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August 30, 2021

Fighting Fatigue: How to manage unproductive work sessions


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In a world where we’re constantly on the go, we often find ourselves working long hours without any break. Sometimes this can leave us feeling mentally drained and it can also lead to other negative side effects such as unproductive work sessions. Fatigue is one of the most common and most under-appreciated problems for people who work long hours, as is the case for 65% of construction workers who experience fatigue on the job. There is strong evidence that prolonged periods of mental and physical fatigue are bad for your health and can negatively affect performance at work. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to learn how to deal with this and get out of an unproductive slump.

Luckily! There are ways to convert your unproductive work sessions into productive ones, but before that, let’s try to understand what fatigue really means and what are its symptoms.

What is Work Fatigue & Its Symptoms?

In simple terms, fatigue is the feeling of being tired, weary, or drained, and is one of the most common reasons people have for quitting their job and seeking a new one. The symptoms of Work Fatigue include:

  • Sleepiness

  • Exhaustion

  • A feeling of low confidence

  • Mistakes in judgments

  • Decreased productiveness

  • Low energy levels

  • Various health issues

  • Decreased concentration

  • Difficulty in keeping a focus

  • Decreased interest

  • Bad performance

  • Decreased ability to handle pressure at work

How to manage unproductive work sessions?

We’ve all experienced a very unproductive day at work. The whole experience can leave us feeling tired, confused, frustrated, and overwhelmed. But there are ways to combat this, and you too can manage work sessions that leave you feeling productive and satisfied. Here are a few of the ways to fight those unproductive days:

Have proper sleep

This feeling of being exhausted can be caused by a lack of adequate rest and energy. If you are working in a job where this happens frequently, you may not necessarily feel like you’re getting enough sleep or enough physical and mental stimulation to keep you motivated to work.

Lack of sleep impacts your energy levels, psychological capacities, and motivation. This can quickly transform into fatigue, disturbing your work performance as a result. Studies suggested no less than 7-9 hours of rest time day by day to feel revived and prepared to handle the day ahead. While there are numerous ways to do this, the most common way involves establishing a good bedtime routine. To achieve this, it’s important to consider which activities are essential for getting a good night’s rest, and which activities should be avoided. You don’t really have to watch another episode on Netflix right?

Manage stress

The best way to avoid being overwhelmed by your work is to manage your stress levels. Regularly taking short breaks can help you stay focused and eliminate the fatigue that can build up when the demands of your work are too much to cope with. However, if you have a high-stress job that requires you to be on your toes 24/7, then you’re likely to find it hard to manage your workload. 

To tackle this situation, numerous techniques are used which can help reduce the stress levels of the day-to-day. Here are a few of them:

  • Go for a short walk

  • Close your eyes for 5 minutes

  • Communicate with others

  • Listen to a song that makes you happy

  • Get rid of electronics

  • Practice any meditation technique

  • Drink a cup of water

Avoid drinking coffee

For decades, coffee has been considered to be the ultimate drink to fight fatigue. You may find it true in the beginning as well. Because the caffeine present in the coffee beans tends to relieve mental and physical fatigue, everyone tends to consume quite a lot of it. But no one ever talked about the side effects that drinking coffee causes to your productivity.

Yes! Drinking coffee at the workplace can have adverse effects on your productivity. Drinking coffee more than moderate can lead to various issues such as:

  • Anxiety

  • Sleeping problems

  • Restlessness

  • Tiredness

  • Focus problems

And the list goes on...

Rather than relying on coffee to relax, consider replacing it with another healthy alternative.

Work-life balance

For many people, the phrase ‘work-life balance is nothing more than a buzzword or catchphrase used to describe a novel idea. But, if you want to become productive at work, you’ve got to have something that you like to do other than work! Not only is a good work-life balance beneficial to your health and relationships, but it can also convert your unproductive sessions into productive ones.

The essentiality of the work-life balance can be understood by looking at a few of its key benefits, which are:

  • Enhancing productivity at work

  • Reducing stress and increases creative thinking

  • Improving your mental and physical health

  • Encouraging a balanced lifestyle

  • Contributing to a healthy relationship

  • Helping you achieve goals

  • Better time management

With so many advantages, how do you actually get a good work-life balance in life? Well, you can start with these simple steps:

  • Prioritize what is necessary

  • Take and enjoy holidays

  • Daily exercise

  • Spend quality time with family and friends

  • Leave work at work

  • Eat healthy food and get proper sleep

  • Don’t forget your favorite hobbies

    Avoid unhealthy habits

    There are many unhealthy habits that take up a lot of your time and energy. A lot of people can’t seem to get on top of a project or even get anything finished at all. Chances are, you’re in the same boat, and you may even be sick of the situation.

    To improve your productivity at work, avoid any of these unhealthy habits:

    Quit smoking

    The fatal effects of smoking are not hidden from anyone. Ranging from health problems to relationship problems, smoking can affect you severely. Quitting smoking improves your mental and physical health, which plays a large role in productive sessions.

    Poor time management

    “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” - Harvey Mackay

    The importance of time is invaluable - once it is gone you can never get it back. Take control of your life, prioritize what is vital, make a timetable and stick to it. A sense of accomplishment makes you feel good and healthy.

    Unplanned goals

    Setting personal goals is great, but it can be a double-edged sword. You can end up with a huge workload of tasks that make you feel very unproductive, and you can have a slew of work sessions that feel like you’re going nowhere. These sessions are prone to a lot of feelings of fatigue and emotional exhaustion which can result in a lot of stress.

    Trying too hard

    “Slow and steady wins the race” is perhaps the most heard phrase since our childhood. Working too hard can drain your energy fast resulting in poor productivity. Instead, working at a constant pace helps you stay active longer and productive. Take short breaks, recharge yourself, relax a bit and continue the work. This will help you achieve the target much easier.

    Eat healthy food

    One of the most essential ways to fight unproductive sessions is good food. Work fatigue in many cases can be caused by a poor diet. Unhealthy food can result in low energy levels which affect your work productivity. Making some healthy changes can help you achieve your goals. 

    Eat high protein foods

    Eating high protein foods help you maintain sugar level and reduce the feeling of laziness. High protein foods include fish, meat, eggs, beans, and nuts, etc.

    Avoid high fat and sugary foods

    Fatty and sugary foods are slow to digest and hence are unhealthy. They drain the energy and cause sudden sugar spikes. These include sugary food and drinks, alcohol, fast food, pasta, and white bread.


    There are endless benefits of drinking water that are impossible to discuss in one paragraph. It keeps the body hydrated and decreases laziness. Hydration aids in body functions and improves energy levels. Make sure to drink the recommended 2 liters of water a day.

    Work fatigue is one of the most common issues people face in the workplace. When left untreated, it can lead to unproductive work sessions. To tackle these issues, make sure to take proper sleep, manage stress levels, avoid drinking coffee, maintain a work-life balance, avoid unhealthy habits and eat healthy foods. Start following any of the above-mentioned tips and you’ll see results in no time!

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