by Josh Millar
Self-care has moved beyond buzzword and into regular practice for many. And it’s not just yogis and free-spirits. Everyone from top entrepreneurs to successful sales professionals are touting the benefits of a self-care practice. One of the biggest benefits I’ve found in practicing self-care has been increased productivity. When you’re focused on maximizing your time and getting more done, it can be difficult to make time for practices that don’t directly contribute to those goals. Though it may not be a directly visible connection, those practices are absolutely tied to your productivity. Here are a few strategies that can help you excel:
Make it your own
Though it might conjure images of kale smoothies or transcendental meditation, self-care really looks different for everyone. Meditation and yoga are certainly two great self-care practices, but only if they feel beneficial for you. While some might like a peaceful morning with a bit of time to journal or reflect, others might benefit from a strenuous workout or an outdoor run. Self-care can be a practice or activity that reduces stress, clears your mind, energizes you, or inspires you. The central idea is making time to focus on yourself and what you need. When you do that, your productivity will benefit.
For busy professionals who may be newer to self-care, it often gets bumped to the bottom of the priority list. It’s not always natural or intuitive for ambitious, goal-oriented people to slow down and take time for themselves. Luckily, it is usually natural and intuitive for them to follow a schedule. Use your schedule to keep self-care a priority. It does improve productivity, but only when you commit to practicing it. This doesn’t mean that hours of your day need to be devoted to relaxation or reflection. Instead, it might look like a few additional short breaks scheduled throughout your day, a 15-minute walk in the afternoon to boost your energy, or even an after-work meeting with a friend. Put it in your calendar so that you’re less likely to make an excuse for skipping it.
The benefits of self-care grow the more you practice it. When you’re consistent with your efforts, you’ll see the best results. The best way to do this is to make it part of a routine. That way, it will become more of an automatic action then something you need to think about making time for.
Do it when you don’t feel like it
This is really the key when it comes to self-care. When you have a relatively easy week and things are going smoothly, it’s pretty easy to make time for yourself. It’s when the days seem too short and the to-do list too long, though, that you’ll need it (and benefit from it) most. Maybe you’re exhausted and don’t feel like getting up to exercise. While it doesn’t need to be as vigorous a workout as you intend, if you know exercise is good for you, it’s smart to get yourself to do it. Of course, there will be exceptions and scenarios when you’ll need to significantly alter your practices, but continuing to make time for yourself, especially when things are busy and challenging, is how you stay motivated, focused, and driven to succeed.
Think about when you’re most productive. Your mind is clear enough to focus on the task at hand. Your energy levels are steady. Stress is low and motivation is high. How do you get yourself to that state of mind on a regular basis? Yep — self-care. It’s one of the best strategies to create a foundation for strong productivity.