I’m willing to bet the challenges that adversely affect productivity in your life just. keep. coming. A friendship you cared about drifts away. Your human/ fur baby gets sick. An opportunity you were excited for starts to wear you out. Ugh… If you are living completely anxiety free in 2017, more power to you. Being the master of your stress is hard to say the least. However, if burnout, anixety, lack of motivation, fatigue, etc sound more familiar to you, it may be time to actively practise being productive without anxiety.
Learning to be productive without anxiety has been one of my greatest missions these last few years or so. Typically, goals get set, work begins according to plan, then things start to stray off track (of course as they always do, and always will). That’s where the anxiety usually kicks in. Adding more fuel to the fire, and enjoying said carefully calculated plan being engulfed by the flames. The perfectionist’s nightmare…
Nevertheless, the feeling of anxiety itself isn’t always the problem. Not knowing what to do with your stress symptoms is often the most destructive step in motivation patterns. When you increase your efficiency and decrease your stress, you set yourself up for success. You end up with more control on how anxiety affects your productivity.
Increasing Productivity and Decreasing Anxiety:
Accept that anxiety may be inevitable.
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. If you can accept that some anxiety is inevitable, you can learn how to work with it instead of against it. Some situations may always give you some amount of anxiety. Rather than trying to avoid these tasks or diminishing how you feel, it may be best just to accept the feeling as part of the experience.
The more you view anxiety as routine and normal, the less power it can have over you. Successful people experience fear too. They just choose to find a way to persevere in spite of it. Try to remember that anxiety and fear are natural reactions. If you’re able to, choose to focus on the task in front of you rather than the fear related to it.
Prioritize healthy sleep.
Get a healthy amount of sleep! You already know what to do. Just do it. Seriously.
Skip the caffeine.
When you’re trying to beat deadlines and backlogs, caffeine can be a kind friend. However, the energy boost may not be worth it if you find yourself particularly stressed or anxious. Caffeine can turn out to be quite the frenemy and exacerbate anxiety. Drink plenty of water or herbal non-caffeinated teas instead. And if you still need the extra energy, drop down and give yourself twenty. A little physical movement goes a long way for mentally waking up.
Distinguish productive worry from unproductive worry.
Anxiety can be either productive or unproductive. Unproductive anxiety usually amounts to worrying about things that are out of your control. And if you can’t do anything to control a situation, you’re probably wasting time and energy by worrying about it.
On the contrary, productive anxiety generally amounts to worry about things you do have the power to change. If you are worried about a presentation you have to give to your boss, you can acknowledge your anxiety and take the steps necessary to help you be best prepared for the presentation.
Taking as little as 5 minutes to sit down quietly, even if it’s somewhere loud like Starbucks, can be day changing. Now that I regularly check in with my physical and emotional body, I cant see myself not doing so.
Meditation actually does all the mellow ooey gooey stuff you’ve undoubtedly read about 49 times. And it does customarily take a lot of practise before you truly feel the benefits of meditation. However, when you do get there- you’ll find a powerful tool to help control your stress symptoms.
Listen to a chill playlist.
Music has been the muse of poets, philosophers and novelists for ages. Why shouldn’t it work for you too? Just as with your other senses, curating the sounds around you can strongly influence your intentions. Think about the music that touches the strand of life at your core. You know, the music that gives you chills? That kind of music will often inspire you, and decrease stress too…
Focus on yourself more.
Fuelling your inner green-eyed monster will always hurt you more than it will anyone else. Envy not only makes you miserable, it also makes it harder to get ahead in your career and reach your goals. People will be more successful than you, and they will be less successful than you. When you focus on your personal improvement in your work, rather than hitting someone else’s checkpoints, you’re more likely to succeed and set achievable goals.
Exercise in the moment.
If you’re feeling tense and anxious in your seat, don’t bear it! Take a few minutes to stretch and move a little, even it it’s just by your desk. If you have on functional clothing, you can even do some more physical exercises (like pushups and jump squats). I promise you’ll feel better!