I struggle with productivity every. single. day. It’s so easy to procrastinate and leave things to the last minute, but doing this can leave you feeling incredibly unfulfilled with yourself and your life. I’m a big believer in getting things done as soon as you have the energy to do them, as well as doing everything you can to increase your productivity. By doing these things I hold the belief that your quality of life will increase, and your self-esteem will increase as well.
Being productive is something we need to practice everyday. It’s a skill like everything else, and if we don’t work at it, we never improve. For those that struggle with mental illness, productivity can be an even bigger challenge. Some days can be so difficult that it feels physically impossible to get out of bed. Feeling this way is completely normal, but letting it affect you can only go on to a certain extent before it becomes a serious problem. At some point, you need to move on and find ways to cope, because wallowing in sadness for a long period of time will only get you into the habit of remaining stagnant in your life. On days where you feel like cooking yourself lunch and brushing your teeth is too hard, making your goals easy to accomplish is so important.
If you adjust your goals to your mindset, you will always be fulfilled. If you’re having an incredibly hard day and you can’t stop crying and everything feels impossible, accomplish something small. Whether that’s going for a 10 minute walk to get some sunshine, emptying your dishwasher, or baking some cookies, allow yourself to be PROUD that you took that small step. Even if your goal is to just take a shower, allow that to be enough. But for the days when you feel like you can accomplish an abundance of tasks, accomplish them and do not procrastinate. We are strong, resilient beings and we can achieve absolutely anything that we want to. We just need to take the time and have the patience and willingness to do so. It’s easy to get discouraged and then fall into a state of procrastination, but don’t let the bad days consume your life.
Allow yourself to be okay with receiving help and know that by doing so, you are stronger then ever. Everyone on this little blue dot has experienced life differently then you have, and we can learn a lot from the people we interact with. I know it’s easy to get defensive and react negatively to an offer of help, and it’s normal to assume the worst in others, but if you have an open heart and mind and you will learn so much. Below, I’m going to offer my help to you, and I hope you will take my hand and listen. I’ll be listing a few things that helped me to become more productive in my day to day life, and the happiness that came with doing so.
Wake Up Early
I’ve heard this thousands of times and never believed it, but this small tweak to your life really makes a world of difference. When you have your entire day ahead of you, nothing feels impossible. There are only so many hours in the day and if we’re waking up in the late afternoon (still guilty of this from time to time), we feel unfulfilled and like our day has already been wasted. Waking up at 8 or 9 am gives us the chance to shower first thing in the morning, eat a good breakfast that fuels us for the rest of our day, and enjoy the early morning with a great cup of coffee. It also gives us time to prepare and get our minds organized for the day ahead, rather then feeling rushed to do everything at once. Waking up early can be hard, especially if you’re a night owl or sleep in regularly. Don’t push yourself to wake up at 7-8 am if you’re normally not up until noon. Start off by waking up at 10 am, and push the clock back from there. Make your goals achievable, or else they won’t be met. This is the most important thing I’ve learnt.
Exercise and Eat Healthy
I’m not saying run a marathon at 6 am and eat a salad for breakfast, but doing some yoga or going for a walk in the morning can make all the difference. It releases endorphin’s in our brain that keeps us happy for the day ahead, which naturally increases productivity. Eating a big breakfast that has a decent amount of nutrition value to it, also fuels our minds for the day. It’s so important to care for our bodies, and exercising once in a while and healthy eating is a big part of what keeps our bodies going. We only have one body to carry us through our entire lives, so be good to it. A big thing that motivates me to go to the gym in the morning is knowing it won’t be crazy busy. I get social anxiety when the gym is packed, and having the weights and treadmills to myself is such a relief.
Keep a Clean Environment
This is something I learned after moving out of my parents house. When my space is a mess, my mind is a mess and I get insanely anxious. If I’m keeping up on chores regularly I feel way more calm then I would if there was a pile of dishes in the sink. Your house doesn’t need to be spotless every single moment of the day, but doing a chore or two daily is definitely a way to be more productive and feel fulfilled. Cleaning doesn’t have to be boring either! I open all my windows to get light in, put some music on and dance while I clean. People on the outside of my window probably think I look insane, but I have so much fun I forget I’m cleaning and that’s the whole point!
Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
This can be said with finances or just general “stuff” in your home. Decluttering and getting organized can make you feel less overwhelmed which naturally increases productivity. Cut down spending on your credit card, reduce the amount you spend on eating out or going to clubs and put those finances in a separate account to save for travel, a home, or whatever you’ve been really desiring. Donating clothes not only makes you feel good because you’re giving to a charitable organization, but studies have shown living a more “minimalist” life increases happiness. Declutter your work space, kitchen and closet for a more relaxed and organized life.
Make a List of Your Goals
Like I said above, we can achieve anything our heart desires. While this is true, we also need to remain realistic. It’s great to chase a dream on the side, but in reality, we all need to pay bills and do taxes and buy groceries. We have car payments, cleaning and family commitments. Make a list of all your goals, and then organize which ones can be achieved easily and more realistically and which ones will take more work and time. Both goals are great to have and can most definitely be met, but don’t give yourself too many goals that you won’t achieve, because you will 110% feel unsatisfied doing this. And also understand that when the more serious goals fall into place, your life will fall into place and then as a result your dream goals will be MUCH easier to achieve.
Develop a Routine
I cannot stress how important this is. Having a morning and/or night routine is so essential for living a happy and balanced life. I’m not saying do the exact same thing every single day, but developing an outline of a routine (or a mini routine) can make you feel so much more organized. Try to wash your face and practice skin care every morning and night. Not only will you have glowy, beautiful skin as a result, you’ll also feel like you did something productive and form a little routine for yourself. Every single night I eat a bowl of granola with almond milk and berries while doing a gentle face mask. It makes me feel pampered, relaxed and helps me wind down for the evening.
Accept Yourself Unconditionally
You are you, no matter what and you have to live with yourself every single day. Why spend all this time being disappointed and angry with who you are when it’s just a waste of time? I get it. It’s not easy to just shut off that little voice in your head telling you that you’re fucking up, but you have to try. We’re never going to ALWAYS meet every goal we want to in a day. That is okay and you need to accept yourself, even on days where it feels impossible. You need to love yourself, even on days where all you did was eat chips in your underwear while watching Gilmore Girls because even the busiest of people need their down time too. Be okay with who you are. If you have a mental illness that inhibits you from accomplishing things sometimes, be okay with that, but always try to do better when you’re out of that dark place. You need to be happy with yourself first, and surround yourself with people who will only build you up and influence you to be a better version of yourself. This is the biggest tip I can give you to become a more productive and accomplished person. Work every day towards loving and accepting yourself, because if your best friend, significant other, or parent was having a hard time and just couldn’t meet the goal that they wanted to meet, you wouldn’t drag on them for it would you? You’d accept them and tell them that you love them and that you know they’ll do it next time. So why would you treat yourself any different then you’d treat them? You’re just as important and valuable and loved and you need to know that. I’m here to tell you, you need to know that.
All my love and best wishes on your journey to productivity,