Slow Productive Days Reduce Anxiety
Productivity, the buzzword for every aspiring writer, entrepreneur or anyone who wants to increase their overall output on a daily basis. The race to be more productive, finish tasks and achieve more can often leave you burned out and anxious. Feeling less than worthy when you don’t complete certain tasks. I am a self-confessed workaholic and productivity junky however, I also suffer from anxiety at times. This anxiety stems from uncompleted tasks, long lists of things to do and day to day living.
What if there was a better way? Slow, productive days, one major task on the list and the rest can just fall away like autumn leaves. I often feel like I need to fill up my to-do list with a million and one things however, this is actually the worst thing to do if you want to achieve optimum productivity. These days I am opting for slow, productive days where I wake up early and power through my tasks in an unhurried, intentional, yet calm and focused way.
How to do Slow Productive Days
Wake up Early
Everyone is different so waking up early might not be right for you but I find that when I wake up before sunrise, I am anxiety-free for the whole day. I get up, pray and start work almost immediately. By the time the birds start chirping and loud voices fill the air, I have done half of the things on my list. This allows me to spend time exercising and enjoying an easy-breezy self-care routine because I am already halfway there.
I spend five minutes writing down three things I’m grateful for each day, it calms and grounds me.
Embrace The Outdoors
Your environment impacts your mood, what you see, hear and experience daily affects how you respond to situations. Being cooped up in the house all day will not benefit your wellbeing. Slow, productive days are best when you spend some time in nature. A short 30-minute walk can reduce your stress levels and help you to focus better.
According to the University of Minnesota research, even a plant inside your room can boost your mood and reduce stress. If for some reason, you can't get outside as much as you would like, invest in some houseplants.
Drink water and eat your greens. Slow productive days don’t just involve, finding ways to slow down to work more efficiently, you also need to consider how you fuel your body. I feel less productive when I eat too much junk food, excessive amounts of sugar, salt and oil leave me feeling bloated and lethargic. I do eat junky snacks from time to time but mostly I try to stick to healthy options.
Green leafy vegetables like kale and Swiss chard are magnesium-rich which is a vital mineral for brain health. Magnesium is often referred to as nature’s tranquilliser, research shows that magnesium plays an essential role in regulating neurotransmitters that transmit messages to the brain and body. According to research magnesium impacts, a part of the brain called the hypothalamus which controls the pituitary and adrenal glands. These glands help the body cope with stress.
To experience the benefits of magnesium I drink green juice every day. Here is my simple green juice recipe.
Green Juice Recipe
- 1 bunch Kale
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 1 green apple
- 2 cucumbers
- 1/2 inch ginger thumb
- Small lime
For a snack, I drink one smoothie consisting of frozen bananas, frozen berries, almond milk and two tablespoons of wheatgrass powder.
I drink 3 litres of water per day.
The Shortest Task List in the World
Instead of filling up your task list with a billion things, write down one important thing. The rest of the things can get done if you have the time, or they can be the things that you spend 30 or 40 minutes on at the end of the workday.
When I was in University studying Philosophy, one day my professor picked up my to-do list and advised me to cross off 95 percent of the things on the list. I was baffled because I felt like I needed half of the things on there.
“A long things-to-do list will render you lazy and unproductive. A short one will give you superpowers.”
I held on to that throughout university and I still hold on to it today. Nonetheless, it is difficult to focus on just one, two or three things. I end up writing 10 things to do. These days, I write a maximum of three important tasks in order of importance. My notepad is always half empty which is satisfying, on most days I feel no anxiety.
Break up the day
Work, take breaks and then get back to work. Book your lunch break and make sure you relax and enjoy your meal.
Lock Your Work Away
I work from home, I have for years so I need to make a clear distinction between work time and leisure time. At the end of my working day, I lock my laptop away and get back to living. If you want to benefit from slow, productive days, you need to clearly define your working hours and your relaxation hours.
Slow, productive workdays are not lazy days, by the end of the day, you should have completed your most important task. The purpose of slow productive days is to finish your tasks with minimal stress. Writing long, task lists will just leave you feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Instead, create a short to-do list, complete the most important task and end the day feeling, accomplished and relaxed.