“The biggest myth about productivity is that it’s a measure of how much you get done.” —Joelle Steiniger
Balancing productivity with self-care is a bit of an art form. The brain wants to jump in and tackle things in order to feel accomplished, while the body needs rest, nourishment, and time to rejuvenate in order to produce quality work.
When marketers—or anyone, really—push themselves too hard, errors are more common, efficiency plummets, and you struggle to come up with innovative ideas.
It’s not a new problem, but it is an increasingly complex one as mobile devices and online tools make it easy to work 24 hours a day. However, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. There are many factors that lead to inefficiencies in the workplace, and lack of self-care is one of them.
Simple Ways to Make Self-Care a Priority and Crank Up Productivity
Truly supporting what you need to be productive at work and maintain a healthy pace is a behavioral change, but it’s well worth the effort in order to shift the quality of your work and life.
1. View Self-Care as an Essential Work Tool, Not a Luxury
To create a healthy, flowing loop of being able to meet deadlines while effectively taking care of your physical needs, think of self-care as a work tool just like an app, device, content organization system, or to-do list. It’s the oil in your car engine; the wind in your sails.
When you realize self-care is more than an escapist vacation and instead view it as a valuable work resource, your mind can focus on finding creative ways to fit it in. Maybe you take longer lunches away from your desk, or shut off your phone alerts for the first hour of the day. It’s the simple things, done consistently, that offer the most effective self-care.
2. Surrender to the Futility of Multitasking
Truly being productive requires knowing how to use your energy wisely, balanced out by how you keep yourself mentally and physically healthy. Multitasking does neither of these things for you.
To change your multitasking ways, get clear on the value of what you need to complete based on how easy it is to do, the energy it takes to complete, and how essential it is to the big picture. Then focus on one task in small time increments (30 minutes or less) to produce quality work more efficiently.
3. Know Your Zone
Are you an early riser or a night owl? Do you hit a lull in the afternoon, or is it your most productive time? Track your energy levels for a week to get a good sense of your own rhythm, then organize tasks based on peak times. Slow in the afternoon? Focus on tasks that take less brainpower and shift more mentally intensive tasks to the morning.
4. Take Mini-Vacays through Visualization
No need to leave your office to take a little mini-vacation. Using 15 minutes of visualization each day can help the body and mind relax and amp up your energy levels. When you feel refreshed, it’s much easier to effectively focus on what needs to be done rather than pushing yourself to exhaustion.
5. Take Note of What Your Body Is Telling You
Heartburn after every meal? Horrible sleep patterns? Digestion a mess? Your body is trying to tell you it needs extra love. No one is productive when they feel terrible, so be mindful of these symptoms when they creep up, and take steps to get to the root of the problem while adding in extra self-care. The more you push, the faster burnout starts knocking on your door.
6. Create a Simple Morning Routine and Stick to It
The quality of your morning sets the tone for the whole day, so take advantage of how you kick it off. Get up a little earlier to have time for breakfast and a hot beverage, ride your bike to work, or add in a short morning meditation. A consistent, healthy routine makes it much easier to feel clear and more energized when you start the day.
7. Use Tools that Give You Peace of Mind
The brain can constantly jump from task to task and burn itself out without you even actually working on anything. It helps to have dependable tools that track deadlines and automate workflow and approval processes in order to free up time for a little extra self-care. Process optimization for the win!
What are some simple tricks you use to stay energized and work smart?