Monday Must: Maximizing Productivity to Minimize Stress
Hi! I’m Lauren, a cry baby Pisces that loves to cook and hang out with my cat, Earl. I’m also a producer at October’s Very Own. When it comes to content creation, a producer’s role can span across anything and everything but ultimately, I handle the logistics of a production to help bring creative visions to life.
I never really intended to become a producer. Although I studied media in university, I think my inherent need for organization and tendency to say ‘yes’ to everything led me here. It’s also led me to burnout.
If you know anything about the world of production, then you know it can be hectic. There are long days, a lot of moving parts and tons of trouble shooting - all things I’m sure people in any industry can relate to.
While my days are typically very rewarding, the lines between work and home can become super blurry. And so, starting last year (in tandem with a global event that I don’t really want to mention), I made it a goal to prioritize a better work life balance. For me, this begins with maximizing my productivity during working hours so that I can effectively turn off in-between.
What I’m about to share isn’t rocket science, but I hope it’ll help you navigate those days where you need a productivity reset.
Start your mornings slowly
A big plus of working from home is having more free time in the morning. Before checking my email, I try to spare at least 10 minutes for a meditation or a quick stretch. Headspace is a great resource that offers a variety of guided meditations focusing on things like stress, creativity, and mindfulness. I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful for keeping my cool during busy periods, but you’ll only reap the benefits if you meditate consistently. Also, if you’re like me and you’re prone to feeling anxious, try opting for matcha instead of coffee. It’ll give you a steady boost of energy without those nervous jitters.
Put pen to paper
It’s 6:00PM and you think to yourself, “What did I even get done today?” Sometimes there are so many things on the go that zoning in on any single task feels paralyzing. It’s super simple but try writing out your to-do list on paper. This is something I do every morning before I open my laptop to help streamline my efforts for the day. When you feel overwhelmed, take a look at this list and pick one thing to focus on accomplishing. The goal isn’t to check off your entire list. Laying out your tasks will help you mentally prepare for the work ahead and physically checking them off will give you a sense of fulfillment.
Switch up your scenery
While it’s nice to have an ergonomic office set up, sitting in the same spot for 8 hours a day is painfully mundane. Changing your surroundings for even an hour or two will help to refresh your thinking and keep your mood elevated. If you don’t have many options in your home or at the office, try taking your next call on a walk outside. Even purchasing an adjustable standing desk can help switch things up. Basically, try working from anywhere except your actual bed because that’s bad for your sleep hygiene and you’re going to need all the sleep you can get.
Use music to elevate your mood
Listening to music not only helps to reduce anxiety but it also improves your mood and memory. If you’re struggling to feel motivated, put on a playlist that will give you a little pick me up. Since most of my days are spent corresponding with people, I find lyrical music can be really distracting. Instead, I prefer listening to instrumental scores from my favourite films or genres like Japanese city pop since I don’t understand the language.
Set your boundaries and honour them
The last 3 months of the year are always the most stressful for me. During these times, stepping away from work may seem counterintuitive but protecting your energy levels is vital to maximize your overall productivity. If I’ve learned anything working as a producer, it’s that no one will respect professional boundaries unless you set them. Choose a time and commit to being unavailable. Say no when you don’t have the bandwidth. Turn your email notifications off. Take time to rest and recharge in whatever way works for you. You’ll avoid burnout and be more productive (for yourself and your employer) in the long run.
Headspace: Remember The Blue Sky