With the world as crazy as it has been, stress levels are through the roof for many people. But you can change that. Here are 21 ways to reduce stress and increase productivity. Bonus: many of them are super simple to implement.
1. Brighten it up.
It’s hard to get creative and stay motivated if you are surrounded by drab and boring colors. Consider painting a wall in a favorite color. Or hanging colorful (and motivational) posters.
2. Add nature inside.
Plants have been shown to be a positive addition to offices worldwide for many reasons. Plus, green is thought to be a calm, relaxing color.
3. Stay organized.
You may know exactly where everything is in a cluttered workspace, but the truth is that the clutter could be stressing you out. Clean out and organize your workspace, and you may find your stress levels decrease.
4. Allow enough time.
If you commute, this means leaving 10-15 minutes earlier to allow for traffic, especially if you have meetings planned. Even if you work from home, don’t overschedule yourself.
5. Create balance.
Focusing on mentally difficult tasks exclusively can tire your brain out faster. Break up the day by interspersing easier tasks with the more challenging ones.
6. Stop multitasking.
Yes, if you are doing three things at once it might seem as if you’re getting through your to-do list faster. But if you’re not giving your full attention to the tasks, you might end up having to revisit and fix them. This is a timewaster. Take tasks one at a time and focus on them to completion. Break bigger tasks into smaller steps.
7. Break it up.
Plan plenty of breaks into your schedule. Even getting away from your desk or laptop for five minutes can make a difference in your concentration levels.
8. Ditch technology.
Eye strain and posture fatigue can set in if you’re at a computer for too long. It’s understandable that a lot of your work might require you to be online. But consider setting aside mornings for online work and afternoons for tasks that don’t require the computer. Changing your methods can increase your focus.
9. Document everything.
In the moment, you might remember why you are doing something. But when you return to a task later, that reasoning may have disappeared from memory which will cause you stress. Get in the habit of taking detailed notes. This will help you stay organized and keep your reasoning in the forefront of the tasks.
Make sure that you are clear in your instructions to your employees. If you work with other people in a collaborative atmosphere, be clear in your intent during discussions. Is an online presence part of your business? Schedule your posts and keep your followers engaged.
11. Scale down.
Look at your overall plan. Do you have too much going on and getting it all done is stressing you out? Is there anything you can cut out, adapt, or postpone? Lessening the burden can reduce stress.
Focusing on tasks all the time can be a huge energy drain. And working into the night takes time away from other important things (like family!). At the very least, stop for a few hours in your schedule for family time, and then set aside an hour (say after the kids are in bed) to do a final check of the day. Then put it away until the morning.
13. Accept help.
You probably have friends and family who can assist you, whether it’s in specific tasks or just as a support. Rely on them and return the favor when possible.
14. Listen to music.
You might be a person who is motivated by dance music, or ambient sounds may keep you calm and focused. Figure out what type of sounds will help you concentrate. Create playlists if you need to. And if you need to work in silence, that’s okay too…just know what works best for you.
15. Step away for lunch.
If you eat at your desk or while you’re working, you can get that feeling of never having a break. Ideally, meet a friend somewhere for lunch, because it will give you both a mental and physical break. But even if that isn’t possible, eat your lunch in an area that is away from where you are working.
16. Find your stress reliever.
Do you like to exercise? Read books? Have another hobby you don’t usually have time to pursue? Make the time. Doing something that gives you pleasure is a great way to relieve stress. Keeping yourself happy is a key to productivity.
17. Find your focus.
If you find your mind wandering during tasks, consider trying meditation, mindfulness, or deep breathing exercises to reset and regain your focus.
Health and Nutrition
18. Snack smart
When you’re stressed or ultra-focused on the task at hand, you may not be thinking about proper nutrition. You might also crave comfort food that may not be healthy for you. Stock healthy snacks that fit into your diet plan for when those cravings hit you.
19. Remove caffeine.
Yes, you may need your coffee to get going in the mornings, but caffeine is an anxiety booster (which obviously causes stress). If you have ever had the caffeine jitters, you know what I mean. Consider switching to decaf in the afternoons. Or try drinking teas that have less caffeine.
20. Stay hydrated.
It’s vital to keep drinking water throughout the day. It can keep your mind fresh and help flush your system of bad food toxins.
21. Good-quality sleep
You’re not at your best if you don’t have enough sleep. Stop using electronics in bed and consider sleep meditations if you have insomnia.
Try any of these 21 steps and see if your stress levels decrease while your productivity increases.
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