View profile

One Anti-Anxiety Productivity Strategy Changed My Life

One Anti-Anxiety Productivity Strategy Changed My Life
How often do you feel anxious and stressed at the end of the day?
Not only that, how often do you feel more stressed at the end of the day than when it began?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, I have news for you: you’re not alone.
And there’s hope.
Today, I’ll share one strategy I’ve learned that has changed my life for the better and significantly decreased my anxiety.
And it all has to do with how I approach the many tasks in my life.

The Problem With Modern Humanity
If you’re like most modern humans, you have a lot on your plate.
From trying to eat healthy, to paying bills, to completing all those errands you have swimming in your brain, there’s always more to do than time in the day.
And you’re not to blame for all this.
It’s just the way the world works now.
“Being busy” is seen as a badge of honor.
But we all know that it’s not.
It doesn’t actually feel good.
Instead, it feels heavy and awkward, like one of these oversized belt buckles that bull-riders show off at rodeo competitions.
Who wants to feel this way?
Who wants to look at all the tasks they have to complete each day and pull out their hair in misery and anxiety?
That’s how I used to feel on a daily basis.
Until I learned a very important strategy.
One Productivity Strategy to Rule Them All
Mmm. Pepto Bismol pop.
Mmm. Pepto Bismol pop.
I’m not sure when I first discovered this concept.
Maybe it was when I first found Buddhist wisdom.
Or maybe it was when I read the book Getting Things Done and fell in love with the possibility of productivity systems.
Or maybe…and I promise this is the last maybe…it was when I combined the two and came across the fantastic Zen Habits blog.
In reality, it was probably a combination of everything I learned up until that point.
Because all great sources of wisdom that resonated with me had something in common.
They advocated for doing only one thing at a time.
One thing. At a time.
Sounds simple, right?
It’s not, and you and I both know that.
Because simple does not mean easy.
But it’s the simple stuff that will most profoundly change your life.
How to Implement the Strategy in Your Life
The next time you have something you need to get done, I want you to use this strategy.
And the task at hand doesn’t have to be anything special.
It can be cleaning the dishes or calling the bank.
But when you do whatever you decide to do, you must change your approach.
Because multi-tasking doesn’t work.
There’s plenty of research to show that your brain and body suffer when you’re doing multiple things at once.
It’s a major reason we humans feel exhausted and like we’ve accomplished next to nothing at the end of a long day.
It’s probably because what we’ve actually done is complete a bunch of half-tasks instead of whole tasks.
We did a lot of stuff, but we didn’t fully complete that stuff.
So, this is what I want you to do:
1 - Identify the task at hand - Seems easy enough, right? Wrong. Before you can complete a task, you need to choose that task with your full intention. It’s not a waste of time doing this. Knowing what you’re doing, without a shadow of a doubt, is half the battle. Take a few minutes to clearly define the task you are about to complete. This will help you focus.
2 - Set a timer - I’m a big fan of the Pomodoro Technique. Believe it or not, it takes time to get used to doing one thing at a time. I’ve found that setting a 25-minute timer tricks my brain in the weirdest of ways. My brain thinks, Hmm, I can do this for just 25 minutes. No sweat. If I don’t have a time limit for my tasks, my brain starts to worry if the task will ever be over. And then it starts to think about all the other things I need to get done. Before I know it, I’m anxious and extremely unproductive.
3 - Do the one thing - By now, I hope you understand how hard it is to just do one thing at a time. But it gets easier with practice. Give your full attention to the task. If you’re on a computer, minimize or close other windows and tabs. Shut down your email. Even if you think you can focus on multiple things at once, your brain will suffer because of it. If you’re washing dishes, completely immerse yourself in the task. If you’re paying bills, set your focus completely on what’s in front of you.
In Conclusion - A Big Takeaway
The big takeaway for me was that the more I used this strategy, the more I realized that most of my tasks didn’t take as long as I thought they did.
What was actually slowing me down was my anxiety.
I was sinking in quicksand of my own making.
Focusing on one thing at a time is what got me out of it.
Giving my full attention to one task at a time completely changed my life.
If that seems dramatic, it’s because it is.
I thought my life was out of control.
But then I realized that it was all about my distracted, anxiety-increasing approach.
If you got this far, congrats! You focused longer than most people do. It’s not an easy thing to do in this distracted world. I hope you take the above information to heart. I know it can transform your relationship with all the tasks you need to do every day. You can conquer anxiety and overwhelm, I know it.

I hope you have a great start to your productive week,

P.S. I’m experimenting with new, visually pleasing pages on The Mental Health Update site. This one is all about mental health poetry books. What else would you like to see?
Did you enjoy this issue?
Become a member for $10 per month
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Jordan Brown - Mental Health Newsletter Writer, Poet, Social Worker, and Advocate
Jordan Brown - Mental Health Newsletter Writer, Poet, Social Worker, and Advocate

The Mental Health Update provides you with authentic mental health articles that make mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and OCD meaningful AND accessible.

This is different from typical mental health newsletters and articles.

It's not just an Anxiety Email Newsletter or a Depression Email Newsletter - It's two weekly articles packed with timeless mental health wisdom and inspiration to start your day in a thoughtful, uplifting way.

I was tired of other newsletters blasting out generic lists of links and depression articles.

And I was especially tired of them not focusing on the everyday reality of mental health issues.

So I decided to come up with something I wanted to read.

This health newsletter is like a caring friend that just wants you to feel better.

Mental health awareness articles don't need to be all doom and gloom and filled with jargon.

With The Mental Health Update, you'll get practical mental health information, tips, and new ways to view the world. Especially now, with people reeling from the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic, we need trusted voices telling it like it is.

We discuss topics like anxiety, depression, OCD, the mental health to mental illness spectrum, social and communication skills, and much, much more.

This is what a few subscribers had to say about The Mental Health Update:

"If you haven't yet subscribed to Jordan's mental health newsletter, you absolutely should. It's chock full of good stuff to read and will help make your day better. Not unlike a daily vitamin for your mental health and soul..." - JR

"Encouragement from someone who has “been there” when it comes to mental health struggles. Comes in the form of stories and simple, actionable tips for reframing and working with - and through - your issues. One of the few newsletters that has survived my ruthless inbox decluttering sprees. Highly recommended!" - Kelila

"Jordan's mental health update is a welcomed email in my inbox. It often provides me with a chance to break from the mundane tasks of working in an office and take a moment for myself to hear his thoughtful and well put together thoughts on many aspects of mental health. As someone who works in the psychology field it's often a nice reminder and way of grounding myself to all the great work that's going on and the journey we all must take in supporting mental health. Thank you Jordan!" - Rob

I take my no-spam policy very seriously. I consider it a mental health obligation to not abuse your trust.

Newsletter articles sent on Monday and Wednesday.

Members receive detailed information from those articles on Tuesday and Thursday AND an exclusive Friday email as well.

You can manage your subscription here
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue
Missoula, MT