I know, the title sounds like an impossibility, doesn’t it? But it is possible to be somewhat productive after you haven’t gotten a lot of sleep.
I sometimes have faced this: I either stay out late (usually going to a concert of some sort) or just simply can’t get to sleep. Then, I have to wake up at 7 or 8 and work the entire day, often with meetings or large deadlines.
While I wouldn’t recommend making this a regular habit (get your 8 hours!), here are some of my best tips on productivity without sleep:
Be Around Productive People
Even though I’m an introvert, I do get energized being around other people that I know are working hard. I usually go to the local public library or a coffee shop and work for several hours until I plow through all my work. (A coworking space works too.)
Of course, caffeine doesn’t hurt either, but seeing everyone else work hard is inspiring and makes me feel like I have to work hard too.
It may seem silly, but if you are competitive at all, try timing yourself using online-stopwatch.com or your phone’s timer. Estimate how long it will take you to do your most important tasks and set a countdown timer to try to get it done in time.
For some reason, racing against the clock always helps me get things done faster instead of procrastinating because I can’t focus.
Work in Batches And Then Take Breaks
Because lack of focus is something that affects me when I’m really tired, another type of work schedule I’ve tried that has really helped me is working in batches. It’s been found that the human brain can only 100% focus on something for about 60 minutes at a time. So, set your timer for an hour and then take a 10 minute break to decompress, relax, or stretch before getting back to it.
Several blocks of focused work actually helps you get more done then 8 straight hours of just “being in the office.”
Just Finish The Biggest Thing
If you are absolutely exhausted and just need to accomplish something at work, just write down the biggest, most important thing you have to get done, and do that first. Don’t dilly dally around in your email because it takes up less brain power.
You will be astonished at how much better you feel after that looming project is done and out of your to-do list. It may actually give you a little more energy to get something else done (and if it doesn’t, go take a long lunch or a nap instead).
What are your best tips for staying productive without sleep?
Image via Unsplash.