It’s no secret that adulthood is a roller coaster ride. Your twenties, especially, are marked by some very high highs and some very low lows. We’ve all seen the memes. One day you feel like you can conquer the world and the other you just want to stay in bed like a burrito of blankets playing a certain Bruno Mars song in the background.
Amidst the emotional ups and downs, the social pressures and work deadlines, there is a constant struggle to stay productive. If you’re on Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn you should have seen blogs and tweets that keep putting emphasis on how you should be leveraging your time, all the time. So consciously or unconsciously you keep internalizing the thought that you should be doing something all the time and if you take a break you’re doomed. I’m here to tell you that it’s all nonsense.
Here’s the thing, I’m not saying that people start procrastinating and ignoring their responsibilities. I’m just saying that you can’t have the same level of productivity every day. So stop beating yourself up about it.
So what do you do when those extremely welcome productivity surges hit you? It’s usual to feel it coming like a high. You actually start enjoying your work and completing your tasks. You want to do more so that you can make the most out of it while it lasts.
However, it’s easy in those days to get carried away. We push ourselves too hard shifting into this state called overdrive. It’s a state where you’re going at full throttle until your fuel runs out and your system gets heated up. So after that one productive day, you need three days of rest to start functioning again.
Here are two small but effective steps you can take to avoid getting burnt out and to make your productive state sustainable.
Build a productivity dam
Yes, you need an energy reservoir. Somewhere you can store all that productivity so it doesn’t dissipate all at once. The easiest and kind of no-shit way of doing this is to grab your sticky notes and start jotting down all the command your mind is giving you.
This is essentially a to-do list but think of it as a delaying tactic. It’s a way of reassuring your mind that you’ve listened to it and allocated time for all the tasks so you don’t exhaust yourself in a day.
Break down these tasks into small achievable goals and spread them out. That way you can achieve something every day and feel productive without switching to overdrive.
Hustling vs half-assing
I don’t know when or how hustling lost its negative connotation and became a positive term. To me, it is just another term aggrandized by the social media and capitalism. Make people work on a hundred things at once and make them feel good about it.
If you can juggle 3 jobs and manage a ton of tasks at a time then more power to you. It genuinely impresses me when people do that. But we need to shun the idea that it’s normal. For most people, it results in half-assing everything they’re doing. For people who can’t keep up for some physical and emotional reason, it results in damaged self-esteem, tremendous guilt and the horror that is the feeling of left behind.
So if you’re feeling that you’re falling short and are not able to keep up with your never-ending to-do list, tear it apart. Make a new one. Prioritize. Really see what are the things you are doing to help yourself and what are the things you’re doing just so you don’t feel left behind or guilty. Cross these things off and only make room for the stuff that adds real value to your personal growth.
Once you do this you’ll see that you’re under a lot less pressure and your productivity will skyrocket. Also, you’ll be able to indulge in your tasks in greater depth and complete them more effectively. You’ll find joy in your work.
These are just some of the tricks I use to boost my productivity and make it sustainable. What are yours? I’d love to know so share in the comments below.