We all know we need a good night’s sleep for the sake of our health — and our effectiveness at work. But what about when that’s just not possible? Here’s the bad news: Coffee is only a temporary fix. But there are a few ways to mitigate the risks of working while sleepy. For example, try to focus on routine tasks that don’t require a lot of creativity (which is hard to muster when you’re depleted), and avoid taking on any high-stakes projects (because sleep deprivation makes you more prone to mistakes).
Also, look for ways you can rely on other people. Is there anything you can delegate? Or can you ask colleagues to look over your work to catch any mistakes? If not, set aside some time to review it yourself when you’re feeling more rested. Finally, if you can, consider a nap. Even a short 20-minute rest can make a meaningful difference in your effectiveness for the rest of the day.