Staying Productive When Feeling Overwhelmed Is Possible With These Tips
Staying productive while feeling overwhelmed can seem impossible. That’s especially true when you’re not sure how to manage the workload of college life.
How do you prioritize everything when it has equal weight? It’s a struggle, but in the following article, we share some tips and info to help you through.
1. Defining productivity
Productivity means different things to different people. Our short definition: getting things done to the extent necessary and to the best of your abilities.
As a college student, what it takes to be productive changes based on your content area, the number of course hours, and what your professor’s expectations are from you.
It’s your job to use the template above to define what productivity means to you. As you do so, keep in mind that your personal life and obligations must weigh into the mix as well. It’s not something that can be siloed.
Make a list of what needs to be done in each area of your life. You might consider doing so with a regular sheet of paper or a spreadsheet on your computer. Try to get everything where you can see it in one place. You’ll need that when it’s time to start integrating.
2. The benefits of being productive
Why is it important that we’re productive? What would happen if we just said “the heck with it” to every area of our lives? Some ideas:
- You lose your job
- You flunk out of school
- You move back in with your parents
- Your significant other dumps you because they can see they’re going nowhere
- You start to feel bad about your accomplishments and the overall trajectory of your life
Obviously, you don’t want any of that to happen to you. Staying productive means avoiding all that. But it goes beyond avoiding the bad. It actually brings good into your life:
- You earn your degree
- You attract top employers
- You nail the job interview and get an offer
- You make enough money to afford the things and experiences in life that you enjoy
- You establish a firm financial footing for yourself and your family (if you choose to have one) to enjoy a better quality of life
- You contribute to the things in life that matter to you
- You help others
- You provide value to the people you serve
- All this creates a strong self-image and better mental health
- You make the world a better place
In other words, every bad thing you avoid creates twice as many benefits. And it’s all because you chose to have a purpose and act upon it in a constructive way.
3. The causes of feeling overwhelmed and struggling to be productive
Feeling overwhelmed is a common experience. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including a heavy workload, unrealistic expectations, and chronic stress.
When we feel overwhelmed, it can be difficult to be productive. We may procrastinate or become unfocused, leading to even more feelings of frustration and inadequacy.
In order to overcome feelings of being overwhelmed, it is important to first identify the cause. Once the cause is identified, it may be possible to make some changes in your schedule, classes, or workplace to reduce the amount of stress you are under.
If you are struggling to be productive, try breaking down your tasks into smaller goals that you can complete one at a time. Set aside a specific time each day to work on these goals, and make sure to take breaks in between to avoid burnout.
4. Setting goals when you’re feeling stressed
The first step to being productive is setting goals. Without goals, it’s difficult to know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by.
Some tips for setting goals:
Be specific: Vague goals are difficult to achieve. Make sure your goals are clear and attainable.
Be realistic: Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by setting goals that are unattainable.
Create a timeline: Determine when you need to have your goal completed. This will help you stay on track and avoid procrastination.
Make a plan: Once you have your goals set, make a plan of action for how you will achieve them. This can help you stay organized and on track.
5. Finding time to be productive
One of the biggest challenges to being productive is finding the time to do so. With work, school, family, and other obligations, it can be difficult to eke out enough of that time in a day.
That’s where the impact of technology can be so helpful. By using apps, you can make the most of your time and be productive even when you only have a few minutes to spare.
Cloud and mobile technology have also made it possible to access large amounts of data from anywhere. More importantly, you can edit that data any time, anywhere.
As a student, this can be a godsend. It allows you to work on papers, develop your research, knock out homework assignments, or view educational videos while you’re waiting on the doctor or standing in line at the cafeteria.
Specialized apps in your field of choice or productivity apps themselves can help you further organize. Some good general ones include Trello, iCloud Notes, and Evernote. You can also find more specifically tailored ones the further you go into a major or profession.
6. The role of sleep in productivity
Most people are well aware of the fact that getting a good night’s sleep is important for their overall health. However, what many people don’t realize is that sleep can also have a significant impact on productivity.
When we’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s often tempting to try to push through and power through the work. However, this can actually end up being counterproductive.
Sleep helps to refresh and rejuvenate the mind, and it’s essential for making complex decisions. Without enough sleep, we’re more likely to make mistakes and overlook important details.
In addition, sleep deprivation can lead to feelings of anxiety and stress, which can further hinder productivity. So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by a project, take a step back and make sure you’re getting enough R&R.
7. The importance of exercise in maintaining productivity
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be tough to summon the motivation to get moving. However, exercise is one of the most effective ways to boost your productivity and overcome those feelings.
Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-lifting effects. It also helps to improve focus and concentration. Furthermore, regular exercise can help to increase energy levels and reduce stress.
All of these benefits can make it easier to tackle even the most daunting tasks. So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, instead of reaching for another cup of coffee, head out for a walk or a run. You may be surprised at how much more productive you become.
8. Proper nutrition for productivity
Nutrition can play an important role in helping you to stay productive and fight off those feelings of being overwhelmed as well. Some of the best choices include complex carbohydrates, protein-rich foods, and healthy fats.
Complex carbohydrates help to give you sustained energy throughout the day, while protein provides the building blocks for new tissue and helps to repair damaged cells. Healthy fats help to promote brain function and protect against cognitive decline.
In addition, certain vitamins and minerals are also essential for maintaining optimal health. For example, vitamin C helps to boost immunity, while magnesium helps to reduce stress levels. By making sure that you’re getting enough of these nutrients, you can help to improve your productivity even when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
9. Time management as a means of fighting stress
When we’re under a lot of stress, it can be difficult to stay productive. That’s because stress can have a number of negative effects on the body and mind.
First, it can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression, which can make it difficult to focus on tasks. Stress can cause physical symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches, and these can further hinder productivity.
Furthermore, chronic stress can lead to long-term health problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure. So it’s important to find ways to reduce stress in your life if you want to maintain a high level of productivity.
Time management is one of the best things you can do to help combat this. Here are some quick tips on what you can do to better manage your time:
- Make a to-do list and prioritize your tasks
- Set realistic deadlines for yourself
- Take breaks when you feel overwhelmed
- Learn to say “no” when you’re feeling overloaded (just make sure you’re saying no to the right things)
10. Developing a personal productivity plan
Developing a personal productivity plan may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By taking a few minutes to assess your goals and priorities, you can find simple ways to increase your productivity and free up time for the things that matter most to you.
One of the simplest ways to increase your productivity is to make a list of the tasks you need to accomplish each day. Once you have a clear picture of what needs to be done, you can prioritize your tasks and focus on the most important ones first.
If you find yourself getting bogged down by unimportant tasks, give yourself permission to let certain things go. If you can’t let something go, think of the end result first and then break it down step-by-step. Give the project enough time to breathe on your calendar, so you’re moving forward each day but not taking on so much that you can’t manage your life.
In addition to planning your time, it’s also important to take care of your physical and mental health. You can accomplish this by giving yourself some downtime each day. Relaxation is essential for reducing stress and maintaining a high output.
So, binge a couple of episodes of that favorite show. Read a book. Work on a personal website or blog. Paint that portrait. You’ll be the better for it.
Staying Productive When You Are Overwhelmed Can Be Challenging
Staying productive amid feelings of being stressed out or overwhelmed may seem impossible. It’s not. At worst, it’s challenging. But if you have knowledge of what to expect and what helps, it will make it easier to create a plan to get through it all.
You can do this. You’re growing more into the person you’re meant to be each day, and that person is a force to be reckoned with. Just tap into your inner strengths and apply some of the advice we’ve shared above. Good luck!
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