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Published on December 28, 2020

Too Tired At Work? 4 Ways To Regain Focus

Too Tired At Work? 4 Ways To Regain Focus

I once heard it someone said, “No one gets a prize for burnout.” It’s a lovely saying. But how many of us abide by this ideology? Not many. If we did, Botox and wrinkle cream would be a thing of the past. We’re tired at work and because of work.

Since childhood, we’re groomed to work for the weekend. But working for two days per week robs us from enjoying the other 260 days. None of us grew up with the mission to be exhausted. But far too many of us have accepted this rat race as business as usual.

From Monday to Friday, we complain about the craziness. And then escape on Saturday and Sunday with a pitcher of sangria. Isn’t this the way that life is supposed to be?

There’s nothing wrong with hard work. It’s what makes the world go round. But if our only moment of joy is zoning out to Hulu in our comfiest pajamas, we might need to rethink our chaotic schedule.

If you’re tired of grabbing your coffee on the run, yelling at the kids as you race to the door, and driving like a maniac to make it to your morning meeting, grab a nice glass of wine and enjoy this read.

In this article, I’ll reveal a couple of reasons why your exhausted and give you some practical tips to keep your sanity and social life without experiencing so much fatigue. Let’s get you started on this journey.

Why You Might Be Exhausted

Before I go to the practical tips, let’s first discuss the two main reasons why you might be tired, especially at work.

You Are Tied to Technology

According to Deloitte, most employees are exhausted. But more specifically, their source of depletion is tied to operating in an “always on” and “always available work” culture.[1]

Technology has removed all boundaries and in many ways, it has removed an employee’s right to say no. Employees don’t feel like they have the option to shut off their phones, have a life separate from their job, or escape the piles of paperwork.

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This reality is leading to burnout and stress. Many employees feel like they can’t escape or even take a breath when they’re away from work. Because, in all honesty, they’re never away from the office.

Technology has made a business structure without walls. But that also means that there are no doors. This open concept of business is a blessing, but it’s also created a corporate environment that doesn’t respect personal boundaries.

This constant access to employees might work well for a company’s bottom line, but it will lead to higher burnout levels and employee dissatisfaction in the long run.

You Value Performance Instead of Purpose

Workforce Institute conducted a study and found that “95 percent of HR professionals perceive that employee burnout is sabotaging productivity” within the workplace.[2]

Repeat after me: “Life is more than the weekend.”

No amount of burnout will get you to the corner office. It doesn’t take more energy to reach your goals. It requires making the right decisions. Remember, it’s not about working hard—it’s about working smart.

The hamster wheel will not get you to where you want to be. It will only lead you to more fatigue and frustration. If you feel stuck and tired at work, you’re not alone. You can shift your narrative and your sleep schedule. But if you want to change your life, then you need to change your habits.

4 Ways To Change the Way You Work

Change takes time. It also requires you to ask what you want out of life. When you take the time to know who you are and what you need, you’ll have the confidence to write your story. Pinning down your boundaries protects your purpose.

All of us experience exhaustion. But if you’re tired at work 99.9% of the time, then something needs to change, and it’s not always the job. Many times, the most significant change starts with us.

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You can regain your focus, but you need to take some time for personal introspection before experiencing higher productivity. Here are four tips that you can put into effect now!

1. Remember Your “Why”

What is your motivation?

When you were younger, you were compelled by your goals and driven by your dreams. But once you hit 30, you realized that you couldn’t pay the rent with pretend money or your 3-year vision board.

Sacrifice is a part of adulthood. After all, we’ve all learned how to pivot and survive the twists and turns. There’s nothing wrong with being responsible. But whether we like it or not, the strains of reality pop our bubble and push many of us towards burnout.

Stepping away from our foundational dreams comes at a price, which can include our health, our wholeness, and our sense of purpose. If we want to regain our focus, we need to take the time to rediscover what makes us tick. We have to make space in our schedules to work on our “why.” We can’t just be led by our “what.”

If we don’t take the time to remember the reason behind our work, we lose ourselves in work. If you want to regain your focus and stop being tired at work, you need to remember your purpose. Once you make that the foundation of your life, all of your decisions will center around that focus.

2. Recenter Your Life

One of the biggest things that you can do is to carve out time for contemplation. Now, I’m not talking about a quick morning ritual or a meditation retreat. I mean seeing yourself as a priority on your task list, not an option.

Too many of us sacrifice ourselves for the sake of deadlines. We spend days preparing our presentation and researching statistics, but we put off going to the gym or getting that extra hour of sleep. We worship doing more than being.

Numerous studies have come to the same conclusion: We all need put ourselves first if we want to thrive in business. But we don’t listen to the research. Too many of us continue to live off of coffee and spreadsheets regardless of the numbers. It’s not healthy, but it is tied to corporate culture.

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Far too many companies reward this type of behavior. They expect their employees to be available 24/7 and bleed paperclips and printouts day-and-night. And it’s only gotten worse since we’ve started working from home.

According to the Harvard Business Review, “one of the best ways to manage through chaos is to anchor yourself in routine.”[3] Self-care has to be a part of our daily routine. Regaining focus requires us to recenter ourselves. It demands that we place our needs into the equation without feeling guilty.

3. Rethink Your Expectations

We all remember the iconic line from Family Matters. Steve Urkel would hike up his pants, adjust his glasses, and utter those four iconic words that made him an endearing celebrity of the 90s.

“Did I do that?”

We can still picture his squeamish expression as he faced another kerfuffle that he had created. Many of us can relate.

After hours of exhaustion, we desperately try to keep our eyes open at work without running into walls. We blankly stare at the piles of paperwork, mindlessly nod as our boss asks us to add one more item to our checklist, and pray that we don’t drool through our endless meetings.

This is just life. Or is it?

For many of us, this is our average workweek. We color-coordinate our schedules, add endless monotonous tasks to our week, and hope that we can balance everything without losing our sanity. What if there was a better way to survive? There is.

4. Reorganize Your Task List

If you’re continuously exhausted at work, one of the biggest things you can do to regain focus is to rethink your task list. You don’t need to accomplish everything. And even if you do, your task list doesn’t necessarily have to be solely done by you.

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Before you begin the rat race on Monday mornings, use Sundays to restructure your workweek. Write a list of people that you work with and their correlating skill sets. Then, look at your list of things to do.

Break your task list into three columns. Fill the first section with tasks that only you can do. Then, fill the second section with functions that don’t need to be done or can be pushed to a future date. Lastly, fill the third section with tasks that can be done by others.

Adding items to your checklist might give you a feeling of accomplishment. But if you continue to micromanage your task list, you won’t be able to move forward.

If you want to regain focus and stop being tired at work, start with your planner. Not everything needs to be crossed off or completed. Sometimes, the best way to meet your goals is to remove the ones keeping you stuck.

Final Thoughts

If you’re tired of being tired at work, take a look at these four tips and implement one of these practices into your week. Remember, it’s not a race. These tips are not just another thing to add to your task list. Their purpose is to help you understand your specific triggers that lead to burnout.

If you want to restore your joy, remember your why, and recenter your life—you need to understand yourself. Take time to implement boundaries that provide work-life balance. Make 2021 the year that you enjoy your work week, not the year that makes you pray for the weekend.

More Tips For When You’re Tired at Work

Featured photo credit: Shane via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Dr. Colleen Batchelder

Diversity and Inclusion Consultant and Leadership Strategist | Executive Coach | Dr. Batchelder teaches business leaders how to create corporations where Millennials want to work.

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Last Updated on January 22, 2021

5 Simple Stretches to Boost Your Energy at Your Office Desk

5 Simple Stretches to Boost Your Energy at Your Office Desk

Everyone knows that sitting for long periods of time is bad for your body and your mind. Getting the blood flowing helps you stay fresh with creativity, boosts energy, and helps your body work more efficiently. Many of us don’t have the opportunity to get up and move around as often as we should, but simple stretches added in during the day can help.

Studies have found that prolonged sitting can lead to increased risk in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, deep-vein thrombosis, and metabolic syndrome. Sitting is also known to increase pain by tightening the hip flexor and hamstring muscle, as well as stiffening the joints. This can cause problems with balance and gait in addition to the obvious discomfort.[1]

One study found that “greater total sedentary time” and “longer sedentary bout duration” were both associated with a higher risk of death. Basically, those who moved around less were more likely to die from any cause[2].

While many of us have busy schedules that limit the amount of time we can exercise each day, doing simple stretches throughout the day at your desk can be a great option to encourage movement, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Here are 5 simple stretches you can do while sitting to improve your mind and body.

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1. Seated Twist

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    Sitting in your chair while keeping a long, tall spine, place your right hand on the outside of your left knee. Use that hand as leverage to twist to your left, and place your left hand as far to the right as possible to have something to hang onto while you twist. Now join it with your breath.

    Exhale as you move into your twist, and inhale as you ease off. Repeat on the other side. Repeat for each side 2-3 times.

    This simple stretch is great to offer a release for your back, neck, and shoulders. The twist will also help rinse out your internal organs, giving you a little boost of energy.

    2. Chest/Shoulder Opener

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    Blog: Simple Yoga Techniques to Increase Effectiveness at Work

      Sitting on the edge of your chair, clasp your hands behind your back, opening up your chest and shoulders. Inhale/exhale several times, noticing that when you inhale your stretch increases. Release and repeat 2-3 times.

      This stretch, while aimed at the chest muscles, can also alleviate some upper back pain, as we often feel pain in this area when our chest muscles are tight. This will also open up your lungs, allowing you to take some deep breaths, which can help reduce stress.

      3. Seated Pigeon

      Yoga In The Office: 6 Chair Poses To Improve Your Posture

        I call this one Seated Pigeon as it is a cousin to the yoga pose called Pigeon, which is performed lying on the floor. Clearly this isn’t an option at work. This Seated Pigeon version might not work if you are wearing a short skirt or dress unless you have an office to yourself!

        Sit on the edge of your chair and place your right ankle over your left knee. Be sure that your left foot is directly under your left knee and flat on the floor. Sit nice and tall, imagining a string is pulling the crown of your head up towards the ceiling.

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        This one is great for releasing your gluteus medius and minimus muscles, as well as your piriformis muscles. These are your hip abductors. These are usually what aches when you sit so much! Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds, and repeat on each side 2-3 times.

        This will offer a great release in the hips, as well as create stability in the knee joint. Both of these will help you avoid pain once you get up to leave work for the day.

        4. Hip Flexor Stretch

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          Sitting truly shortens and tightens your little hip flexor. This sits at the front in the crease of your hip. It runs through your pelvis to your back, so when it is tight, it often presents with an achy back.

          To lengthen this muscle while at your desk, sit at the edge of your chair, but shift to face to your left. Take your right leg and extend it behind you with as straight a knee as you can. Sit tall, and lift your sternum while trying to tuck your tailbone under, as this will deepen the stretch.

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          Repeat on the other side. Repeat for both sides 2-3 times.

          5. Hamstring Stretch

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            This is an easy one to do either just before you sit down or just after getting up. While standing, soften your right knee and extend your left leg in front of you with your heel on the floor. On your left leg, draw your toes upwards, keep your knee slightly bent so you don’t strain your ligaments behind your knee.

            You want to feel the stretch in the belly of the muscle (that is, your mid-thigh, at the back of your leg) rather than behind the knee. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and switch to the other side. Repeat each side 2-3 times.

            Stretching out your hamstring can help relieve knee and lower back pain. It can also help increase your balance and range of motion. If you like to spend your free time running or jogging, your hamstrings will be grateful you took a moment to stretch them out at work as these muscles are notorious for tightening up quickly.

            The Bottom Line

            It isn’t necessary to do all of the stretches all at once. Take a stretch break every 45 minutes or so and choose a couple of different stretches. Next time, choose a different set of simple stretches. Ultimately, your brain and body will thank you for it!

            More Stretches for Your Day

            Featured photo credit: Keren Levand via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Harvard Health Publishing: The dangers of sitting
            [2] Annals of Internal Medicine: Patterns of Sedentary Behavior and Mortality in U.S. Middle-Aged and Older Adults

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