Every day we’re encouraged to hustle, hustle, hustle. And then hustle some more. TBH it’s pretty exhausting. Our modern society puts value on the person who does more, more, more, but in reality it’s a recipe for burnout. So how do we feel like our efforts are enough? How do we take all of this time and energy and create something great without actually burning out? Mindful productivity might just be the answer.
Mindful productivity —a term coined by blogger Sarah Steckler is defined as “sustainable action guided by the conscious awareness of one’s mental load, energy capacity, and humanness.” I.e. Mindful productivity tries to level set that we’re human, not robots. This practice is about getting stuff done (because we have to) but still feeling good while we do it. Think of it as shifting your perspective from TIME management to ENERGY management.
Mindful productivity involves paying attention to your well-being throughout your workdays and adjusting your actions based on your mental and physical state. While this is harder in some roles than in others, even small changes can make a big difference.
First you need to recognize how you work best, what drains your energy, and what fuels your creative energy. When you plan a project you can identify the different tasks associated with that project, determine if they are energy driving or draining, and then plan your to-do list accordingly. We love this planning chart from Sarah:
You might think dedicating so much time and attention to your well-being takes time away from your goals and can actually steer you off course - but that’s just not true. If you can manage your energy and mental load better, then naturally your productivity improves, allowing you to put your best foot (and best work) forward.
We get that not everyone can work only when they feel like it (if only!), but that doesn’t mean you can’t practice mindful productivity. Here are some tips you can start applying today: