10 Productivity Tips to Save Your Mental Energy
In our post-pandemic world, it seems that we have all jumped back into everything at break-neck speed. Although there are some people who genuinely thrive on doing ALL the things ALL the time, many of us are feeling burnt out by this fast-paced lifestyle.
Here are some ways to handle life’s many demands and save some mental energy in the process!
When you feel like you have an insurmountable mountain of obligations, it is important to arrange them in order of importance. The fact of the matter is that everyone only has 24 hours in a day, so focusing on completing the most important tasks is one way to feel less overwhelmed. The next day, turn your attention to the rest of your list.
For more specific ways to help prioritize, check out Two Proven Productivity Hacks, From Me to You.
Sometimes people feel they need to do it all on their own. Although some tasks really need to be done by you, there are probably some that you can hand off.
If your workload feels unmanageable, speak to a supervisor about getting help for your tasks. If you’re self-employed, hire some virtual or part-time help. At home, talk with friends and relatives who may be able to pitch in. Parents can encourage their children to jump in on household chores. Have a conversation with your partner about where you need help, too!
Set Firm Boundaries
On the flip side of the delegation coin is the ability to set boundaries.
If you are taking on duties that you don’t have time for or that may be outside of your job description, you need to be more intentional about setting clear boundaries. Checking your duties against your personal preferences can be important.
If you feel you are spread too thin with hobbies, then choose a few to eliminate. Comparing your job description at work with your regular tasks could illuminate items that have been placed on you that truly aren’t your responsibility.
Eat your Frogs
The popular metaphor simply means that the most difficult tasks should be set up to be done first. By completing the obligations that you tend to avoid first, you will find yourself less likely to drag your feet on those items that feel less daunting. Saving those dreaded tasks for the end of the day causes stress and procrastination.
Don’t Fall for Multi-Tasking!
Many believe that more will be completed if they work on multiple tasks at once. Though counterintuitive, less is more when it comes to being productive and engaging your focus.
Not only can it be mentally exhausting for your mind to try to work on a variety of functions at the same time, but focus is only developed when the practice is exercised. To get better at working productively on one task, eliminate distractions and slowly you will find yourself completing duties with better efficiency and even quality.
As with any goal, when you begin practicing monotasking to help your focus, begin with smaller, easier tasks. Completing a five-minute obligation without the distraction of checking social media will be far easier than setting the bar at a full workday.
As you reset your mindset towards meeting your target goal, you will find yourself more mentally capable of resisting those things that keep you from doing your best work.
Take Scheduled Breaks
Providing opportunities where your brain can relax not only helps your level of efficiency when you are at work but also allow your brain the much-needed stress reduction.
Many think that turning from a complicated task to social media will reduce the processing that your brain has been doing, but there are many other activities that can provide greater benefits for your mental health such as going for a walk, stretching, building relationships, or nourishing your body with healthy snacks.
Pick up the Momentum
There are many ways to help gain motivation when you feel you are dragging. From changing your mindset to stepping away, take a look at the various strategies at your disposal in my blog, Motivate Yourself to Be More Productive.
Most of this list includes outside factors that can help save your sanity, but there are aspects of biology that should be taken into account.
Some people jump out of bed with the sounding of their alarm and cross ten items off their to-do list before the sun is up. Others would rather stay up to the wee hours of the morning instead. By taking a look at your own sleep patterns and hours of productivity, you can plan accordingly.
If you are a go-getter in the morning but sluggish after lunch, then scaffolding your daily tasks in a way that takes advantage of your AM surge of brain power will improve your efficiency.
Reflect on Your Week
It’s also important to reflect on what you accomplished this week and continue to tweak your processes. If you still are feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks on your plate, then continuing to pare down your priorities, delegate tasks, and focus on the tasks at hand may be required. However, if you felt like this week gave you more room to breathe, then know you are on your way!
There is no one-size-fits-all system for improving the mental energy and focus of each individual. However, by recognizing some of these time management strategies and reflecting on the factors that make you tick, it can become easier each day to bring yourself closer to a life of balance.