We are all striving to be our best selves. We want to be successful in our family life, and we want to be successful in our careers. This is a good thing. However, this can sometimes cause us to push ourselves too hard, and to want more and to do more. Nowadays our jobs are expecting more and more from us.
We are seeing many people losing their jobs, and some of us are so thankful that we still have a job that we are constantly pushing ourselves to be more productive so that we won’t be next. Do you ever feel like you or your job is pressuring you to be more productive, or are you pressuring yourself?
It is good to strive to be more productive, but too much pressure is counterproductive. What are the consequences of too much pressure, and how do you find the right balance? Let’s talk about it!
I have a high powered full-time job, and I run my own business full-time, so I am a workaholic who understands the necessity and drives to be productive. Overachieving is in my nature, and I honestly don’t understand how not to do this. But constantly pressuring yourself to be productive will eventually take its toll.
We need to be productive to a certain extent because we need to take care of ourselves and our family. We have careers that we intend to keep, which will require a certain level of work ethic on our part.
Ask yourself, is it work pressuring yourself to be productive? I would think not because what are the results of pressure?
Like my mother-in-law says, “Pressure busts pipes.” What she means is too much pressure will cause your stress levels to explode through the roof. Pressuring yourself to be productive will lead to stress, and stress leads to underperformance, which can further make you feel even more pressured to work harder.
This is a vicious cycle. You should not pressure yourself about being productive 24/7 because it leads to unnecessary stress, and it does not help you get anything done; in fact, it will cause you to become less productive.
It is important to work smarter, not harder. This allows you to maximize your productivity by working efficiently, but you don’t need to stress over it. When you start to worry about being productive in your dreams, you have gone too far. My husband once told me that “you can’t always make a home run, because in doing so you will strikeout.
Sometimes you just need to get on base.” As a natural overachiever, I didn’t know how to just get on base. What he was telling me was sometimes, if you stress over trying to get everything done, then you may get very little, or nothing was done.
Let’s consider 3 ways to stress less while still being productive.
1. Prioritize tasks first:
Some people say that you should complete the smaller task first so that you can get it out of the way and also, so you don’t get hung up on completing a tedious task first, and that’s all you end up doing that day. Others say that you should complete the most difficult task first so that you can get that out of the way, and then you will have the rest of the day to breeze through your job. None of these options are right or wrong.
However, there is a more efficient way. Start with the most important task first. It doesn’t matter how easy or difficult the task is. There are not enough hours in a day to do absolutely everything, so try to focus on the important things.
Prioritize your daily tasks based on importance and work on them first. That way, if you are running short on time, you won’t feel the pressure because you know that you completed all of your important priorities, and you can save the small things for another day. You will end each day relieved that most of your priorities are done. I do the most important things first, and then I work on the rest and do what I can. This is a great way to have a productive day without stressing over it.
2. Find Your State of Flow:
The State of flow is a level of consciousness where you are focused on the task at hand and can essentially perform without thinking about it. This work Rhythm, or “Groove,” allows you to work much faster and efficiently. How can you find your state of flow? First, you need to identify what needs to be done. Next, you want to make sure you are working in the right environment and at the right time where you feel the most productive.
3. Be Patient with Yourself
Being patient involves self-acceptance and understanding that no one is perfect. You should focus on progress rather than perfection. That’s why I previously mentioned two things.
1) There isn’t enough time in a day to do everything.
2) Start with the most important task first and leave the small stuff for another day.
These are the two lessons that I want you to take away. These two principles will allow you to be your most productive self without stressing over it.
From reading this post, you now see how too much pressure builds up stress and causes a snowball effect of lackluster performance. Remember to strive for progress and not perfection. Prioritize your tasks first, find your state of flow and be patient with yourself, and only then will you be productive without feeling the pressure.