Sometimes, we are just tired. We might be getting sick. We might have little ones who aren't sleeping through the night. We might have a major work project going on.
Whatever the reason, it’s frustrating to feel zapped of energy, especially when there is still so much to do. (Just ask that adorable, fuzzy koala.)
Being tired is especially problematic when we want our homes to be tidy, but after a long day of parenting or commuting or care-giving, we can't muster up the energy to spend even 5 minutes getting things back to where they should be.
Here are a few tips to help get you back on track. Think of this as an allergy test. Try a few of them. See which ones work. Toss the ones that don't.
Get Back to Basics
If you are tired, well, go to sleep.
Get back on a sleep routine that allows you to get the amount of sleep you need. Most of us need at least 7-8 hours nightly. Resist the urge to binge one more episode. Don't stare at that pesky blue light from your phone while in bed.
Give yourself a Do-Nothing Day. Permit yourself to do absolutely nothing. Be a couch sloth. Drift in and out of sleep. Be tired. (The ladies at Being Boss podcast and book coined the Do-Nothing Day. I tried it recently, and I'm hooked.)
Go for the Minimum Effective Dose
Give your body a break, and choose the path of least resistance.
Find a happy minimum. I posted on Instagram recently about Julie Morgenstern's Max/Mod/Min technique. When you're tired, you don't have to go all out. So the house is driving you crazy? You can't realistically make it all go away. How about settling for making the bed, clearing off the dining room table, and washing the dishes?
When faced with a long to-do list, choose only 3 Most Important Tasks to get done. Assign a time limit for each. Send that critical email - 15 minutes. Straighten up the house - 20 minutes. Return that voice mail - 10 minutes. Now you know that you can get your three Most Important Tasks done in just 45 minutes. Take a break between each task.
Try Some Jedi Mind Tricks
Once you've given your body a chance to recover, it's time to get some momentum.
Find your activation energy. Try Mel Robbins' 5-Second Rule. Imagine you are counting down a rocket to blast off. Count 5-4-3-2-1, and then get up. Do that thing you have to do. Don't think about it. Just do it.
Do it anyway. Another favorite trick of Mel's is "Do It Anyway." Don't want to send that email? Put a timer on for 10 minutes, and do it anyway. Don't want to wash the dishes? Do it anyway. As Gretchen Rubin often says, "The stewing is worse than the doing." Just get it done.
Try doing a task either reaaaaaallly slow or REALLY fast. The slowness gives you the grace to approach something with patience and attention, and the fastness provides you the energy you need to see results fast.
Make the task more enjoyable. One of my favorite blog posts is "Me and Ray LaMontagne Do the Dishes." Do I looooove doing dishes? No. Is it exponentially more enjoyable when I do them while being serenaded by a soulful singer-songwriter? Most definitely.
When you're tired, your number one priority is to get back on track, not being a social butterfly.
Remember Brene Brown's mantra, "choose discomfort over resentment." You don't have to accept every invitation. Just because someone throws you a ball, doesn't mean you have to catch it. Politely decline, put your PJs on early, and enjoy some quiet time.
Don't be afraid to offer an alternative. We often begrudgingly attend pointless meetings or coffee dates with people who want to "pick our brains." Instead of saying yes on auto-pilot, choose a less time-consuming route. Try, "I'm not available for that meeting. Can you send me a voice memo with your specific question, and I'll get back to you by tomorrow?" or "I'd love to share my experiences with you, but unfortunately this is my busy season. I could do a 15-minute phone call next week on Wednesday morning."
After 2-3 days of employing some of these techniques, you should be well on your way to your old chipper self.
Be gentle. You'll get there.