In our current culture there is so much talk about hustling and being a girlboss and accomplishing as much as possible that it’s no surprise to me that 23% of people always feel burned out while another 44% feel burned out sometimes. And it’s even worse for women, a study found that women face burnout faster and harder than their male counterparts. So even if it seems counter-intuitive, sometimes the best thing you can do for your productivity is to slow down. One of my favorite quotes from activist Eve Ewing is that “there is no glory in a grind that grinds you all the way down.”
We all want to create successful and fulfilling lives for ourselves but overdoing it can just backfire and keep us from moving forward. However, if you need help planning out an action plan, take a look at Michelle Enjoli's helpful guide.I know the feeling of tying your worth to how busyyou are but the more I’ve grown up the more I’ve realized there’s a big difference between being busy and being productive. You can still accomplish everything you want to accomplish without working yourself into the ground at all hours. It’s the idea that we should be working smarter, not harder. So I’m here to share with the five things I stopped doing that made my days way more productive and way less draining.
Back in the 1950’s, sleep researcher Nathaniel Kleitman discovered that our bodies move through cycles of 90-120 minutes. These cycles result in the ebb and flow of our energy throughout the day. So, while you certainly can overpower your body’s natural rhythm doing so is likely to decrease your productivity and efficiency.
Your brain can only really focus for so long before it starts craving a break which at that point will make it hard to get stuff done. Instead, if you give your brain a quick break to get some fresh air or maybe a snack, it will be way more productive once you decide to sit back down, One of the best things I’ve done for myself is to work in 90 minutes increments with a 20-minute break in between.
Burnout often happens when we stop taking care of ourselves, when work becomes the sole priority overpowering our sleep, exercise, diet and mental health. Putting those on the back burner may make it seem as though you’re able to allocate more time to your work, but you won’t make it that far if you’re health starts to decline.
When we eat healthy and move our bodies, take time to meditate and check in with our mental health we’re going to experience less stress and be able to show up fully to the times when we need to get work done. So, don’t feel bad about taking a lunch break to make yourself a healthy breakfast or spending ten extra minutes in the morning to meditate, you deserve, and it will only set you up for success throughout the day.
Yes, being a perfectionist seems like a copout answer for when asked what your biggest flaw is. But it actually can get in the way of being productive and accomplishing your goals. Perfectionists are more likely to procrastinate and wait to do something until theperfect moment (which doesn’t exist), they will spend way more time on a task than is actually required (keeping them from other things they could be accomplishing) and they lose sight of the big picture goal they’re working towards by getting stuck in the details.
So, stop waiting for everything to be perfect for you to do something because you’re going to end up waiting forever. Allow yourself the freedom of imperfection and see how much more you’re able to accomplish.
Overloading yourself with projects and tasks will end up with your spreading yourself way too thin and none of your projects are going to be done to the best of your ability. You should be focusing in on opportunities that you’re passionate about and projects that are going to be worth your time.
Of course, you can’t always say no to what your boss is asking you to do but there are probably a lot of other responsibilities that you don’t have to be taking on. Start taking stock of the things you choose to put your energy into.
I think there can be a lot of shame and embarrassment in asking for help, but you cannot deny that ‘many hands make lighter work’. Put your ego aside and reach out to someone when you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure or just need a little support.
It can be scary to admit you need help but when every time I’ve gotten vulnerable and let someone else in I’ve been able to achieve so much more and seen better quality results.
These things have really helped me get so much more done while juggling full time school and an internship and I hope they help you to. But it’s also important to remember that you’re worth shouldn’t be attached to how much you can check off your to-do list.
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