“Action is the foundational key to all success.” - Pablo Picasso
Are you the kind of person who has a lazy day hiding away from life's duties and occupying it with Netflix, take-out (the kind where you get it delivered to your door step) and the constant self-reassurance that you'll be more productive the next day? Then, you realize the next day turns into the next week. Trust me, I've been there and done that more times than I can count.
If there's one thing I learned throughout my 3.5 years of University and working 5+ jobs, it's the art of learning how to be and staying productive. This isn't to say that everyone will slip every once in a while and fall into a minor slump. This "art" is knowing how to get yourself back on track.
The problem is that once your productivity levels drop, these life duties start to pile up and the next thing you know, you're a self-destructing mess. Okay, well maybe not to that extent but there was a couple points in my life where this happened.
Here are my 3 tips to being and staying productive so that if and when you "slip up", you can get yourself back on track before these bad days turn to weeks, then months.
1. Find the source of your unproductivity
I've come to terms to realize that whenever I become unproductive, there's always an underlying reason as to why. Whether it's binge watching Grey's or eating copious amounts of Hagen Daz, there's a reason for this. It took me a couple years to master the art of ending this dangerous cycle.
My slip ups usually took about a week or two for me to begin to clue in that I was being extremely lazy and unproductive. Mess began to pile up in my room and I went from being somewhat put-together to someone who just hid in her bedroom. It took almost failing a couple assignments and tests for me to realize at the time that I needed to get my sh*t together. I then reflected back on why I became so unproductive.
It was because I was managing so many things at the same time and I became unorganized. I had multiple jobs and took on multiple classes. The moment I stopped pre-planning and being mindful of my due dates and work shifts, everything started to pile up together and I just hid away.
Knowing what your obstacle is, will essentially allow you to find tools to overcome them. Figure out what's stressing you and your to-do's...this will hopefully allow you to break them down and tackle it one by one instead of becoming overwhelmed.
2. Get a planner and always plan a week in advance (at least)
I honestly don't think there's a single soul out there that would not benefit from having a planner. Remember back in the day when people would say "let me check my schedule and get back to you?" and would actually get back to you after checking their schedule that was written on actual paper? Nowadays people say that and they tend to forget to get back to you...even though their schedules are in the convenience of being on their smart phones.
Before owning a planner, I used to be that person who had a beautifully colour coded calendar on my laptop, which synced into my phone. People in my classes would talk about how amazing it was to see how filled up my schedule was and how productive I was. Then, I came across a few incidents where I thought I erased everything and the panic I came across was almost like having an anxiety attack....
I'm the kind of person who always feels like they need to have a control over every aspect of their life. Especially when you own a business and/or juggling multiple things; my planner is my life...it gives me the piece of mind knowing that I haven't overbooked a time frame, that I'm constantly working towards my goals, reflecting and journaling, etc.
Planning at least a week in advance will ensure that you have all your to-do's down and your tasks won't creep up on you. Thus, there are no surprises and you won't have that overwhelming feeling.
3. Find a healthy way to relieve stress (aka. your "happy place")
Do you smoke cigarettes when you get stressed? Maybe binge eat? Binge watch shows? I used to do all that. Now, anytime I find myself stressed, I try and relieve them by going to the gym. This might not be for everyone but I know it's worked for most. Other methods can be drawing, painting, biking, longboarding, swimming, singing, dancing...the list goes on.
All it is, is doing something healthy that you loveand being able to take your mind off your stressors for a while and relax. Something healthy that's a no-brainer. I go the gym, turn on a podcast or music and I just focus on each set, rep and my tempo...or I head to the studio, blast music and freestyle dance my heart out.
Whatever it is, make sure it's a healthy habit. Did you know that studies have shown that the "area in your brain that holds information on our habits is closely associated to where we store our feelings of endorphins, like our happy feelings" - Chalene Johnson.
Find your method of relieving stress in a healthy way and make this a habit. Turn to this habit every time you feel overwhelmed, you'll notice a change in your thoughts and physical being.