How To Relieve Stress By Increasing Productivity

April 26, 2017

Greetings, my friends!  I hope all of you are having easy, breezy, stress-free days.  But for those of you who may be finding yourselves with a to-do list a mile long and not enough hours in the day to complete it (I hear you!), this post is for you.  It’s so easy to let stress […]

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Greetings, my friends!  I hope all of you are having easy, breezy, stress-free days.  But for those of you who may be finding yourselves with a to-do list a mile long and not enough hours in the day to complete it (I hear you!), this post is for you.  It’s so easy to let stress consume us at times.  Nobody likes feeling overwhelmed, but what’s a busy Bestie to do when you feel like you can hardly keep your head above water?
For one thing, don’t panic.  I know that may be easier said than done, but truth be told…it just makes things worse.  Take a deep breath and follow these easy steps to increase your productivity and relieve your stress.
1.  Have a system.  Whether you favor a traditional to-do list, your planner, or your phone for organizing your tasks, be consistent. Keep a running list of things you have to do, and keep them all in one place.  Personally, I like writing my tasks down on individual Post-its and throwing them away once I finish that task.  There’s just something so cathartic about throwing it away when I’m done. Plus also, there’s something cathartic about Post-its.  Am I right?
Cross things off, delete them, or throw them away as you get things done.  Add new tasks as you think of them.  Yes, you will probably be continually adding things to your list, but you will also be continually accomplishing things.  You’ll feel way more motivated the more you accomplish, so you likely won’t be bothered when you have to add another task to your list.  Especially if you get to write it on a Post-it.
2.  Begin with something.  Anything.  A lot of people have no problem writing their tasks down, but when they see a huge list in front  of them, that’s when they start to stress.  If this sounds familiar, take heart.  There are lots of different ways to approach your list, and there’s really no right or wrong way.  Here are a few suggestions:  Order your tasks from the most to least urgent.  Begin with the hardest task.  Begin with the easiest task, or the task that takes the least amount of time.  Alphabetize your list of tasks and go through them that way.  Still not sure where to start?  You can assign each task a number and put the numbers into a randomizer, letting your to-do list be ordered for you.  It really doesn’t matter which way you choose, as long as you don’t spend forever deciding what to do first.  Choose your first task, and get a move on!
3.  Focus on one thing at a time.  Mindfulness is always important, but it becomes especially important when you are feeling stressed.  When your to-do list feels daunting, consider the task at the top of your list and nothing else. Focus completely on that.  Once you complete that task, you can start thinking about the next one. Many people feel that multi-tasking is a better way to get things accomplished, but research actually proves the opposite.  Don’t believe me?  Try calling me as I’m walking into the grocery store sometime! 😉 Our brains are amazing machines, but they are not so hot at tackling more than one task at a time.  We move much more quickly and efficiently when we focus our attention on just the task at hand.  
4.  Schedule in some self care.  I know, I know, I say this all the time.  But that’s because it’s so, so important.  You may think you’re too busy for rest or self care, but ignoring your needs for rest and relaxation, creativity, and play is just a plain ol’ recipe for disaster. You were made to work and get things done and accomplish great things.  But you were also made for rest and comfort and joy.  Please don’t make the mistake of thinking you are too busy for self care.  You aren’t. I’m not. Nobody is.  It’s simply a matter of priority.  
Have you been prioritizing yourself lately?  If not, there’s no better time to start than the present.  Why not take a look at your week and schedule in some self care?  I even made you a delightful weekly self care printable that you can use for freeeeee just by subscribing via email in the sidebar over there on the top right! 🙂
If you prefer, try adding a few self care items to your to do list and reward yourself for all that hard work you’ve been doing.  Self care is something that absolutely reduces stress, and practicing it regularly can prevent a major buildup of it.  Trust your Bestie about this, will ya?  Self care’s kind of my thing.
Do you have any other tried and true ways to relieve stress and/or increase your productivity? Share your wisdom with us in the comments!

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I'm also a psychotherapist in private practice who wants to teach my fellow foster mamas the skills that ACTUALLY work to overcome stress, anxiety and overwhelm...'cause ain't nobody got time for that!

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