching clients several times a day, and my loneliness is always short-term.
If you work alone, or live alone, and find yourself feeling lonely, take the time to reach out to a friend on the phone or arrange a get-together. One of my colleagues goes to the library several times a week, sometimes twice a day. Part of this is to get books; part of it is to see real people and have conversations in real time. Maybe you can find a destination like this for your loneliness fix.
The bottom line here is, take care of your physical and emotional needs, and you will find that you are so much better able to do what you need to do, not only at work but all day long.
Simply remember the acronym H.A.L.T.
How can you avoid being hungry, angry, lonely or tired?