Maybe you meant to get to sleep early but that show was on or the kids were sick or you just had to play Mafia Wars a little longer. Perhaps you went to bed at the right time but tomorrow’s to-do wouldn’t leave you alone. Or maybe a change in the seasons is leaving you feeling drained (my personal excuse this week). Whatever the reason, the day has just started and it’s already kicking your butt. Now what?
1. Prioritize. Make a list of the things you absolutely, positively must get done today or the world will end. If you have five things, get rid of two of them. And then get your three things finished first. If you’re starting the day feeling less than 100%, how do you think you’ll feel in the afternoon? Do the important stuff first.
2. No chatting. I don’t care if you are supposed to tweet three times a day or post to your Facebook wall every six hours or check in with colleagues at your networking site. Social media is a time suck on the best of days, but when you’re already dragging, it’s deadly. Just don’t go there.
3. Break it up. It’s 9 am and you have three big loooong hours before lunch. Get out the egg timer. Yeah, I’m serious. Set it to 25 minutes, pick the first item on your list, and go. When the timer rings, take a five minute break and then start again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
4. Stay hydrated. And by that I do not mean Diet Coke. Sure, caffeine makes you feel more alert, but it’s also dehydrating. Dehydration can make you feel more sluggish and can lead to headaches, resulting in an even more challenging afternoon. Make sure to visit the water cooler during your timed breaks and keep sipping.
5. Avoid sugar. Let’s talk about sugar, shall we? Most of us have a complicated relationship with sugar. It’s like breaking up with that high school boyfriend and then running into him everywhere. “Give me another chance!” he pleads, “I promise it’ll be different this time! I won’t let you down again.” You know better, but he’s so sweet you let him back in. For a while you’ll feel great! You’re on Cloud 9! You’re invincible! The “King of the World!” Then, just like you knew he would, he’ll dump you and you’ll crash and burn. Don’t do it. Just don’t. Snack when you need a boost, but make sure it’s not refined sugar. Try fruit and cheese, a handful of nuts, crackers with peanut butter. They won’t leave you stranded without a date to the prom. Er…I mean, the energy to finish your day.
6. Power Nap. Sometimes a siesta is just what the doctor ordered. Keep that timer around and set aside part of your lunch break for a little snooze. Aim for about 20 minutes; longer than 30 and you may enter a sleep phase that will leave you feeling more groggy when you get up.
7. Choose your reward. You’re in the home stretch now, so give yourself something to look forward to. Make plans with a friend for dinner. Treat yourself to your favorite take-out for making it through a tough day. Or check out that new movie you’ve been dying to see. Just make sure you’re home early so you can rest up for another big day tomorrow!
What about you? What do you do when you’re having a tough day?