The Productivity Hack That Reduced My Anxiety

The Productivity Hack That Reduced My Anxiety

Working from home has some ups and downs.

The ups are obvious. Endless cups of tea, as many breaks as you want, and the ability to wear pyjamas while you work.

There’s also the fact that you can blast podcasts as loud as you want all day – sans headphones – with no-one other than your cats giving you disapproving looks.

Oh, and online shopping. You’re always home for the deliveries!

The downs, however, aren’t quite as clear.

For some, it can be really hard to work alone all day. Humans need interaction, and the solitude of working from home can negatively impact the more social of beings.

For others {lol hi yes that’d be me}, it’s the distractions. It seems there are always things to do in our house – whether that’s unpacking the dishwasher or brushing the cats teeth {don’t ask}, and I can sometimes find myself knee-deep in wet laundry at 3pm with nothing crossed off my to-do list.

My lack of productivity has really been affecting the work I produce, as well as the way I feel about what I do.

If there have been weeks upon weeks of very few blog posts and perhaps not my best content, I begin questioning myself.

 

Am I really cut out for this? Is my work shit? Does anyone even care?

 

A few months back, after two weeks of self-doubt and crushing anxiety and constant frustration with myself, I turned to my greatest ally – the internet – and did some research on ways that I can increase my productivity.

Aside from setting deadlines {lol never works} and taking regular breaks {I do enough of that already!}, there wasn’t really much in the way of productivity hacks that I knew would work for me.

But then I came across a random article about single tasking, and everything in it just made so much sense for me.

Single tasking is basically the opposite of everything we’ve ever learnt about working hard and being productive. Most job postings call for people who are efficient multitaskers, and those who can work in fast paced environments.

While that may work for some, the majority of the population just cannot keep up with that kind of mental and physical load. Single tasking instead calls for focusing on the completion of one task before moving on to another.

Think of it this way: you’ve got 32 tabs open in your internet browser. You can switch between them all whenever you want, but the content on each page takes a little longer to load – some pages might even fail to load due to an overloaded browser. It’s hard to see which tab you were last on, and where you were with the content within each tab. Are you finished with that article? Did you see that Facebook post already? Wait – am I re-reading the same paragraph again?

The brain works like this when multitasking. It has to switch between different topics and brain functions and body movements – which is great in short bursts – but isn’t sustainable over longer periods of time.

If you’re an avid multitasker, you might find that your work quality isn’t consistent, and it takes longer to jump between tasks because instead of being focused on the task you’re doing right now, you’re thinking about the task you were working on earlier.

As a writer/blogger/photographer/etc, it can be easy to fall into the trap of multitasking every day. Replying to an email about coffee scrubs while taking pictures of wall art and listening to a podcast about mass murder and mentally planning next months blog posts about supplements and sweet potato. I’m sure you can understand how hard it must be to focus on doing well at one thing while also trying to focus on five other things.

So, in that regard, single tasking works well for me. I’ve been trying it out on and off over the past few months, and I definitely notice a difference in productivity levels.

That’s not to say that I’m an avid single tasker at all times. Not at all. While writing this post I’ve ventured downstairs twice to fill up my water bottle, taken blog photos for this weeks Sunday Edition, listened to half of a podcast and folded laundry.

But is my content the best it could be? Is the process as seamless and efficient as it should be?

Definitely not.

As a blogger/etc, I find my work is at its best when I’m single tasking the entire day.

I’ll spend an hour and a half writing a blog post, and follow that with two hours of photoshoots and an hour of editing after that. Maybe I’ll squeeze in some social media for thirty minutes afterwards, or I’ll go browse my favourite blogs for inspiration.

Notice how I’m not doing all of these things at once?

I finish one task, and then I move to the next.

I don’t start something new unless I’ve finished my previous project.

Sounds simple – right?


The Productivity Hack That Reduced My Anxiety | www.agirlandgrey.com @agirlandgrey


So – how did single tasking reduce my anxiety?

The process of single tasking, for me, has significantly reduced my anxiety levels because I’m actually ticking more off my to-do list, while at the same time feeling satisfied with the work I’m creating. I don’t get that end-of-day panic caused by wasting yet another day not achieving my goals.

I spend more time actively and passionately working on things, as opposed to doing a little here and there, throwing it out in the world and hoping for the best.

My mind is also quieter. If I’m working on a blog post – as I am right now {after faffing around for an hour lol} – the only thing in my mind is words. They come to me faster than I can type them out, and they’re rarely awkward. They fit – neatly – and they represent my voice. I’m not thinking about what to eat for dinner or how many emails I haven’t replied to – I’m just focusing on writing. And it feels good, and it makes me calm.

The same goes for when I’m doing things unrelated to my job. Like cooking.

I used to cook dinner every night with a podcast on, simultaneously scrolling instagram while I stirred.

It made the whole experience stressful. It was loud and hectic and rushed and shit.

Now, when I cook {most of the time at least}, I try and do it in complete silence.

I’m not thinking about paying my phone bill or folding laundry – I’m just slicing and dicing and stirring and tossing.

Dinner gets made quicker, it tastes way better, and there’s more room in my brain to get creative with what I’m cooking. I also eat my food slower and enjoy it so much more. There’s no stress involved – at all.

So, if you’re feeling at all unproductive in work and/or life – I’d recommend giving single tasking a go. It’s changed the way I view productivity completely, and I definitely think it’s impacted my work in a positive way.


What are your views on single tasking? Is it something you’re going to try?

 

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8 Comments

  1. July 21, 2018 / 1:12 am

    I feel like I try to get so much done at once that I try to be over-productive as well, and it just more than often doesn’t pan out. I’m going to try this tip out! Thanks 🙂

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

    • Sharni
      Author
      July 25, 2018 / 5:54 am

      I hope it helps you be more productive and efficient in your day, Julia! xo

    • Sharni
      Author
      July 25, 2018 / 5:55 am

      I hope some single tasking can help relieve your anxiety woes! Thanks for your comment Danielle. xo

    • Sharni
      Author
      July 31, 2018 / 8:11 am

      It’s crazy how such a simple thing can improve our productivity. xo

  2. July 25, 2018 / 12:37 pm

    I highly agree with the single tasking. I think sometimes we want to get so much done that we try and do 5 things at once and then end up not even getting one thing done. I like to mix up the blogging tasks i do each day and I know there are certain tasks I do better at certain times of the day e.g. writing blog posts during the day, editing photos at night (while watching a movie etc)

    http://www.themakeupaficionado.com

    • Sharni
      Author
      July 31, 2018 / 8:12 am

      You’re so right – I’m a much better writer at night but I’m better at editing in the morning. Weird lol. xo

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