How to Thrive with Little Sleep

We’ve all experienced those sleep-deprived days. We can either end up as the walking dead or choose to seize and conquer the day.

Here are 5 ways to prevail and make it to the day’s finishing line.

1. Manage your energy levels well

Before you start planning the day and listing all the tasks to be done, reflect on how you fared previously, in terms of your energy levels.

Do you start strong in the morning and then feel the slump after lunch? Or do you begin slow earlier in the day and warm up as the hours tick by? And do you know where your least productive hours lie?

Once you have a good idea of your overall performance throughout the course of the day, you can then plan each task based on its complexity, length and energy-requirements. Is it mindless and repetitive? Or is it brief but cognitively demanding?

2. Manage your time well

Apart from planning your activities according to your energy levels, have a look at your schedule and prioritise them accordingly as well.

Like above, what tasks require more time? Are there items on the to-do list that can be batched together, postponed, delegated or ignored completely?

Are there activities which are more “fluid” than others? To use household errands as an example, ironing my clothes would be considered more “fluid” than doing a supermarket run, since the shops close after a certain time, while I can do my ironing any time I want.

3. Break the day down

If you are going to stare at the computer screen for hours straight, you would hit the wall very soon, especially in a sleep-deprived state.

Break your day down into more digestible bits.

I love to work on tasks in 30 minute intervals. I put aside all distractions, set the countdown timer and focus relentlessly on a single task until it is complete or until the timer rings.

After that 30 minute chunk, I take a short breather by having a sip of water, visiting the bathroom, spending a good amount of time, wiping my feet to the bath mats (which prevents me from feeling cold and running inside the blanket) or performing a lower-level task like photocopying documents, before getting back to the 30 minute blitz.

4. Get moving

If you feel that hitting the wall is imminent, there’s little reason to remain staring at the screen and resisting the heavy eyelids.

Get up from your desk, take a walk, grab a coffee, wash your face, stretch your body. You could even race up or down the stairs instead of taking the elevator.

Putting movement into your day is a great way to break the monotony.

5. Remember your purpose

Why are you doing what you are doing?

What’s the heart behind your tasks and activities?

It’s one thing to look at a to-do list as a lifeless piece of paper just waiting to be checked off, it’s another to see and grasp the true reason and purpose behind that list.

If you are a teacher, you’re not just making lesson plans, marking workbooks and ordering kids to sit down and pay attention. You are transforming lives and molding the future leaders of your nation. You are influencing them to be the best that they can be.

Once you truly take hold of your purpose, you would see the day in a different light.

You won’t be just waiting to survive, clocking the hours and hoping to make it to the end of the workday. You would be well aware of your mission and your place in the grand scheme of things.


So take a deep breath and brace yourself! The day is here for you to seize!

What are your tips for getting through a sleep-deprived day? Share them in the comments below!

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