Woman working at computer

How Does Stress Impact Your Work-from-Home Productivity?

With the current situation, it’s natural that our stress levels may be significantly higher than usual. With many professionals trying to work from home and manage that stress, it can be a challenging balance to maintain. Especially when it comes to productivity, stress can be a major obstacle. So, what can professionals do? While we certainly can’t eliminate our stress altogether, we can work to better understand how it may be affecting us and address those things specifically. It’s true that we all experience stress in different ways, but there are a few common ones that many of us will encounter. Let’s take a closer look:

Lower Energy

Stress can be exhausting. Whether you’re feeling tired all day long or experiencing a serious mid-day slump, feeling a lack of energy is a common result of stress. This can make it difficult to maintain a schedule that supports productivity. Especially with so many professionals trying to balance working from home and acting as a homeschool teacher, fatigue can make things incredibly difficult. One of the best ways to combat this effect of stress is with movement. This can vary significantly from person to person, so it’s worth experimenting to see what works for you. It could be that delaying the start of your workday to fit in a morning workout will help you begin your day feeling energized. Maybe you need several movement breaks throughout your day. Something as simple as a walk around the block or a quick stretch can be recharging. Maybe you’d benefit from movement at the end of your day to release some of the stress that may have built up and to give yourself a better night’s rest. Movement is a great option when it comes to managing stress. Experiment with the frequency and intensity to find what helps you the most. Then schedule those activities in to hold yourself accountable.

Less Focus

Another common effect of stress is trouble focusing. This can make it really difficult to work through our to-do lists efficiently. It can cause simple tasks to take hours to finally complete. A lack of focus also makes us much more susceptible to distractions. And when we’re working from home, we’re often surrounded by things vying for our attention. Being on the lookout for distractions is a great place to start here. Keeping your workspace clutter-free, for example, is often useful. Things like taking regular breaks throughout the day and intentionally creating a balance between your work time and personal time can help you stay on track. Even setting a timer and giving yourself 30 minutes to tackle something can help you take advantage of multiple smaller bursts of focus.

Lack of Inspiration

Finally, stress can leave us feeling uninspired. We’re not excited about the projects we’re working on and work starts to feel like a drag. There’s no doubt that this slows us down. Professionals need to find ways to recharge, especially during such a stressful time. Pinpoint the activities that help you feel calm and prioritize them in your day. These are often the first things we cross off the list when we start to feel overly busy, but that strategy tends to backfire. Instead of feeling guilty for taking a longer lunch break to fit in some yoga or marking 4pm as the end of your workday, know that you’re investing in your productivity and success.

Are you feeling the effects of stress in your work life? How are you managing? I’d love to hear your thoughts.