Another day at work, and I’m exhausted.
I’ve been staring at my computer and typing super intensely for hours.
I immediately started taking inventory of all that could be wrong – Is it my packed schedule? The projects? The meetings? What’s going on?
When we feel drained or exhausted or frustrated – whatever that negative feeling is – we immediately look to external circumstances. What can we change?
In some cases the work isn’t a right fit or our environment is draining, but other times we simply need to change our habits and how we move throughout the day. This is especially important if you’re stuck in an energy-draining job.
Here are three things you can do right now to move through your workday with more ease so you can (1) get your work done and (2) feel really good doing it.
Start Your Day the Right Way
I get a lot of questions around my morning routine. What do you do first thing in the am? And are you consistent?
I can’t say I have a set morning routine. Getting ready in the morning with a two year old requires a lot of juggling. But regardless, I have a few non-negotiable items.
- I don’t start my morning by checking my phone because I find this throws me off and makes my brain feel cluttered. Instead of feeling grounded and setting my intention for the day, I jump to my to-do list, the emails I need to respond to, oh and there’s that other item that’s missing from my to do list. Essentially I lose control of the day.
- I do spend 5 minutes getting centered either through meditation or writing in the Five Minute Journal. No matter how busy you are, you have five minutes. You don’t have to wake up early to fit this in. You can spend 5 minutes getting centered wherever you are.
- I’ll take a long walk on my commute. This helps me zone out and tap into my creativity. Overall, my brain feels rested before I start the day.
If establishing a full morning routine feels daunting, you’re not alone. Find one or two things that help you feel grounded. That’s good enough.
Procrastination is exhausting. Have you ever observed what’s happening when you’re procrastinating? I caught myself doing this the other day: Look at a task on my to-do list, stare at it for awhile, think about it, then decide to not work on it.
This would happen every twenty minutes or so.
What a waste of time and energy! Start, stop, start, stop…
Although we all have a tendency to procrastinate, chronic procrastination can impact your health and increase your stress.
So how do we stop?
First, I schedule my to-do list the night before. This way I know what I have to work on during the day and don’t spend time going back and forth on items.
I also block out one to two hours for each large task. This saves time and energy because I know, for example, I’ll work on this blog post from 12- 2 p.m. I don’t have to worry about it outside this time block.
Lastly, I push through the resistance by telling myself this is temporary. If it’s a task that I’m really dreading I remember that I’m only working on this item for another hour, then I’m done with it.
Make Time for Pleasure and Joy
In “The Science of Positive Thinking: How Positive Thoughts Build Your Skills, Boost Your Health, and Improve Your Work,” James Clear talks about the “broaden and build” theory in which positive emotions broaden our sense of possibility.
For example, when we’re joyful, we have the urge to play, and when we’re curious, we have the urge to explore. These emotions impact our actions and ultimately lead us to broaden our skill sets.
I’ve found that joy is the first thing that goes when we’re stressed.
So let’s take a minute and reflect – when you’re feeling super drained at work, what would make you feel good? Going for a walk? Calling a friend? Sitting alone for awhile thinking about nothing?
These breaks allow us to shift our mind from stress and exhaustion to something positive. It’s when we’re feeling good that the day moves with ease.
And if you’re in a toxic environment, it’s even more important that you find the pockets of joy in your day. These will anchor you and help you get through your difficult situation with a clearer mind.
In Conclusion: Get Your Energy Back, Get Your Work Done & Feel Good Doing It
Exhaustion happens, and that’s ok. If it’s happening constantly, however, try to dig deeper. In some cases you should work to escape these circumstances completely.
But other times, focus on changing your mindset. Focus on changing your habits, and your day will feel significantly lighter.
Now we’d love to hear from you. What’s the greatest insight you’ve taken from this article? And what are some strategies you use to overcome exhaustion at work?