7 Signs Your Productivity Is A Real ProblemJan 19, 2022
Back in November, I was featured in Forbes on my functional medicine perspective of productivity - or loss of it! - in high-achieving entrepreneurs. I wanted to flesh this out in this week’s article today, to help you start 2022 on the right foot…
Are you struggling to keep up with the demands of work? Do you feel like your brain just doesn’t function the way it used to? Or like you’re constantly feeling cluttered and overwhelmed?
Back in the day, when you were younger (or pre-kids!) you could juggle five different projects with efficiency and accuracy, and rarely feel stressed or burned out. You’re likely now starting to think…Is something wrong with me?
Here are 7 signs your drop in productivity is a real problem and is likely pointing towards (or causing!) some serious physical, mental, or behavioural issues:
- Multi-Tasking to the Extreme - Historically, women (especially working mothers) have been known stereotypically to be exceptional multitaskers. Many women even wear this as a badge of honour, and pride themselves in juggling business, work, the kids, the partner, study, hobbies, household chores, etc. However, research is now showing that multitasking lowers IQ, shrinks the grey matter, and reduces productivity by a massive 40%! Often women who are feeling overwhelmed and under-the-pump will try to multitask to the extreme, in the hope to ‘get stuff done.’ But this will not only cause a decrease in productivity; it can cause a lot of anxiety, fear, and even sadness .
- Poor Time-Management - If you find you are constantly feeling scattered and torn, and a bit of an organisational (or emotional!) mess, this will really drop your productivity. Research shows poor time-management is a big cause of inefficiency at work. If you feel like you’re constantly chasing your tail, or like you’re stuck on a never-ending merry-go-round, something isn’t quite right with how you think & behave. You may not be prioritising things of the highest value.
- Saying ‘YES!’ Too Often - Many women, especially mothers, have the inherent desire to help others out. You might find yourself putting the kids first, or your clients or customers, or your colleagues, or your friends or family first, before yourself. You might be saying ‘Yes!’ to too many jobs or career opportunities, or to helping out your sister with her kids, or your husband with his needs. Too often women are putting everyone else first, and themselves last, which will inevitably lead to burnout, a decrease in productivity, and quite sadly, dissatisfaction in life. As I always say - you cannot pour from an empty cup!
- Brain Fog - Now I want to start talking about some physical symptoms that can erupt due to ‘burning the candle at both ends.’ Brain fog is a very common symptom that can occur when you’re feeling overwhelmed and taxed. Chronic stress can literally cause neurotransmitters (such as adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin) to deplete, which can result in neurological issues such as brain fog, lack of concentration, reduced mental clarity, and forgetfulness - all issues that will put a knife in your productivity.
- Fatigue - If you’re now noticing that you’re struggling to get out of bed in the morning, you want to nap at 3 pm, or you could crash at 7 pm, lady, you’ve got energy issues. Fatigue is a common sign of burnout and will inevitably affect your productivity and ability to get work done. If you’re a busy entrepreneur (while also juggling a family!), your stress hormones are likely working in overdrive keeping up pace with your busy life. Chronic stress (even good stress) can cause your Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (HPA-axis) to start acting dysfunctionally, which can result in a drop of stress (or ‘get-up-and-go’) hormones, which can cause fatigue.
- Anxiety - Feeling anxious and worried all the time, can also affect your productivity. You might start second-guessing yourself, stop trying new things (or taking entrepreneurial risks!) due to feeling fear of the unknown. It can absolutely squash your ability to play and be creative, which is a big part of being productive. Depletion of both your neurotransmitters and your stress hormones due to chronic stress can ramp up feelings of anxiety and is a sign that you need help.
- Pain - are you constantly feeling achy? Struggling with a sore back? Tense, tight shoulders? Or maybe you’re suffering from headaches, gut pain, or period issues? Pain is your body screaming at you to stop - you’ve gone too hard, for too long. This stuff can really squash your work output. If things get bad enough, you’ll likely have to take time off work, or you might have to throw the towel in from your business altogether.
My Own Struggle With Burnout
Personally, I struggled with many of these things. Prior to kids, I completed a Ph.D. and also worked in academia. Already I was highly stressed, overworked, and didn’t prioritise my own self-care. Add in the physical (and emotional!) stress of having babies, and my health issues really erupted. This sent me spiralling into a pit of fatigue, anxiety, chronic pain, low immunity, EMF, and chemical sensitivity. Plus I was trying to juggle extra studies, running a business, being CEO of the house, AND mothering. Talk about massive amounts of multi-tasking and saying YES! YES! YES! to too many things. Quickly, over time, I struggled to concentrate on the publications I was trying to write. I would forget clients’ names (even when they were sitting in front of me!). I kept making silly errors. And I was losing joy in my career, and especially in my family life.
When I finally sorted out my body & mental health through functional medicine - a combo of lab testing, natural medicines, lifestyle, mindset & behavioural medicine - my productivity finally bounced back. But this time, I was actually doing LESS not more and finding I could achieve FAR MORE than ever before.
One of our clients, Lara, who recently ran for State Parliament, came to us also feeling stuck and overwhelmed: ”I came to Chris & Filly, struggling with weight and the need to de-clutter the busyness from my life. I was feeling very stressed and overwhelmed - like I was on a merry-go-round...If it wasn't for these two amazing people and their [functional medicine] program, I could never have survived the energy required to run for the Liberal team in this State Election. It's a whole lot of crazy miles and hours to ensure I engage with as many people as possible, to understand what matters to them, so I can truly represent. Their program mentally and physically prepared me to be able to do that.”
Henry Ford famously said: "Improved productivity means less human sweat, not more." Being more productive doesn't mean 'doing more' or 'working harder.’ Productivity is actually less about what you do with your time and more about how you run your mind - and how well your body is running.
What To Do Now?
If you're struggling with productivity, feeling insanely busy and overwhelmed, and just plain burned-out, we’re running a FREE 4-Day Minimalise Challenge this month. It’s designed to help you get organised so you can prioritise your health and do the things you need to do to end your body burnout…for good!
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself: what is burnout costing you?
Filipa Bellette is Co-Founder of Chris & Filly Functional Medicine. She is an accredited Clinical Nutritionist & Functional Medicine Practitioner. She is also a Ph.D. thought-leader, award-winning writer, and regularly published as a guest blogger & in the media. Together with her husband Chris Bellette, Filipa has worked with over 2,000+ busy, burnout clients in the last 10+ years, and specialises in producing healthy, balanced, and happy Mums & Dads...or as she calls it, a Power Parent! Filipa’s own passion for producing high-performance Power Parents came from her own personal experience of Mummy Burnout, after having babies and juggling the demands of business, family, and her failing health.
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