How productive are you at the moment?

Does the word productive just make you want to squirm and scream into a pillow?

I used to feel like that, when I was at my old job and I had a million different requests to deal with, reports to write, committees to arrange…

It was like being a mouse trapped on a wheel of stress, with no way off.

If only I’d known then how much the stress was affecting my productivity, I would have taken some time out to relax.

When you’re stressed, you’re less able to focus on one thing at a time.

When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to make rash decisions that you may later regret – or be unable to make any decisions at all.

When you’re stressed, you become more reactive and less proactive, which means you’re less likely to achieve any of your goals and more likely to become even more overwhelmed.

When you’re stressed, you won’t be able to sleep or eat properly as your adrenaline levels will be high, so your health will be affected too.

When you’re stressed, you will be more likely to focus on the negatives rather than the positives, which will make it harder for you to find solutions to your problems.

So how do you become less stressed? Great question!

My favourite methods are deep breathing, meditation and free-writing about everything that’s stressing me out. I’m a huge advocate of using writing to make yourself happy, and I always keep a notepad handy to get things out of my head, which keeps my stress levels low.

Another great way of dealing stress is by talking about it with colleagues, friends or family. The old adage “a problem shared is a problem halved” is still true.

If you don’t have anyone you can turn to, feel free to contact me or speak to a medical professional if you prefer. The longer you sit and worry about your situation, the more your stress levels will build and the greater the effects on your productivity and your health will be.

Since quitting my 9 to 5 and starting my own business, I’ve become much more mindful about how I manage stress, and my productivity has sky-rocketed. You can be more productive than you are now, but only if you deal with your stress first.