Don’t let stress get the upper hand – start leading a more productive life!
Many people suffer from stress and it can hamper their ability to get things done. And this causes even more stress.
We live a fast-paced life and we have to deal with expectations from our bosses, partners and even ourselves. When we have too much on our plate, it increases our stress levels and this is bad for our overall health.
So, here are ways in which you can lower your stress levels and in doing so, be more productive.
These tips could help to improve your work-life balance.
Simple ways to lower stress while increasing productivity
Stress hormones include adrenaline and cortisol. These are there for a good reason and that is to activate fight or flight response. But, feeling stressed all or most of the time is never a good thing.
Take a look at these 10 tips that will help you deal with stress, productivity or both.
The best way to do this is by implementing changes gradually so that they become a natural part of your day-to-day routine.
Before you know it you’ll feel calmer and more in control of every aspect of your life.
1. Cut down on distractions
Are you fond of checking your emails and texts at the same time as you prep an assignment or task to complete for a deadline? You’re not alone. Many people struggle with these distractions even when time is of the essence.
Multitasking is highly overrated and has been proven to make you even more unproductive!
Minimise distractions by:
- Switching off alerts on your laptop and cell phone
- Schedule time in your calendar for focus work
- Ask your colleagues to contact you at set times. Having an “open-door” policy is incredibly distracting!
- If you work from home, arrange for any children to be babysat and pets to be kept quiet. Ask older children and your partner not to disturb you for eg: 40 minutes. Setting boundaries is required here.
2. Use the Pomodoro
Pomo, what now?
The “Pomodoro technique” has long been a successful way to help manage time. Pomodoro derives from the Italian word “Pomodoro” meaning tomato. In short, the Pomodoro tool that is a timer that works by counting down a pre-selected time.
The idea is that you work without stopping until the timer goes off.
You don’t have to use the exact same timer; any timer will do.
Once the set time to complete a task has elapsed, the timer will sound. You’ll then check off your progress, go for a break and then come back to start another task or carry on with the one you were busy with.
Be careful not to set the timer for too short an interval for tasks requiring more time, and similarly, don’t give yourself two hours without a break.
The optimal time for most people is around 40 minutes of unbroken concentration work.
3. Do important activities first
While it’s tempting to work on the “easy” tasks on your to-do list, these are often things that keep you busy but don’t really move you ahead on important tasks.
Rather challenge yourself to tackle the big, scary tasks that would make the biggest impact in your work and life.
4. Take a breather every now and again
Life can be tough and serious, but sometimes it’s good to pause, and take a minute to find composure. Stress makes you anxious, fearful for the unknown, worried and prone to pessimistic reasoning. What are you to do?
Stop for a moment, and just breathe.
Even better, do some basic yoga poses that will leave you feeling refreshed.
For more yoga inspiration, follow our “Yoga and Pilates” Pinterest board here.
5. Go for more walks
Walking is very good for our health both physically and mentally.
As it stimulates the heart muscle; it also promotes good blood circulation.
Regular exercise is essential not only to manage stress but to prevent chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes.
Even if it feels as if your day is just too busy to take a little stroll, try even just 5 minutes a day to walk briskly.
The best place to walk is outside. Feeling the air, sun and wind are all therapeutic and key elements to help your body engage in natural healing.
This will refresh your mind so that you can get back to the tasks that need your attention.
6. Bond with people in a community that share good values
To be more productive, you can form your own community and help keep one another accountable.
Communities can come in many forms. You could be in a book club sharing favourite reads, hobby enthusiasts or simply good friends, and family spending quality time together.
Use your community for support, suggestions and advice.
Surround yourself with positive people and their influence.
7. Freedom of expression for all in your home
One of the places you want to come to where you can relax, unwind, and let go of work stress is your home.
You could allow other members of the household to add their own personal touches to their spaces. The kids can have their input into what they want their room to look like and you could add signature touches throughout.
A personalised space to call home is very liberating. At the end of the day, it also promotes a happier environment and productivity.
Consider using scented candles or aromatherapy to promote a relaxing scent throughout your home.
8. Have more “me time”
“Me time” is not only therapeutic, but it truly helps you to spoil yourself in appreciation for all you do. Does it seem vain to spoil yourself? No! Treating yourself to nice things and taking time to unwind at a health spa, or going on vacation may be just what the doctor ordered.
This also helps you to disconnect from things that “builds on” your stress levels. These may include work or dealing with difficult customers as a business owner. Maybe you have colleagues that freak you out or it’s hard to work with them.
Let’s not forget about the demands of running a family and the challenges that come with that.
Self-care is not selfish, it’s a priority. And it will help you, in the long run, to be more productive.
9. Improve your sleep
Chronic sleep deprivation will have a serious impact on your ability to perform at your best.
If you’re tired, you will barely be able to function, let alone be productive and effective.
In fact, poor sleep is probably the first thing you should fix when you want to be next-level productive.
Read this article for more tips on how to improve your sleep.
10. Have a good calendar/diary
To instantly improve your productivity, get a calendar/diary and use it.
Rushing to meetings you forgot you had, missing your kid’s netball match and feeling constantly flustered is a sign of poor planning.
Here are some tips for great scheduling:
- Write down important dates, meetings, appointments, obligations
- Check your diary daily, weekly and monthly
- If anything changes, notify the relevant people promptly
- Schedule time for relaxation and your loved ones
How to make this change part of your life and be more productive?
There is an old proverb that says “there is only one way to eat an elephant, a bite at a time”.
To manage some of the most daunting experiences and challenges, the only way is to do it a bit at a time.
If you’re trying to take on everything at once, it may cause you to run the risk of burnout.
Closing thoughts on how you can be more productive
As much as we want to encourage you to be healthy inside and out, the key that you implement these suggestions because just reading them won’t make much of a difference.
Oftentimes we link our self-confidence to our achievements in life, and being productive is part and parcel of achieving our goals.
It’s important to our health and wellness to function optimally, and that’s why it’s so important to reduce our stress levels and build on being more productive.
We encourage you to take the first step to be a calmer, more productive you.
You might also enjoy:
- 11 Ways to Reduce your Stress
- The Ultimate Health Checklist
- The Best Motivational Quotes to Improve Your Day