With all the distractions and changes happening every day, managing expectations for ourselves require a delicate balancing act. We want to stay productive, remain focused on tasks at hand, and take care of our mental health at the same time.
But we have to be realistic. We are transitioning to a new normal, and it makes us feel all over the place. No, you’re not being unproductive. Feeling scatterbrained is a result of the fight or flight response in our brain, a New York Times article said.
“We are having to process a lot more than we normally do, all at once,” said Lisa Olivera, a therapist based in Berkeley, California. “What we are experiencing could be considered a collective trauma, as it is impacting the entire world in ways that are at best disruptive and, at worst, deadly.”
Here are some reminders to help you get back on track when you’re feeling out-of-sorts:
A break may seem counterproductive, but it’s exactly what you need at this moment.
Take a break when you feel you’ve been pushing yourself but still aren’t making any progress. Take a ten, fifteen, or a sixty-minute break to help you relax and recharge. It may sound counterproductive, especially when you are struggling to get things done, but it will be worth it. A clear head for the rest of the day will make you more productive, not less, and will help you remain focused on the tasks at hand.
Breaking tasks to bite-sized pieces will make your work easier to handle.
Working from home may make it seem that you are handling so many tasks in a day. It takes away the structured and linear office set-up that you have considered normal. But thinking about the things you need to get done today will only give you a headache. Our tip? Take one task at a time.
Learn to prioritize and remain focused on what needs to be done first. Worrying about every single thing on your to-do list will just overwhelm you. Remember that it’s impossible for you to be in a million different places all at once! Take things one day at a time, one task at a time, one worry at a time.
Your worries will still be there when you’re done with your work, so let them go for now.
Most of the time, we worry about something that doesn’t need to be handled right this minute. We worry about the things that we shouldn’t be worrying about in the first place: your groceries next week, that project due in three months, or your favorite musical being streamed for free.
These worries are still going to be there once your day’s work ends, so let them go for now. Not worrying about the tasks that are not your priority at the moment will help you remain focused on what needs to be done.
It’s perfectly fine to be unproductive today.
Pushing yourself to be productive when you’re going through a lot will just lead to burn out. Stop setting unrealistic and unfair expectations for yourself. If you’re having a rough day, you’re allowed to do a little less than usual. You can even take a day off!
Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish and lazy. If you take good care of yourself, you’ll have more strength to remain focused on tasks at hand. Take it easy today, champ!
Don’t beat yourself up.
If you feel that you have procrastinated for longer than you should have, don’t get too mad at yourself. You cannot control the choices you made in the past. All you can do is learn from them and make better choices in the future. Remember: Tomorrow is another day!