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Last Updated on March 17, 2020

How to Become Productive Without Getting Stressed Out

How to Become Productive Without Getting Stressed Out

Being productive is more important than ever in this age. As technology improves, the expectations that we are under from our jobs, our family and even our friends also seem to rise. Therefore, we all look for ways to be efficient as we can in all areas of our lives. But how do we do this without getting stressed out?

Knowing how to deal with stress is becoming a serious problem, especially in the United States. We stress over getting along with our co-workers, fitting more into our daily schedules and, most prominently, we even stress over trying not to stress.

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So let’s take a look at seven ways to up our productivity, while still keeping our stress levels in check!

VIDEO SUMMARY

Plan Your Next Day a Few Hours Before Bedtime

Many of us make the huge mistake of planning our next day as we lie in bed. Instead, try to make a quick “To Do” list a few hours before bedtime, that way you can clear your mind and be energized for the following morning. Not only will you feel more organized, but that stress that you feel when you “might be forgetting something” will also be a thing of the past.

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Delegate What You’re Not Good at

Many productive leaders only do what they’re good at. In other words, if you have the ability to outsource a task or a project that you’re just not cut out for to another team member or a freelancer, then go for out! It doesn’t do you any favors to volunteer for something that you know you won’t excel at just to appear “eager to learn”. You know your skill set and your limitations, so if you’re not the best in the world at a particular task, then outsource it to someone who is.

Create Time by Having a Small Tweak of Your Daily Schedule

Well, there are actually quite a few things that are within your control that can help add some more time to your day. Take lunch a bit early or a little later than most, avoiding that long line at the area restaurants. When you’re at home with family, do your grocery shopping at off-peak hours and see the latest movie during a matinee. You will definitely find it easier to manage time in your busy schedule, plus you may even put a few dollars back into your pocket!

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Ask for Help When You Feel Overburdened

If things ever get to be a “little too much,” learn to ask for help. This can mean talking to a friend to clear your mind or even taking a step back from some of your responsibilities in the office. It could even mean setting up that first therapy appointment. So, it may be just the thing to help you get rid of that stress and anxiety for good! Once you are thinking with a clear mind, you’ll see your productivity levels will thank you for it.

Get in Great Physical Shape to Energize Your Mind

Working out is not only good for our bodies, but it releases endorphins, which also energizes our minds. Plus, stepping away from your desk for even ten minutes to get your blood pumping can make you much more focused when you return. You can also add one of those standing desks that everyone has been talking about. You can place more attention on the project you’re working on, while also alleviating those cramps you get after sitting for an hour or so straight.

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Stop Letting Your Relationships Drag You Down

Relationships can be one of the biggest stress builders on the planet, and being around negative people only compounds that. Try to remove as many of these people as you can from your everyday life. If you find yourself in a situation at your job where you have no choice in the matter, put up your “negativity shield”. Remind yourself that you don’t need the additional stress or the decrease in productivity, and remain in control of your own emotions and how you choose to deal with the situation before you.

Eat and Drink Fresh to Boost Energy in Your Body

The next time you need a boost of energy, don’t reach for those sugary drinks. Energy drinks may provide a short bout of energy, but they can also make you jittery, welcoming in those stressful feelings. Instead, grab a piece of fresh fruit or some low-fat chocolate milk. If you’re feeling a bit stressed out, reach for a piece of dark chocolate. Yes, those rumors are true!

Staying as productive as you possibly can and learning how to deal with stress are two very important things to accomplish in your life, and they go hand-in-hand quite a lot more often than you might think. As you follow these seven tips to keep stress levels at bay and learn to be more efficient, be ready to see your life change for the better!

Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

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Angela Ash

Writer and Editor

How to Become Productive Without Getting Stressed Out

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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