Are you too hard on yourself for not having enough hours in the day?
Do you even feel guilty for engaging in non-career-related tasks when your work to-do list is full?
These are two relatable signs of productivity anxiety. The good news is that you can face this challenge and use it to your benefit.
Learn more about this shared challenge and how you can turn work anxiety into productivity.
What Is Productivity Anxiety?
Productivity anxiety is a very natural outcome of an output-driven society. There is a natural looming sense that you should be doing more. Factors like the cost of living, family, career mobility, and finances also influence this behavior.
There is also the feeling of not being able to achieve enough, despite making strides at work. In one survey, 42% of participants felt like they fell short at work; the stress overload statistic is even higher at 63%. These feelings are often accompanied by towering workloads.
When left unmitigated, productivity anxiety can lead to burnout and output loss, generating feelings of shame and guilt. These conditions create an unhealthy cycle, but with the right tools, you can break the cycle, making your challenges work in your favor.
For example, a healthy amount of stress and anxiety is actually good for productivity. Anxiety is your body’s natural response to urgent situations. That is why many professionals perform well under a pressing deadline.
The Yerkes-Dodson law states that productivity rates improve when some of type of stress is present. For an athlete, this stressor may be physical whereas an account executive may perform well under a certain amount of mental stress.
However, the athlete or account exec can only maintain a certain level of stress. If their stress loads grow too high, performance levels will decrease. That is why productivity anxiety management is so crucial.
Productivity and Time Guilt
Do you feel you don’t work hard enough?
Productivity guilt also aprings out from this phenomenon. This common feeling may also be the product of the Zeigarnik effect, a theory that is been around since the turn of the century.
According to researchers, intrusive thoughts about work and tasks trigger guilty feelings that slow productivity. Guilty feelings about not completing a work project also trigger this effect.
These feelings often manifest into time guilt, the guilty feeling of taking time off. However, rest is one of the most important tools in managing productivity anxiety.
Do I Have Productivity Anxiety?
If you are concerned about whether you have productivity guilt or anxiety, you are not alone. The above studies reveal how common these feelings are among young peers.
Do you feel like you always need something to do, whether you are at work or away for the weekend?
These problems may also arise from high-functioning anxiety. Individuals with this behavior may have anxiety, but they are able to effectively finish their tasks.
However, this behavior often comes with the following symptoms:
- Overthinking work tasks and interactions
- Sleeplessness and insomnia
- Work burnout and desk fatigue
- Ruminating on mistakes
- Developing nervous habits
These symptoms frequently accompany productivity anxiety and guilt. Over time, these behaviors can turn into real hindrances with work, especially insomnia. Sleeplessness lowers your immune system, prompting more sick days and delayed deadlines.
How to Transform Anxiety into Productivity
Do the above symptoms and scenarios sound familiar?
Now is an excellent time to start implementing ways to manage productivity anxiety.
First, use the anxiety you have, channeling it into the most pressing task. There is a lot of healthy adrenaline there. This step should put some of the deadline anxiety at ease.
Next, take a short break, and create a to-do list for your day’s tasks. This is an excellent way to distinguish between productive worries that are good and unproductive concerns that are just time wasters.
Break your to-do list down into manageable tasks. Improving time management helps ease productivity anxiety so that you are not feeling behind on time. You also feel more accomplished at the end of the day, leaving more time to relax at home.
Reframe Productivity Anxiety
Acknowledge your work anxiety before making your list. This act alone can immediately help you prioritize your concerns. This also goes a long way in helping you reframe your productivity anxiety.
Even giving yourself positive affirmations like “I am excited about this project” or “I am ready to work!” puts a positive spin on your anxiety. Saying things like “I am freaking out” will only increase your stress.
Find Your Center At Work
If you are feeling particularly debilitated by anxiety, you can try some centering exercises to put you back on track. These are so simple; you can do them at your desk.
Simply finding a focal point can help you calm down. Look for something calming like a flower, tree, plant, or an eye-catching design. This helps you calm down by lessening distractions around you.
Next, clear your mind and establish your purpose for the day. What do you hope to achieve that day? This is a good step to take before drafting your to-do list.
Similar to yoga, start focusing on your breathing. Isolating your breathing from everything else minimizes distractions, calming your nerves. It is also a wonderful little way to meditate before big work days.
Now it is time to release the negative thoughts behind your productivity anxiety. These are the little voices telling you you are not achieving enough or working hard enough.
You can actually feel these negative thoughts in your body. They tipically manifest as muscle tension, primarily neck, back, and stomach pain. This is the perfect time to do some stretches to release tension.
Drink plenty of water during these exercises. You will be surprised by how much dehydration contributes to anxiety.
Think About Corporate Wellness
If you are a business owner or CEO, consider integrating these exercises into your corporate wellness program. These tips are also an excellent foundation for building a wellness strategy if you don’t have one established.
Corporate wellness helps prevent burnout while encouraging growth mindets and better mental health. Mindful approaches like these are also foundational to executive coaching programs.
Start Managing Productivity Anxiety
Don’t feel hindered by your productivity anxiety and guilt. Instead, channel that energy into better results at work. Remember these important tips as you create a plan of action for your career.
Turning anxiety into productivity is foundational to a growth mindset. Learn more about how Wisch Fit can help you manage productivity anxiety to achieve your goals.