Woman holding an oversized pencil looking at a long and looming to-do list

How To Crawl Your Way Out of a Productivity Slump

Chronic illness sufferers face so many symptoms every day. What still frustrates me the most after my diagnosis of fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis is the constant fatigue and exhaustion. It makes being productive such a challenge.

I watched my illness slowly rob me of my drive to do the things that I was passionate about. Mainly, it has forced me to spend most days in bed, struggling to even keep my eyes open. Not long thereafter, I saw myself slowly crawling out of a productivity slump.

More than a to-do list

It’s important that you don’t just go on doing tasks mindlessly. Instead, set particular and realistic goals for the day. Nothing beats the feeling of being able to tick off tasks from your to-do list! The more boxes I tick, the more productive and motivated I become.

However, it's important to know that no matter how many goals you set or how productive you thought your day would be, living with a chronic illness is full of uncertainties. Some days you'd feel like you have the energy to do everything, other days you'd feel like lifting a finger is so hard to do. Your to-do list can wait, it’s okay if you can’t do everything today.

Listen to your body

Chronic illness does not come with an instruction manual. There is no right or wrong way to live with it. You don’t have to force yourself into doing something just because you heard that it works for others. You have to find out what works for you.

I used to study for long periods of time. Sitting continuously for hours was not a problem. Unfortunately, I could no longer do this anymore because I find myself getting tired instantly. I now cut my productivity hours and spread them throughout the day. I have learned how to study smarter by studying when I can. I make the most out of it. I unconditionally allow myself to take naps in between too!

Take a break before you break

Pace yourself. Know your limits and how much stress your body can handle. We are so wrapped up in the idea of being productive that we neglect to give ourselves the break that our body deserves. Remind yourself constantly that time spent resting is never wasted because resting is just as important as working.

You are at your best when you are healthy and well-rested. It’s okay to take breaks. Take a lot if you need to. Resting is productive, too.

Overcome the productivity guilt

Most importantly, condition yourself into thinking that your worth as a person does not depend on your productivity. Your value is not based on how many tasks you were able to accomplish in a day.

Step back, slow down, take a deep breath. Give yourself some credit and a pat on the back. Be at peace knowing that you did your best today, and that is more than enough.

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