Anxiety and productivity do not seem like they belong in the same sentence. But they can if you think about them in terms of arousal. Wait what? Arou-what? Hold on before your mind goes to the gutter on me.
And if it’s too late, sorry. Let’s try to refocus.
The stuff you stress out about causes your brain to put those things on high alert. Like a code red, all hands on deck, let’s see what we can do to help by concentrating on whatever is primarily at the forefront of your mind.
This creates a focus on the stress, on form of energy. Now this energy or arousal when at its proper level can and will help you to be your most productive self.
The problem is that some of us get too aroused (again stay with me, no wandering mind). When arousal is too high that’s when you freak out, yell at random people in traffic and slap your mailman.
Seriously, this is when you cannot get anything done because all you are thinking about is how monumental the task is. Doubt sets in. You wonder if you can even do it. Worry creeps up. Or something makes you so anxious that you lash out at the world.
Everyone has different thresholds for arousal. So I may be able to work at my best with a high level of arousal/high anxiety while it may make you curl up under your desk and hide. Or vice versa.
It varies. You have to figure out what type of person you are and what types of anxiety give you that optimal energy.
For me, I can work under a lot of stress and the bigger the goal the better but only in short spurts. I’m your guy who will remain calm in crisis and can help for about a week or so. Maybe even a month. I learned this when my grandmother was diagnosed with dementia.
I had all types of “we can get through this” speeches, helped the family select the right nurses, even reviewing/talking through nursing home options should the time come. Calm. The entire time.
But the longer the crisis goes on the worst I get if I do not have time to recharge. Month 2-3 rolled around and I was a blubbering mess.
AKA my anxiety reaches a point where the energy is just consuming and not helping me get anything accomplished. You may feel this way from time to time. But if you learn your threshold then you can learn when to walk away for a while. This lowers the arousal and balances your stress levels out.
Then you can refocus to get more done. Think about it!
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