How Can You be Productive When You’re Tired?

That's the wrong question to ask. There's a much better one to consider.

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When clients ask me how they can be productive when they’re tired or not feeling 100%, I don’t answer their question.


Because I can’t.

Well, maybe it’s not an “I can’t” but more of a “I won’t”.

Instead, I ask them why they’re tired.

At first, they’re silent. I can hear the wheels turning in their brains; as if they’re trying to figure out where I’m going.

It’s at this point that I ask them this question:

Why are you…

  • tired?
  • stressed?
  • overwhelmed?
  • angry?
  • frustrated?
  • worried?

Again, this is usually met with silence.

I go on to explain that I believe it is nearly impossible to be productive when you’re tired, stressed, overwhelmed, angry, frustrated, worried or any other negative state.

Instead, I tell them, let’s figure out why you’re experiencing these states.

It’s not that complicated. Solve why you’re so tired, make the necessary corrections/adjustments and your energy level should return (see the end for a reason why this may not work). The same goes with the other states.

Let’s take feeling tired.


How much sleep are you getting each night?

  • Are you getting consistent quality sleep almost every night? If your answer is no, what do you need to do to solve this issue?
  • Are you sleeping in a bed (instead of the couch or easy chair)?
  • Is the area you’re sleeping in set up for quality sleep? No light, no noise (or maybe white noise or a soundscape like rain or crickets)?

Are you trying to do too much?

  • Are you saying yes more than you say no? Always the people pleaser?
  • Do you feel as if you’re pushing a rope?
  • Solution: ease back on what you’re doing. Yes, some people may become upset at you but you are only one person and can only do so much.

Are you taking breaks/time off?

  • Do you take a 2-5 minute micro-break whenever you need to during the day?
  • Are you taking time to enjoy your life as well as work?
  • Are you taking your vacations? Or weekends off?
  • Is life all about working for you?

If you’re constantly fatigued and just can’t get things done, don’t ignore it.

Spend some time doing the exercise I just illustrated for feeling tired for whatever you’re experiencing in which you don’t have energy and begin to make the corrections/adjustments you need to.

However…if this doesn’t work, consult your medical professional. Perhaps there is something going on health-wise. Don’t ignore this.

I firmly believe that it is nearly impossible to be productive when your tired. That you need to address what’s causing your fatigue or any other negative state and do what you need to do in order to solve or ease the issue.

Then your energy level should return to normal and you can resume being your productive self.

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