Sometimes it feels like slow living & productivity are at odds. If you’re slowing down and taking it one task at a time, how will you ever catch up your ever-growing list?
I get it! I often get caught up - working as quickly as possible, switching tasks while a webpage loads, or sending emails on my phone in the car. But at the end of the day, all of this rushing doesn’t actually improve my productivity - it mostly makes me feel like I’m in a state of anxiousness and I stop enjoying what I’m doing.
So before you even get started and implement some of our tips below, here are some questions to consider for yourself:
What is the value of your work to real people? For instance, do your administrative tasks allow a coworker to focus on maximizing their own work and effort? That’s amazing! Do your products bring moments of joy to the people who purchase them? That’s wonderful! Do you give advice and help people? Good for you! Keeping the value of your work in mind will change your entire perspective while you’re doing it. It will also help you in prioritizing your work to make the most impact.
How and when do you work best? Consider the time of day you feel best and your mind feels its clearest. Try to do your most important work during that time! You can also consider what process works best for you. I personally need to have a list of tasks every day and then readjust these tasks as I go (to move things around if I got more or less done than expected). Whatever works well for you - figure it out and keep doing it!
- Do your most important work when you’re most focused and productive
- Take regular short breaks (most people can only work effectively for about an hour straight)
- Know when to say no. You don’t have to/can’t do everything!
- Set aside quality time for family and friends (with no work emails or calls!)
- Schedule time for exercise and preparing nutritious meals to keep your body and mind at optimal health.
- Set a time for emails - that might mean diving deep into your inbox every couple of days or setting aside just two times each work day to read and reply to emails. Just don’t let this task take over your whole day!
- Declutter and organize your work and living space to help keep your mind clear.
- Try batch-working. Focus on just one or two categories of work tasks each day - so instead of jumping around you can knock out a whole month of blog posts (or whatever it is) in one afternoon!
When I first started to apply the slow living values that guide my personal life to my work life as well and began trying out the tips listed above, I realized something important: that productivity is always in a constant state of flux. Even when we optimize our work space and hours, we’re human beings. Some days our heads are clear and some days they are cloudy. Some days we’re full of energy and optimism, and other days it can feel hard to do even menial tasks. We have to stop expecting the same level of productivity from ourselves every single day and give ourselves grace and wiggle room to be human.
We hope these productivity tips are helpful to you. Let us know below in the comments what works for you! If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, check out our post on how to stay productive even on down days. (You will get through this!) And for a soundtrack to your work day, we've got a playlist to motivate and encourage.
If you’re looking for more ways to streamline or declutter your life this new year, check out our new email series: 5 Steps to a More Ethical Closet. We’ll walk you through the whys and hows of an ethical closet (even where to donate and how to recycle). Sign up below to get started.