3 tips to balance productivity and self-care

When it comes to self-care, I’m the first one to promote it, and also the first one to throw it out the window as soon as work-related stuff comes up. If there’s a busy week ahead, you know I won’t think twice before canceling the workout sessions, the reading hours and, well, anything that sounds even mildly fun. I grew up with this habit of prioritizing productivity and getting things done, and until very recently, I believed that productivity and self-care were two separate things: you focused on one, and kind of took care of the other if you had any time left.

However, I’ve come to realize that productivity relies heavily on self-care: you can only be productive if you feel well-rested, present, and ready to face another day. Otherwise, you’ll be burnt out – and coming from someone who’s been there a bunch of times, I’d give that place a 0 out of 5 stars on Yelp if I could.

With that in mind, I’ve come up with three tips to balance your productivity and self-care, without having to give up one or the other. This blog post was inspired by my new Daily Goal Setter from mal paper, an undated planner that has helped me focus on my daily tasks while practicing mindfulness and gratitude. I’ll leave more information about this product at the end!

Schedule self-care time (and make it a priority)

I know – is it even fun to take time off if it’s planned? Well, if that’s the only way to make that time off actually happen, then the answer is yes! It is all too easy to convince yourself to just work for another hour instead of taking that time to do a face mask or read a nice book, but if you see that written down somewhere, you’ll be more willing to follow the plan. This is especially important if you’re either a full-on workaholic, or someone who gets easily absorbed by the work they’re doing and loses all track of time. Self-care time is just as important as work-time, if not more!

Break down your goals into small steps

Goals can be intimidating AF, especially when they seem unattainable. That feeling of overwhelmedness can actually stop you from going after those dreams, especially if you’re someone who usually looks at the bigger picture first and immediately panics at the amount of stuff they’d have to do (guilty ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™€๏ธ). But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and dreams take time – and small, consistent action – to come true. So in order to take care of your mental health while staying productive, make sure you break those goals into small, actionable steps you can work on every day. Step by step, you’ll get there – and a few months from now, you’ll be able to look back and see all the progress you’ve made.

Be grateful (and celebrate the small victories)

Mindset is everything, and it can totally make (or break) your day, your life, and the project you’re working on. I’ve tried writing down affirmations and the things I’m grateful for in different notebooks, but I always ended up leaving them somewhere and breaking off the daily routine. That’s where the Daily Goal Setter comes in: because it’s structured in a way that allows you to write those things down before you even start your day, there’s no way you’ll forget about it.

What I love the most about this planner is that while it’s super focused on optimizing your time, reaching those goals and ticking off each and every task, there’s also space for self-care and mindfulness, for practicing gratitude and celebrating those small things that make our day-to-day lives special. Productivity and self-care don’t have to be two separate things – they can easily balance each other with the help of a good planner, and a mindset that prioritizes our own wellbeing above anything else.

This planner features:

  • Daily, weekly and monthly views
  • Undated pages
  • Long, medium and short term goals lists
  • 12 monthly planning grids
  • 2 Ribbon Dividers
  • Document holder

The Daily Goal Setter was gifted to me by mal paper. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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