ADAM EARNHEARDT: How I beat exhaustion with an app


Exhaustion is my worst best friend.

I call Exhaustion my worst best friend because, as worst friends go, he sucks all of my energy. He causes me pain. I feel him in my achy joints. My battles with his sidekick, plantar fasciitis, are legendary.

Exhaustion is also my “bestie” because he’s constantly reminding me that I don’t really need to feel fatigued, that I can say “no” to things, that I can put off those nagging chores for another day.

It’s not Exhaustion’s fault. I constantly feed him with more reasons to stick around. I see a pesky task and say, “Oh, I should do that now.” Or I get a new opportunity at work and think, “Oh, I should definitely do that.”

All the while, there’s Exhaustion, hanging from my sore shoulder, with a stupid grin on his face, shaking his head.

We know each other well, and quite frankly, he takes advantage of me every day.

The only way to keep pace with Exhaustion is to maintain a running list of my professional and personal chores. It’s a to-do list to end all to-do lists.

Recently I’ve found that keeping a list holds Exhaustion’s daily visits to a minimum. This list also makes those around me a little happier.

Case in point: As my wife loves to do (when I’m vulnerable and Exhaustion is sipping a beer), she cracks off a list of things that must be accomplished around the home. Mostly she’s just making polite small talk. She’s trying to reconnect with me at the end of a busy day. But the responsible husband in me can’t escape the “honey-do” list and check-boxes that flash before my eyes.

Exhaustion has now gone from sipping his beer to chugging it. He’s got work to do.

I whip out my trusty, dusty smartphone and open Google’s “Keep” app. It has a prominent place next to

Facebook and Twitter on my smartphone’s home screen. It makes my wife happy to see these items added to my important list.

Keep “keeps” me organized and quiets Exhaustion’s drunken laughter. I can open the app and create a new list or edit an old one. My favorite feature is the ability to archive completed lists (and on really good days, deleting them).

These lists also help at 3 a.m., when I wake in a cold sweat, afraid I’ll forget what needs to be done the next day. Keep helps ease my mind and lull me back to sleep. This is because I can share those lists with co-workers, family and friends, and they can add to and edit the list as needed.

I’m not alone in my relationship with Exhaustion. Thanks to apps such as Keep, I’m able to spend more time with my family and friends. At the end of the day, those are the only relationships that really matter.

Adam Earnheardt is chairman of the department of communication at Youngstown State University. Follow him on Twitter at @adamearn and on his blog at

More like this from

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.