How many answers are there to the question ”Why Do I Feel So Tired?”
Millions! And for every single answer, there are millions of possible solutions. Which rather suggests it’s not a problem that’s going to be solved quickly, well not if you start churning through them all.
The problem is often that we like to explore all avenues, and the internet today gives us so many ideas and options.
Off the top of my head, the top answers to the “Why Am I So Tired” question is:
Not Enough Exercise
Too Much Exercise
Not Enough Sleep
Too Much Sleep
and there are loads more…
Of course, you should explore any health concerns with your doctor, but did you notice there is something missing from this list? It’s just that you’re tired, you need a break, it’s time to rest and rejuvenate.
It’s ok to be tired. It’s ok to need to stop for a while.
When was the last time you took a proper break? Not one of those breaks where you’re so knackered you had to stop because you couldn’t possibly carry on any more, and so you lay down or sat in front of the TV feeling guilty about what you’re not doing?
The idea they put forward is that resilience is about working really hard and then stopping, recovering, and having another big go. It’s not about plodding on relentlessly no matter what.
I learned this lesson recently when I organised a really big event. The planning went on for months and work for the actual event went over 3 physically and mentally draining days of setting up, running the event on the day and then clearing up afterwards.
What I didn’t factor into the planning was that I would be totally knackered afterwards which meant that the tasks I’d scheduled for almost immediately after I’d got this event out of the way either didn’t get done or weren’t done properly.
I love my business, not every single aspect of it, but most of it. This means I find it difficult to stop doing things with it and for it, difficult to stop talking about it and difficult to stop thinking of new ways to do things. But now I also know that making time to rejuvenate my body and my brain is also the way to get more done, be more creative and live a richer life.
But none of this means it’s easy to stop, wind down and let go. Here are a few techniques I found worked for me…
Make a decision to have 24 hours off. No email, no writing, no nothing apart from crap TV and a good book.
If you’re feeling a bit jaded but still want to do some work, how about working from bed or the sofa?
Do take a bit of exercise and preferably by some trees or water.
Book a break of at least 4 days off and stick to it.
Have at least one full 24 hours off every week or 10 days.
Let yourself have the break in the knowledge you will come back fighting fit and get loads more done as your new revitalised self.
Sometimes, you just need to let yourself get bored.
Imagine some possible scenarios you may find yourself in as a woman in business:
You do a talk that doesn’t get the rip-roaring response you were hoping for – instead of the anticipated round of applause as you wind up with your grand finale, there’s a ripple of murmuring and a few sideways glances.
Two of your favourite clients leave you and go to your competitor.
Your biggest paying client cancels.
Whilst trawling through social media you find out someone has nicked the title, agenda and most of the copy for the workshop you’ve just launched.
A client who has always been thrilled with you, out of the blue, writes you a sarcastic and complaining email.
There are just loads of things that go wrong in business and often the first reaction is to dive into a freefall of feeling as though it’s all gone wrong. But has it really ALL gone wrong? ALL of it?
It may be totally ghastly but if you have another quick look, the chances are that it’s just a little bit of what you’re doing overall.
I Must Do Something – QUICK!*!*
When we have a jolt that makes our adrenaline pump, our first reaction is often to do something, anything, regardless of what good or harm it will do.
Adrenalin pushes us into a fight or flight response, and it’s a quick reaction which means the thing we usually end up doing isn’t the most productive, constructive or helpful. It could even make things worse, or at best not get you anywhere apart from wasting time, money and energy.
What sort of thing do we often do as a fighting knee jerk reaction?
Ringing or emailing and saying you’re sorry – you don’t even know if you’ve done anything wrong yet!
Re-designing your website, business cards, logo etc.
Commenting on social media posts.
Yes, this is all action. It may satisfy our brains’ hunger for action, but it’s unlikely any of it will do any good and it’s probably going to make it worse.
If you’re prone to knee-jerking ‘do it now and regret it later’, then you may find creating a simple system to implement can stop you.
And Then There’s Freezing
You know you should respond to the complaint email but you’re frozen. The days tick by, you’ve said nothing and it’s almost getting worse by the minute. You find it difficult to do anything else constructive because your brain is stuck in this one problem.
Systems and Systems Systems!
The idea is that if something horrid happens then your first action is to go to your system. So keep it handy, in your journal, your handbag, whatever you use every day. It’s not good filing it away with the business plan that’s nicely presented in an A4 folder on a shelf in your office because when that gut-wrench reaction happens, your go-to plan needs to be immediately to hand.
And these systems need to be simple. Here’s an example:
Customer Complaints Procedure:
Acknowledge the complaint by email, letter, or telephone call and give a rough timescale for a full investigation and response. Do not comment on the substance of the complaint at this time.
Break down what has been said into any separate issues.
Decide if what is being alleged is correct – have you done anything wrong?
Contact your insurance company if appropriate and seek their advice on responding.
Decide if you need to seek legal advice.
Make that response, with an apology if that’s right.
If it’s not as prescriptive as this, say you’ve lost a major client. Instead of rushing around changing all of your sales processes, just ask yourself if you will be safe for the next 72 hours? That’s 3 days. Will you have a roof over your head, food, water and warmth for the next 3 days? If so, take some of those 3 days to think about what’s happened, write down some ideas about how to improve the situation….
If you search for ‘morning routine‘ in Google there are 262 million results.
Does this mean that millions of people are struggling to create or stick with a morning routine, and if so why?
I suspect it’s to do with productivity and getting more and more done.
I want to get to the end of the day feeling calm, relaxed and that I’ve achieved as much as it’s possible to do. Content with my achievements. But for many people, that’s impossible and at the moment I’m one of them. It doesn’t matter how much I achieve, it’s never good enough and there isn’t a morning routine or anything else designed to improve productivity that’s going to change that because it’s about me.
But I think the problem for me is with the word routine and the connotations. Routine – ‘a sequence of actions regularly followed‘ and synonyms are drill, procedure, regime, regimen. Doesn’t exactly get the juices flowing.
I’ve tried all sorts of morning routines, a set time to get up, yoga, a cold shower, goal reviews, writing, meditation, and more. The problem seems to be how on some mornings I want to do those things and on others I don’t. Some of them I don’t ever want to do, but because of someone who must be more successful than I have said they do it, then I should do it?
At some point, I seem to have decided that the contents of my morning routine had to be challenging and perhaps a little miserable. So I’ve decided to let myself off the hook and turn it around so my morning is about doing things I want to do simply because I like doing them. No challenge. No marathons. No hair shirts.
If it doesn’t make me feel better on a particular morning, then I’m not going to do it. I’m now focusing on what feels good at the time. If I wake up at 6 am but I’m tired, then as long as I don’t have an appointment I may just go back to sleep until I feel energised and ready for the day.
What I did find easier was to STOP doing these two things that were setting my day going on a roller coaster of frantic activity. The first was checking my email and social media the moment my eyes opened which was sucking me into other people’s stuff before I do what really matters. The second is not diving straight into work (even when I’m raring to go) but taking 30 minutes or so to read a book or a magazine that has nothing to do with business and which gives me the time to wake up properly.
I also looked at how I could make my morning calmer. It takes me a while to wake up sometimes and even making simple decisions when you’re half asleep can use up way more energy than it needs to. I found that deciding the night before what I was going to wear and eat for lunch the next day made a huge difference and that getting out the door became slick operation instead of a fumble of stuffing things in bags and diving into the car.
I guess it’s all about picking your battles.
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