These are trying times, to say the least. If you suffer from anxiety, it can feel even more difficult. When living with anxiety, it can feel like you’re frozen in place – a prisoner in your own mind, if you will. I can assure you that you’re not alone. Feelings of anxiety, however severe, can really limit how productive we are throughout the day.
There are times when I’ve found myself just staring at a blank document on my laptop with thoughts flying through my mind that have absolutely nothing to do with what I should actually be working on. I had to really buckle down and find solutions to quiet my anxiety and get my work done!
I’ve tried countless ‘tricks’ found on the internet to keep myself productive in times of anxiety. To be blunt, a lot of them didn’t work for me. But, giving up wouldn’t be, in any way, beneficial. So, I kept trying new ways and actually found 8 that truly keep me productive even in my worst moments of anxiety.
While ‘accepting’ that you suffer from anxiety may seem like a strange way to curb it, it really works. Often times, while suffering from anxiety, people try to stonewall it in an attempt to just ‘make it go away.’ This does not, and a repeat, DOES NOT work. You can’t simply wish or will anxiety to go away.
I’ve found, on multiple occasions, that accepting the anxiety being there actually helped calm it. For example, rather than focusing on all that I cannot control, (in the world and closer to home), I accepted those ‘out of control feelings.’
My favorite analogy for this that really happened to me took place while I was on an airplane. It was just after I’d stopped taking mind-numbing medication for anxiety to better my overall health. Needless to say, I was scared shitless. But, something amazing happened when I was up there over top of the clouds. I looked around, took a breath, and realized something. I was already up there. Regardless of what happens – there wasn’t a damn thing I could do either way. At that moment, for the first time, I truly accepted my anxiety.
If there’s nothing you can do to alter a situation, accept that those anxious feelings are going to be there. But, also acknowledge that it is normal to feel that way.
2. Avoid Triggers that Make it Worse
One of my biggest triggers, especially right now, was social media. People share too much bullshit and honestly, fact-checking was blowing my anxiety sky high!
While there is a lot of good that comes from social media, there is a lot of bad too. It brings out the worst in some people and seeing that can cause truck loads of anxiety that will limit your productivity!
Know which ‘triggers’ make your anxiety worse and avoid them if at all possible.
3. Always Keep Lists
Keeping lists has been one of the best ways I’ve been able to manage my anxiety and stay productive. Lists can really be a savior in times of mental turmoil and they will help keep you on track.
One of the best lists you can keep is a daily to-do list. Prioritize all the tasks you need to get done, do them, and cross them off one by one while taking small breaks in between.
4. Take ‘Positive’ Breaks
To help you remain productive while struggling with anxiety, ensure that you’re taking ‘positive breaks.’ What I mean by that is to take breaks that you get something positive out of.
A positive break will make you feel refreshed, relaxed, nourished – they will give you a positive feeling when you’re finished. This is what breaks are meant to do. Use that time wisely as to not add more stress or anxiety.
Some ‘Positive Break’ Ideas:
- Quick Yoga Session
- Read a chapter of a book
- Have a healthy Snack
- Quick Journal
- Get Outside
- Take a Walk
- Play with a Pet
5. Focus on Your “Why”
Get back to the basics. Why do you do what you do?
Focusing on your ‘why’ is an excellent way to push that anxiety away, (if only for a while), and take the steps you need to take because of your ‘why.’
Most of us have multiple ‘whys’ when it comes to doing what we do. It can be passion. It can be money. It can be to save up for a larger goal. Whatever your ‘why’ is – remember it, zone in on it, and do what you need to do!
6. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
We are all probably too hard on ourselves as it is. Mentally berating yourself about your anxiety isn’t going to help the situation at all.
Avoid negative self-talk. Focus on what you did well and what you can do to improve what you didn’t do so well.
7. Have a ‘Brain Dump’
Another great way I’ve been able to manage my anxiety throughout the day and stay on the productive-train has been to Brain Dump.
I think sometimes we all get a ton of ideas in our heads and the colliding of those thoughts can increase anxiety tremendously, making us less productive. Write down all those intrusive thoughts before getting started for the day. Just vent! Use your worst handwriting!
The point is to get those thoughts out of your mind and onto paper. Bonus points if you toss the paper in the trash when you’re done, or, if able, light it on fire.
8. Self-Care Schedule
One of the best ways you can manage your anxiety long-term is to ensure that you’re taking care of yourself. I have found it easiest to make sure that I’m always at 100% by adding ‘self-care’ into my daily schedule.
Some Important Self-Care to Focus on:
- Ensure You’re Drinking enough Water
- Make Time for Exercise (15 minutes a day is a great start)
- Ensure You’re Getting Enough Greens
- Have a Skincare Schedule
- Allow Time To do the things that relax you
Let me know your best productivity tips while suffering from anxiety in the comments 🙂
I needed this right now! I’ve been going through a rough time with my anxiety and my productivity has seriously suffered. Just thinking about all the things I need to do can send me into some awful anxious thought patterns! Thank you so much for sharing so many helpful tips 🙂
Lists and focusing on my “why” help me the most! It’s so satisfying to cross an item off a to-do list and it motivates me to keep working!
Some great tips. The biggest one for me is not beating myself up. I love to journal and use this technique often.