How to turn anxiety into productivity

September 1st, 2020
How to turn anxiety into productivity

The number of COVID-19 infections in the United States is nearing six million, with cases in North Carolina reaching over 162,000. On top of this, the economy is down 32.9% from the previous quarter, with effects that can be felt far and wide. To many people, the situation is bleak. It can cause discouragement, distress, and in extreme cases, anxiety.

Anxiety is a feeling of deep worry, fear, or unease. It’s perfectly fine to be anxious, especially in these trying times, but for an employee who needs to be on top of things, anxiety can impair work performance and hinder productivity. After all, being productive entails focus, discipline, and determination — three things that can be difficult to achieve if your mind is riddled with worry.

If you’re suffering from anxiety but don’t want to fall behind on your workload, follow these tips.

Accept that you have anxiety

Anxiety may feel foreign to you at first, but if you learn to live with it and accept it as part of your existence, its effect on you will not be as bad. This doesn’t mean downplaying your anxiety. It simply means being aware that you are anxious, and that it’s okay to feel that way. Worrying about your anxiety will only make your anxiety worse.

You also have to accept that your performance may slightly falter because you are dealing with a condition. Talk to your supervisor about your situation, so that you can come up with a plan to manage important tasks without aggravating your anxiety.

Weaponize the adrenaline

Fear and anxiety cause the body to release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline is called the “flight-or-fight hormone,” as it triggers the body’s flight-or-fight response. It quickens your heartbeat and your breathing, and increases blood flow to the brain and muscles. It also stimulates the body to produce more sugar for fuel, helping your body react more quickly.

The adrenaline rush oftentimes manifests as a buzz under your skin, or as bubbling energy that literally keeps you on your toes. If you’re able to channel this vibrating force into your work, you can drive your productivity up.

Simplify your tasks

Just the thought of tackling huge projects can exacerbate your anxiety, so try to break down a challenging task into manageable pieces. Instead of focusing on the big picture, create a step-by-step list of tasks that will enable you to achieve your overall goal.

The Eisenhower Matrix can shorten your to-do list and help you prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance. According to this approach, you should:

  • Do important and urgent tasks immediately.
  • Schedule important but non-urgent tasks for later.
  • Delegate urgent but less important tasks.
  • Eliminate neither urgent nor important tasks.

If this task management approach doesn’t work for you, there are several more strategies you can try. Don’t be afraid to use them in performing your day-to-day tasks and see which ones best fit your style.

Challenge and confront your anxiety
People with anxiety usually exaggerate their fears and assume the worst-case scenario to already be true. To fix this distorted, hyperbolic view of reality, cognitive therapists use a technique called decatastrophizing which involves reducing catastrophic thinking.

On your own, you can practice decatastrophizing by:

  • Toning down your terminology – This means not using disaster- and panic-inducing words even when dealing with stressful situations. Instead of saying, “Today is the worst day of my life," say, “Today could be better.” After all, today — out of all your days on earth — surely isn’t the worst. Reframing the way you think makes you realize that your fears are exaggerated.
  • Ask the dreaded “What if?’’ – This step allows you to confront your feared negative outcome in realistic terms. What is most likely to happen if your worst fears do come true? If your fears materialize, how soon will you be okay? Answering these questions can help you contextualize your worries and make you see that your problems aren’t as big as you make them out to be.

Working with anxiety is already challenging, so HERO Managed Services, LLC gives you one less thing to worry about. For over 20 years, we have been providing businesses in the Tampa, Sarasota, and Orlando areas with unfailing IT services and solutions that drive productivity and guarantee business growth. Get a FREE IT consultation with our experts today.

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