These days, do you really don’t feel like getting out of bed? If yes, your body and mind could be overwhelmed with stress and anxiety. And you are definitely struggling to operate from the optimal level of health and happiness.
But it may not be the only problem you’re facing.
We must have heard scores of times that trouble never comes alone, but that is indeed the case when it comes to stress and anxiety. Because stress and anxiety can seriously undermine your productivity.
Anxiety disorders are actually the most common mental illness in the US, affecting 40 million adults or 18.1% of the entire population. You are obviously not alone in this problem. Here’s a easy-to-read, short primer on the Science of Stress.
Staying Productive While Anxious And Stressed
Stress can make you less productive and drive you to burnout, and you might need to consult a medical specialist to help you out. However, the positive other side of the story is you can also learn from how other people handled their experiences and coped with their condition.
We collected some of the most useful and practical tips to help you to be productive despite feeling stressed out and anxious:
- Build a daily routine
- Use the adrenaline to your advantage
- Divide tasks into smaller units
- Forget multitasking
- Avoid social media and other distractions
- Practice centering
- Take action and exercise regularly
- Don’t forget to take breaks
Let’s dive straight into each.
1. Build A Daily Routine
Many people believe routine leads to monotony and augments anxiety, but it’s actually not that simple one-sided argument. On the contrary, a solid daily plan of work is one of the best ways to fend off stress and go back to the usual productivity level.
If you function in the environment of mess and disorder every day, it’s much easier to get lost in the crowd of tasks and responsibilities. Consequently, it’s much easier to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of duties and make the situation even worse.
This is why we encourage you to build a daily routine and follow a well-planned work process. You ought to create simple to-do lists with clearly defined daily goals. It is important to organize your activities and know exactly when, why, and how to complete certain tasks.
In such circumstances, you will feel like being in charge all the time. You get full control over your actions, which drastically reduces stress and makes you feel more comfortable at work. It’s a simple way to avoid unpleasant surprises, so you can really start enjoying your daily work.
2. Use The Adrenaline To Your Advantage
You have all the right to fear anxiety, but the condition itself is not 100% bad. Here’s why – anxiety increases the adrenaline level in your body, a feature you can use to boost productivity.
When you have anxiety, your brain sends messengers to your adrenal gland to release epinephrine (adrenaline) into your body. What is the adrenaline doing to your body?
- It increases your heart rate
- It turns fat into energy
- It dilates the pupils so you can see better
- It shifts the focus to the most important bodily functions (such as thinking)
These features are similar to the ones you notice after drinking a cup of coffee. The physical symptoms are the same, which means you can use the anxiety-induced adrenaline to your advantage. The idea is simple – all the extra energy you get from feeling anxious can help you to concentrate on a given task and cope with it more efficiently.
This is a well-known concept in sports psychology, and athletes are known to use anxiety as the means to stay on their toes 100% of the time.
3. Divide Tasks Into Smaller Units
How do you feel when you face a super-serious task that takes a whole week to complete? You are probably terrified and scared of it, which only increases the overall notion of stress and anxiety. A lot of professionals are facing the same fear, but most of them don’t know how to solve the riddle successfully.
We have a nice suggestion for you – divide a large task into smaller units as it will help you to complete it much quicker. That way, you can focus on less demanding work units and enjoy many small victories on the go.
For example, let’s say you are writing a 300-page book. You have to do it in two months, but you don’t think you can make it on time. The only good approach here is to divide the book into smaller chapters and write them one at a time. Almost every author can write five to 10 pages a day, which is more than enough to finish the book before the deadline.
4. Forget Multitasking
You can hear a lot of business professionals bragging about their multitasking skills, but the truth is that multitasking is almost always counterproductive. It will only throw you deeper down the whole and make you feel even angrier and more annoyed about not getting the job done on time.
A report reveals that multitasking leads to as much as a 40% drop in productivity, whereas multitaskers make up to 50% more errors. It’s a serious issue and you cannot afford to waste time like that. The only reasonable solution is to:
- Stick to the already-established plan of work
- Prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency
- Do the difficult tasks first because they’ll take most of your time
- Do one thing at a time
- Stop checking your emails and messages as it might redirect you to other tasks
5. Avoid Social Media and Other Distractions
How many times have you started doing something just to end up scrolling down the Facebook feed or watching a YouTube video? It’s a terrible habit that acts as a genuine productivity killer.
Even worse, it will make you feel miserable for wasting time doing nothing in particular.
Besides that, social networks often lead to unrealistic expectations and make users feel terrible for not living glamorous lives. The platform is obviously having negative implications in terms of anxiety, depression, and the fear of missing out. This is one of the main reasons why Instagram is experimenting with the elimination of the “like” feature.
For all the reasons we mentioned above, we strongly encourage you to avoid social media and other types of distractions while working. It’s much better to concentrate on your tasks and save non-work related activities for your spare time.
6. Practice Centering
Another very useful stress-reduction mechanism is centering, a popular visualization technique that teaches you to focus on the here and now, taking power away from outside concerns and negative thoughts, and helping you remain stable and grounded.
The centering technique can help you to regain focus and achieve a stable mental condition using seven simple steps:
- Find a focal point below your eye level to eliminate possible distractions.
- Define your intention. This is a professional objective you are trying to achieve no matter what. It’s a task that you choose to complete regardless of stress and anxiety.
- Take a deep breath and keep doing it steadily. It’s a simple trick that can help you to calm down and find your inner strength.
- Stay positive. Try to eliminate negative feelings and build a positive attitude. That way, you will gradually release tension and anxiety.
- Identify your energy center. According to the centering philosophy, a human body has a unique spot that represents a person’s center of energy.
- Visualize success. Let the brain imagine your victory and use this image as a valuable source of inspiration.
- Use your newly-discovered energy. By this point, you should have more than enough inner strength to overcome anxiety and focus on your tasks.
7. Don’t Forget To Take Breaks
Many cases of stress and anxiety come as a consequence of hard and never-ending work. If you work overtime and constantly feel exhausted – but fail to take breaks – it’s natural to begin experiencing the symptoms of stress and anxiety.
What can you do about it?
First of all, save some time in your schedule for short daily breaks. You probably don’t need more than 10 or 15 minutes to recover from a given task, but don’t forget to actually make a pause and rest for a while.
Secondly, you should always unplug after work and on weekends. The fact that you can check emails in the evening doesn’t mean that you should do it. On the contrary, you must go offline and enjoy those precious moments as often as possible.
And thirdly, do your best to go on annual vacations. Travel the world, meet new cultures, try different foods, and do all the other things that can recharge your batteries and help you come back to work fresh and energized.
8. Take Action And Exercise Regularly
Do you know that physical training can seriously improve your mental condition as well? Exercise is considered vital for maintaining mental fitness as it reduces stress, while studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and enhancing overall cognitive function.
You’ve probably heard it before, but isn’t it the right time to take action and start exercising regularly? Don’t think it will take you too much time as you don’t need more than three or four training sessions a week to stay fit and energized.
Exercise is the simplest way to get anxiety out of your system and start feeling well again. The best thing about it is that training impacts your mind and your body almost instantly, so you can quickly become a more productive individual.
Stress and anxiety are genuine productivity killers that can seriously undermine your professional efforts and turn you into an underachiever. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with this issue and help you overcome the barrier.
We discussed the eight most practical ways to stay productive despite feeling anxious and stressed out, so do your best to use these tips and reach the desired level of personal productivity.
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Author Bio: Leon Collier is a blogger from UK and an essay writer. Leon is a dedicated explorer of human psychology, and no stranger to topics like personal branding and self-improvement. Follow him on Twitter.
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