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How to Stay Productive Under Stress

Maintaining a decent level of productivity is no easy task. Working from home comes with its own set of challenges and during a worldwide health crisis, it’s even harder. If you have noticed a decrease in your productivity, you are not alone. Several factors contribute to your productivity, including: Your routineYour work environmentThe people around […]

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Maintaining a decent level of productivity is no easy task. Working from home comes with its own set of challenges and during a worldwide health crisis, it’s even harder. If you have noticed a decrease in your productivity, you are not alone.

Several factors contribute to your productivity, including:

  • Your routine
  • Your work environment
  • The people around you
  • Your emotional well-being
  • Your finances

Why Is It So Hard to Be Productive?

You should take comfort in knowing that if you are struggling with productivity, you are definitely not the only one. Mental health plays a significant role in how you function from day-to-day. If your mental health is suffering, so will your productivity.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people are experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety. When you’re feeling sad or anxious, your mind is consumed by negative thoughts and emotions, making it nearly impossible to focus on the task at hand. 

To make matters worse, many people are feeling more isolated because they’re unable to spend time with family and friends. Social distancing and quarantine periods have forced people to spend more time at home, and less time around the people they care about. Over time, this can take a toll on a person’s emotional well-being.

The Negative Effects of Stress

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

It’s no secret that stress is bad. But other than making you feel bad, have you given much thought to the impact it can have on your life?

Chronic stress can cause several significant issues, including:

  • Health problems: Common side effects of long-term stress includeinsomnia, headaches, nausea, and a weakened immune system.
  • Poor relationships: Stress can cause you to lash out at those you care about or lead you to isolate yourself from others, which is especially detrimental when socialization is limited because of the pandemic.
  • Poor decision making: Stress can negatively impact your focus and lead you to overlook important details. It is much harder to make the right decision when you are overwhelmed by stress.
  • Decreased productivity: The main issue we’re addressing in this article is decreased productivity, which is often the result of stress. When you are feeling like you’re losing control and are overwhelmed by things going on around you, optimal performance is highly unlikely.

How to Deal with Decreased Productivity

You’re less productive than you want to be because you are feeling stressed, but then you start to feel even more stressed because of your lack of productivity. It’s a harmful cycle that many people feel trapped in. What can you do?

Adjust Your Expectations

The first, and arguably the most important, thing you should do is adjust your expectations. We are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. Your day-to-day routine has likely been flipped on its head. Your social life has either taken a big hit or is practically non-existent. All of this is, in the least, overwhelming. You shouldn’t expect other aspects of your life to stay the same when so many other things around you are different. Cut yourself some slack and consider whether you might be asking too much of yourself given the circumstances.

Find A Hobby You Can Enjoy

Your emotional well-being plays an important role in your productivity. You are far less likely to get things done if you’re feeling sad or anxious. A great way to combat those negative feelings is to partake in an activity or hobby you can enjoy.

Try to set aside time every day to do something you can truly enjoy. Below are several ideas for hobbies you can pick up as a way to reduce stress and boost productivity.

A hobby that requires no equipment and very little effort is spending time in nature. Try going for a walk around your neighborhood or relaxing on a bench at the park. Not only will the fresh air and natural vitamin D boost your mood, but it will help clear your mind so that you can be more productive when you get back to work.

Another hobby that many people have picked up during the pandemic is knitting. Crocheting is also a great option. Working with your hands to create something just for fun is a surprisingly easy way to relax and lower stress. 

If creating art is a hobby that brings you joy, you can also try painting or 3D modeling. These hobbies keep your hands and mind occupied, so that you can forget about everything weighing you down, even if just for an hour or two. “Paint by number” kits are easy to find online and they cater to all experience levels. If you’re interested in 3D modeling, learn more about 3D Modeling and Character Concept Art Outsourcing to discover just how enjoyable this unique hobby can be.

Make Self-Care A Priority

No matter how many things you have on your plate, it’s important to make yourself a priority. If you don’t put enough effort into taking care of yourself, it’ll be that much harder to be successful.

Self-care comes in many forms. Arguably the most important way to exercise self-care is by eating a well-balanced diet. As good as it can feel in the moment to scarf down a pint of ice cream, your body, and especially your mind, perform optimally when running on nutritious meals. Try to eat a diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to strengthen your immune system and avoid the energy crashes associated with processed, sugary foods. 

Tips on How to Be More Productive

Once you’ve taken the time to focus on your physical and emotional well-being, there are several steps you can take to further boost productivity and get things done.

Organization is Key

It is highly likely that COVID-19 has interfered with your regular routine. Whether you’re working from home, working different hours, or focusing on different tasks, it’s clear that things aren’t what they used to be. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still be productive.

Start by getting organized and creating a new routine to give your day some structure. Begin by prioritizing the things you have to do, then create a schedule to accommodate the most important items. Be sure to include regular breaks and allow ample time to accomplish whatever tasks are at hand. Write down your schedule and keep it somewhere that will allow you to visualize your tasks for each day.

Minimize Distractions

This one is much easier said than done. If you’re constantly diverting your attention to your phone to keep up with social media notifications or news alerts, you are far less likely to be productive. To prevent distractions, temporarily disable notifications or turn your phone off entirely. Set aside time throughout the day for breaks during which you can check your notifications, but try to limit the time spent on these distractions until your to-do list is taken care of.

Get Enough Sleep

When you are overwhelmed with projects and work to be done, sleep is often the first thing to go. However, without an adequate amount of rest, you’re far more likely to be inattentive, unfocused, and unmotivated. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night and stick to a consistent bedtime and wake time. Give your mind and body the rest it deserves for working so diligently during the day.

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