Photo by Jan Erik Waider, via Unsplash

Anxiety vs Productivity

Don’t be a perpetual underachiever

I am beginning to realise that there is a fine line between productivity and anxiety. And that the disappointment of not living up to my self-imposed level of efficiency is a steep cliff.

I make a lot of effort to work effectively, and I have a lot of simple steps that I take to make sure on a daily and weekly basis, I use my time as well as I can.

But I am also aware that I always have something left on my list. And this means I never quite feel done.

I am realising lately that — as much as productivity brings rewards — we should not loose the feeling that we’re not machines. That modest progress is ok. And that most of the time, life isn’t a race unless we make it out to be.

I try to organise my to do lists, and separate out the ‘long’ term goals, or those goals which are more complex and hide several steps within them. I do this in order to make sure I am not constantly staring at a long list of left-over bullet points.

I also use ‘deleting’ as an important tool. I have the theory that its ok not to write everything down, not to keep track of it all. But to delete things regularly. Because if they are important, your mind will remember them.

And finally, when I do have ‘short’ term goals, I keep that list focused on what is achievable in one day. And build into that a healthy amount of down time, too.

The situation we have to all avoid is that every night we go to bed thinking we under-achieved. That we ‘could have done more’. This is a useless feeling to create in yourself, and the low-frequency stress this builds up in your body is genuinely unhealthy.

So work on being your absolute, most efficient best. But engineer your productivity tricks so you avoid the anxiety of underachieving constantly. The goals you set for your future are only useful if you are happy today, and still healthy tomorrow.

I am a virtual reality and interactive film maker, working at the intersection of storytelling and experiential technology.