10 Steps to Make It Through Work When You’ve Partied Too Much the Night Before

Imagine the energy we could bring to work if, like robots, we could automatically shut-down when the workday ends, and then automatically click back on when the next work day begins!

Well, no it really wouldn’t be good at all! I’ve met people who pretty closely resemble robots and believe me, they are not people who are going to go out and change the world no matter how hard they work!

A little partying! A little living it up! Networking over a glass of wine! These things can be good for you and your business! They can refresh you and help you think creatively.

But partying can also make for a very hard workday thereafter!

So what can you do to survive the next day?

1. Play the hand you are dealt! Only a fool at the poker table ignores the hand he is dealt, even if it was less that what he expected. This means lowering your work expectations for the day. It means re-evaluating and likely changing the scope of the work that you were planning on doing. Remember, your goal should not be to try to stay on path with your previous goals for your work day. Instead, your aim should be to maximize your long-term work performance. And don’t forget that your happiness is seriously comingled with your long-term work performance. So don’t kill yourself trying to stay on a work schedule if it now appears that you can’t do it well or you can’t do it without burning out!

2. Consider sleeping in. If a couple extra hours of sleep are going to positively affect your performance, you should stay in bed! You can always work later in the day. If your work during the day is going to involve important decision making or some creativity, more sleep could offset a little less time at work. Furthermore, if you are really dragging, you want to avoid the team seeing you in that condition. Sure the team knows that you are human, but workers don’t like to see their boss under the weather.

3. Cut back on the morning exercise. If it was a really rough night, skip the exercise entirely. Your first goal needs to be to make it through the day and be as good as you can to your body, not to prove to yourself that you are Hercules!

4. Eat nutritious meals throughout the day. I wouldn’t recommend shocking your body by eating plain oatmeal and lettuce for breakfast if you are used to ham and eggs. But I would suggest making an effort to eat with a little more attention to nutrition than usual.

5. Ramp up the caffeine. Again I would recommend not shocking your body, but just ramping it up moderately. For example, I usually start the day with one cup of coffee and have 3 or 4 more over the course of the day. So after a tough night maybe I’d start with 2 coffees (these are fairly small coffees mind you) right off the bat, and have maybe 5 over the course of the day. Don’t drink coffee at all? Today might a good day to start! Also, remember that coffee needs to be consumed in conjunction with water or electrolyte-laden beverages.

6. Change the nature of your work. This is perhaps the most important step of all. Instead of just diving into the work you planned for the day, think instead of which work you could pretty much perform as well as usual after a rough night. For example, rather than working on key conceptual projects like the new business strategy or marketing campaign, instead shift into more routine work for the day, such as reviewing the work of others or paying bills.

7. Work less. Don’t try to cram quite as much work in on an “off” day as you would on a good day! If you do try to get it all in, you may get frustrated and end up getting even less done, compromise the quality of your work, or end up getting even more burned out.

8. Pamper yourself. Take more breaks. Maybe double the number of your usual breaks. Maybe go for an occasional walk. Don’t work to the point of blowing your lid!

9. Celebrate getting anything done at all! Don’t fall into the trap of beating up yourself because you are not as effective as you would be on a normal day! Instead, be happy that you made it to work at all! Consider everything you accomplish on an off day a victory to celebrate! Especially applaud any work you can get done without totally burning yourself out!

10. Be happy! Cherish the fact that you got out and had a good time the night before! Celebrate the fact that you are human being and not a robot! Just don’t make too much of a habit of it!

Bob Adams is a Harvard MBA serial entrepreneur. He has started over a dozen businesses including one that he launched with $1500 and sold for $40 million. He has written 17 books and created 52 online courses for entrepreneurs. Bob also founded BusinessTown, the go-to learning platform for starting and running a business.

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