The other day I stumbled upon Arthur Worsley’s blog, The Art of Living, and was blown away by his work and the quality of content.
One of the articles that resonated with me the most was this one on struggling to get out of bed. I mean, come on, raise your hand if you’ve ever struggled to get out of bed in the morning.
*Raises hand empathically
It used to be a daily thing for me. But now, it’s the sign of a really bad week if I fail to get out of bed on time more than once. (Because everyone struggles at least one day of the week.)
How’d I do it? The same way Worsley did.
Why you struggle to get out of bed
“There is no such thing as doing too much, only not recovering enough.”
It’s entirely possible to work 16-hour days and not feel tired or burnt out. You see, how much you work doesn’t matter, what matters is how much you rest and recover.
The key, like most things in life, is balance.
The reason you struggle to get out of bed is that you are exhausted in some form or fashion. And exhaustion only happens when you do too much for too long without giving yourself the proper amount of rest.
But, not all exhaustion is created equal. It’s important to know the different flavors so that you can identify which form you are suffering from and then implement the most effective rest and recovery strategy.
Here’s your new playbook for dealing with exhaustion.
1. Identify what form of exhaustion you suffer from
According to Worsley, there are three different kinds of exhaustion you can suffer from:
- Saturation — aka being sick of doing the same thing over and over
- Tiredness — depleting your energy during the day
- Fatigue — diminishing your maximum daily energy over time
Each kind must be approached with its own unique solution. Once you know what kind of exhaustion you’re suffering from, it becomes much easier to manage your energy more effectively.
2. Implement one of these solutions
Here’s your new playbook for solving the different types of exhaustion:
Saturation happens when you’re sick of working on one kind of task. It’s the easiest one to solve because all you need to do is either take a break or go do something different.
Let’s put it this way. I love eating rice bowls with chicken and broccoli. It’s my quick go-to meal when I want to be super healthy on a budget. But if I eat it every day for a few days straight, I get sick of it. It becomes the last thing I want to eat.
All I have to do is add a bit of variety by mixing in a few other meals and I no longer get sick of my chicken, rice, and broccoli. I can enjoy it on the reg no problem.
What this means is that you just need to avoid working on one project or task for too long at a time. Add variety to your work.
Worsley relates humans’ internal batteries to those of cell phones.
We all need to recharge via sleep at the end of each day (and sometimes with the occasional mid-day boost) otherwise we’ll feel tired and unable to focus.
This is tiredness in a nutshell, and it’s fixed by getting a good night’s sleep.
- Make a sleep schedule and stick to it
- Don’t eat or drink 1–2 hours before bed
- Add physical activity to your daily routine
- Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption
- Make your room cold and quiet (with the exception of some white noise, if needed)
- Yada yada
Powering through 16-hour days works just fine if you’re able to get a full night’s sleep to go along with it. But if you sacrifice your sleep for too long, exhaustion kicks in and you’ll struggle to get out of bed — physically and mentally.
Saturation and tiredness are mostly obvious (at least once you become aware of them), but what many people fail to recognize is that the quality of your batteries, much like a cell phone, also diminishes over time.
For example, my previous phone was an Apple iPhone 7. I remember when that thing would last 2 to 3 days on a single charge. But after a couple of years, I was lucky if it lasted 6 hours without needing more juice.
No matter how many times we recharge our batteries, we eventually need a new one.
Worsley says that the solution to chronic fatigue — the way to replace your battery — is to take at least 3 to 4 days off every couple of months. And that doesn’t mean to just take those days off from work and do a bunch of other shit.
They need to be true recovery days.
I know this is hard for many to manage in their daily lives, but trust me, you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel if you can pull this off.
Oh, and the more fatigued you are, the longer the break you may need to restore balance.
One more thing
There’s one catalyst that Worsley didn’t mention in his article — having something worth waking up for.
When you have something to be excited about, you can stretch your exhaustion a good bit further. Obviously, it would be best if you can find this in your daily work (since that’s where you likely spend most of your time), but if you can’t, at least find it in family, friends, or hobbies.
I recently changed jobs, and I can attest to the fact that a job you are excited about makes it so much easier to wake up in the morning.
Ending your struggle to get out of bed in the morning is a simple two-step process away.
- Identify the form of exhaust plaguing you
- Implement the appropriate solution
Now that you have the playbook, you can use this knowledge to better manage your energy and regain balance between work and recovery.