Managing Fatigue – The Four P’s

Fatigue is a symptom often experienced by people living with arthritis. Thankfully, there are ways you can help manage, or work around your fatigue.

The Four P’s reminds us of some ways to help conserve and save energy for the things that are most important. The Four P’s are Problem solving, Planning, Prioritising, and Pacing. You may even be doing these already without even noticing.

Remembering the Four P’s can help you to regularly think about changes in your energy levels, the things that are important to you, and how you can best go about your day or week without being controlled by your fatigue.

Problem Solving

Often it’s not what you do, it’s the way you do it that makes a difference.

This P is all about identifying the problems that may contribute to, or worsen your fatigue, and then working out ways you might be able to do it differently.

Look at your daily routine and start to notice, for example:

  • if you spend all morning doing the same type of repetitive tasks. Instead, is there help available to assist with these tasks?
  • if your working position causes you pain or discomfort. Instead, is there ways it can be altered?
  • if the weekly grocery shop is incredibly exhausting. Instead, is online shopping/delivery and option?


Make a plan of the things you want to achieve during the day or week. Think about how and when you’re going to do certain tasks, and how you can match the harder/easier jobs and breaks with times of the day you tend to have more or less energy.

Try breaking bigger or demanding jobs into smaller manageable tasks spread across the day or week.

Don’t forget to make time for the things you enjoy when you’re feeling at your best.


Prioritising helps to work out the jobs that are most important, and the jobs that can be delayed, removed or given to someone else.

List all the tasks you need or want to do, and then arrange them in order of importance. If your list is not manageable, work out if there’s tasks that can be done later (or maybe not at all), or if there’s tasks others can help with.


Pacing is all about breaking your tasks up into smaller bits and spreading them across the day or week. This stops you from using all your energy in one go, and allows for rest breaks in between. For example, rather than trying to clean the entire house in one go, another option could be to aim for one or two rooms each day.

There are also many gadgets and aids that can make your daily activities simpler and less tiring. You can learn about these at an Independent Living Centre or by seeing an occupational therapist.

What else can I do?

There are many other ways people can help to manage their fatigue. This may include things like speaking with your GP about the health professionals who can help; looking at ways to improve sleep; healthy eating; regular exercise; managing stress and looking after mental wellbeing.

The links below include further information and tips for managing fatigue

Fatigue and Arthritis. Published by Arthritis Australia on MyRA
Managing Fatigue. Versus Arthritis 

February 2021