When people talk about productivity, they talk about to-do lists, getting things done, hustling and grinding.
But they always forget one important factor: mental health. Why is this crucial aspect of productivity always overlooked?
We’re fairly certain that improving your mental health might be the single best thing you can do to sustainably become more productive and avoid procrastination. But how?
Rid yourself of anxiety and stress to improve your mental health and supercharge your productivity.
Three ways to restore your mental health and boost productivity
Eliminating stress and improving mental health
Everyone experiences stress from time to time. But don’t panic just yet, because the right amount of stress isn’t even bad. It can increase your productivity. Yet the balance is delicate. Too much stress can soon lead to procrastination and mental health problems.
So when you start feeling stressed, what can you do?
First, try to identify the sources. If you can eliminate them, do it. For example, you can stop watching the news if the constant stream of negative feedback is affecting you. But even if you can’t eliminate the source, knowing what the source is, helps you channel it.
In that case, try to understand why it happens and learn to deal with it. Stress exposure training (SET) and stress inoculation therapy (SIT) are two strategies to help you deal with stress factors that you can’t eliminate. Under professional guidance, you’ll learn to recognise triggers and control the circumstances.
Finally, you can reduce stress by sharing your feelings. Social contact stimulates the production of feel-good hormones, replacing stress with a more relaxed state. Besides, talking or writing about your stress helps you understand your emotions and see things from a more positive angle.
Deal with stress to improve your health and productivity. Understand where it comes from, talk about it and learn how to control it.
Dealing with anxiety increases mental health and productivity
Anxiety and stress are related. Too much stress may lead to anxiety, and this can be far longer-lasting than you think. Anxiety doesn’t come and go as easily as stress does.
When you know anxiety has a big impact on your mental health and productivity, you can better look for professional help. However, there are still a few things you can do yourself to deal with anxiety.
Again, start by identifying the triggers. Where does the anxiety come from? And do certain things make it worse? Only by understanding these triggers can we begin to eliminate them.
If they’re related to a bad relationship (friendly, romantic or professional). Can you stop seeing that person regularly?
If you can’t do anything about the sources, it does help to simply understand where the anxious thoughts come from and prepare yourself. In turn, you will be less susceptible to feeling anxious about feeling anxious!
This leads us to the next step. Learn to differentiate between what’s within your control and what’s not. It might not seem simple at first, but just stop worrying about things that are not within your control; you can’t do anything about them anyway. Knowing this, you can let go and accept reality for what it is.
The best way to do this is by releasing your feelings and thoughts. Don’t let them accumulate inside. Talk about it. Write about it. Even stop thinking about it for a while by engaging in a fun activity or exercise. Meditation can be a great tool to help you still your mind and create space between you and your thoughts.
If you’re dealing with anxiety, learn to prepare yourself for stressful situations and find time to let your emotions and thoughts free. Don’t wait too long before seeking professional help.
Protect your mind to minimise mental health effects on productivity
If you’re recovering from a period of stress and anxiety or feeling like you’re approaching one, act quickly to protect your mental health.
Burnout can happen sooner than you think.
Here are some tips to protect your mental space and find a healthy balance between productivity and a relaxed life:
The best way to deal with mental health problems and procrastination is to tackle the problem before it arises. Protect your mind with fun activities, meditation and free time.
Don’t let mental health ruin your productivity
We know it all goes round. Poor mental health leads to procrastination and reductions in your productivity. This in itself can worsen your mental health, again.
The biggest step is noticing the problem. And you’re here, so well done so far. But your job is not over yet. Now, identify the sources or triggers, learn to deal with them, and set your negative thoughts free. More personal time, reflection and exercise are always great options.
And one final tip: when you find meaning in what you do, it suddenly gets a lot easier.