6 Steps For Getting Stuff Done When You Think You’re Tired But Really Aren’t

I’m tired this morning.

I think.

For a lot of people in the Northern Hemisphere, this has been a long-ass winter. I live in Toronto, and we just came through a four-day spring storm involving, snow, ice, freezing rain, strong winds, and grey depressing skies.

My Twitter feed was full of this:

I don’t know about you, but I am strongly affected by the seasons, and I have been craving the arrival of spring like it’s my job. This last storm had me house-bound, unable to get out for activity, and cranky. I’m just exhausted.

Not really.

Exhausted is the new parent who doesn’t get more than 20 minutes of sleep at a time. Exhausted is the young resident working a 24 hour shift in the ER. Exhausted is the power crew working around the clock to restore electricity after a winter storm. You get the idea.

I understand that I’m not really tired. I’m just suffering from Winter Crank (yes, I just made that up), and that has the same symptoms as fatigue.

So what’s a girl to do?

You know I’d rather curl up on the couch and close my eyes for a bit longer this morning, but my to-do list is calling.

Six Steps For Getting Your Stuff Done When You Have Winter Crank

I mean if you’re REALLY tired (see above), go lie down. Work you do in this condition is going to be crappy anyway. Take a nap, even 20 minutes if you can. Studies show a 20-minute power nap can work wonders.

But if you’re honest with yourself and you discover you have Winter Crank, here’s what you can do:

  1. Stand outside for five minutes and do some deep breathing. You don’t have to meditate. Just put your phone down and go outside. Stare at something and just breathe deeply for five minutes.
  2. Now go back inside and make a lunch date, coffee break date, or some other date that involves talking to people outside your usual circle. If you work from home and all your neighbours are at the office, then make a plan to go to a local store and chat with the people there. Talking to people outside your family or immediate work colleagues not only boosts your energy, but will also be something to look forward to.
  3. Next, make a list of the absolute essential things that you have to do, despite your Winter Crank.
  4. Make coffee or tea with caffeine. I know, artificial energy boosters are NOT the best, but desperate times call for desperate measures. If your are caffeine free, then how about a delicious breakfast cookie or protein bar?
    Put your phone on silent. Turn on music you can work to, or put on silencing headphones if you need peace and quiet.
  5. Finally, choose the easiest thing on the list and just do it. I know a lot of people say that you should do the biggest thing first but we are dealing with Winter Crank and we need your dopamine levels to go up. It’s well known that crossing things off a list actually does that, so find the easiest thing, do it, and cross it off the list, and then go to the next easiest thing and so on until you’re done.

I guarantee that as you start crossing things off the list your fatigue will also start to fade. The little dopamine guy in your head will be making you feel so good you may even want to tackle some big project you’ve been avoiding!

OK, that may be too much to hope for, so don’t.

Just focus on what has to be done. Breathe. Talk to people. And do it.

Until next time,

Ruth.

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