Do you ever sense like you are at the end of your day and then wonder where the time went? This feeling is familiar, and it’s more common than people think. There are so many things compete for our attention that it is no surprise that attention gets lost. Poor time management is only one of the many productivity thieves that can be introduced to each day.
Filipa Bellette is the co-founder and CEO of Chris & Filly Functional Medicine, a virtual health clinic. She is a clinician, nutritionist, Ph.D. scholar, and writer. Her goal is to help busy professionals, especially children, be healthy, productive, and connected.
Bellette’s research reveals seven signs that poor productivity could signify more serious psychological, mental, or behavioral problems. Bellette’s advice on how to fix issues in productivity in these critical areas is essential.
1. Extreme multitasking
Bellette says that multitasking has become a common phenomenon. Bellette explains that multitasking is becoming more common in recent years. Bellette states that women are stereotypically exceptional multitaskers and have even been known to wear this badge as a badge. However, this way of working can be dangerous and cause more harm than good. Multitasking can lead to a decrease in intelligence, shrinking the brain’s grey matter, and reducing productivity by 40%. Not ideal when high performance is needed.
Bellette stated that extreme multitasking could lead to anxiety, fear, or sadness if done over a sufficient time. Bellette advised that rather than trying to multitask, “get clear on what task you want to complete and close all other windows and apps on your device or computer. This will prevent you from getting distracted.” Bellette also suggested that you switch to airplane mode if you have to do anything meaningful.
2. Poor time management
Time management is a leading cause of inefficiency at work, according to research. “Separated and disorganized, with a little bit of an organizational (or emotional!) feeling! It can signify that you’re not prioritizing high-value things and are trying to do everything. Bellette describes it as “a never-ending loop” or “chasing your tail,” which is not conducive to long-term success.
Time management might not be something you are proficient in. Bellette recommends that you “use a tool like Kanban or other time-management software to prioritize and track tasks, goals, and projects.” Also, determine what your ideal week looks to you and how you would spend your time. Include work, travel, personal growth, self-care, as well spending time with friends and family.
3. Saying yes
Take a look at the entries in your calendar. Are there any commitments you are making out of love? How many of them did you take out of guilt? How many of them are working towards your goals, and how many work toward the dreams of others? You might find yourself saying yes to too many requests. Bellette explained that this is a common problem. Bellette said that humans have an inherent desire to help others. She often advises working parents to see clients “putting their children and clients, coworkers, business opportunities or friends first, before their needs.”
Bellette is well aware that this will lead to burnout, decreased productivity, and, quite sadly, dissatisfaction. She suggests her clients instead create a plan. This will include what you will say a firm “no” to, what would constitute a “maybe, let’s see,” and what you’ll say a big “yes” to. Then, stick to your boundaries. Also, make sure to recharge your energy after you have spent it in your family and business life.
4. Experiencing brain fog
A metaphorical candle lit at both ends can cause fuzziness in your head, thoughts, or mind. Brain fog is a condition that can develop when you feel overwhelmed and stressed. Chronic stress can cause neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, adrenaline, and serotonin, to deplete. This can lead to neurological issues.
Brain fog does not have to be a constant fixture of your life. Bellette recommends that her clients take a break every two hours from the computer to eliminate brain fog. Research shows that “grounding” is an effective and quick way to reset your mind. You can go outside and take-off your shoes, walk on grass barefoot or lay down with your skin touching the ground. This sounds like a hippy move, but it works.
Bellette works with clients who complain of “frustration at the thought of getting up in the morning,” “wanting to take a nap in the afternoon,” or “crashing in the evening” as a sign they have energy issues.
You might think the answer to fatigue is evident. Get some sleep. It is essential to consider how long and how well you sleep. Professionals will get more rest if there is a dark, quiet room, no disturbance, and no technology. Your cortisol levels will be less reactive to daily situations if you get more rest.
Bellette recognizes that being anxious and worried does not automatically lead to poor productivity. However, Bellette also knows that entrepreneurs who feel this way “may start second-guessing what they say and do, stop trying new things or take calculated risks because of fear.” Bellette also knows that anxiety can “diminish your ability to play and be creative which is an important part of being productive.”
Anxiety can be a sign that intervention may be needed. Bellette suggests you begin by “assessing what stressors are causing anxiety.” Most people are anxious because they worry about things outside of their control. You must identify the root cause of your anxiety. Functional medicine practitioners can help identify the root cause for anxiety and other symptoms of body burnout.
Bellette explained that pain could be your body’s way of telling you to stop, a sign that you have worked too hard and for too long. Achyness, tight shoulders, constant pain, tightness in the shoulders, or headaches can be signs of a more severe condition that can lead to inability or unwillingness to work.
Prevention is better than treatment for the pain. Bellette recommends to her clients that they take frequent breaks during work. Get up and stretch. Take a 10-minute walk. Do some foam rolling. Take a look at the ergonomics of your workplace. A lot of people find that standing up at the desk can help manage their lower back pain.
Anxiety and pain are not appropriate for entrepreneurs trying to make an impact in the world. Your attention will only go to the loudest and important things unless you’re intentional about how you use your time. If you neglect your well-being, it will return to you and demand more attention. Soon you won’t have any time left.
Lost minutes become lost hours, weeks, and months, and then entire careers and lives. You can identify the causes of lost productivity, and then you can put the solutions in place.