A synonym for productivity is output. What you can get out, from what you put in.
I go absolutely crazy if I'm not productive, but I also go absolutely crazy when I'm doing too much. At one point, I went to a specialist for this. I thought I was having anxiety. Turned out, I just needed to find balance. A life long journey, that quest is.
To come to terms with my productivity battle, that I assume a lot of women have, I have devised a few strategies, that for the past six months or so, have kept me strategically sane.
My first step was to (this sounds dramatic) accept myself. To know that not all people will understand my need to be productive, or my fear of doing too much and not enjoying life. Sometimes I do not understand it myself.
For example, if I watch more than one episode of a show of a time, I think "that's two hours of my life I just wasted." But if I work a full 40 hour week, I am saddened by all the time I could have spent having fun with friends.
When I was in an office working for someone, that's when I broke down. Part of my realization is that I don't do well on someone else's schedule. I work my best when I give myself my own deadlines. I think this is because I am hard on myself, and I simply get things done. I graduated high school in two years and college in three. Needless to say, I work ahead, but I can only do it if I am my own boss. Meaning, pressure? bring it. I can handle all the pressure in the world. But someone else pressing on me? I snap.
I also discovered I am an independent worker. Team work is not my forte. I need to work on learning to trust and rely on co-workers, but because I feel like if I just do all the work, I can assure it gets done, I prefer working on my own.
I need time constraints. A lot of my work is done from home now, on a computer. Where blogs, twitter, youtube....are easily accessible and tempting. But when I distract myself and spend time away from what I am supposed to be doing, I feel major stress. (Dramatic again) like I let myself down, and the productivity thing begins again. So to win that battle, I look at the clock and tell myself I need to be done with emails, in per say, one hour. That keeps me moving, and helps me balance a work load so I don't do a week's worth of work on Monday's. This is different everyday. Which is why I don't build myself a weekly schedule. I do it daily, because a week ahead looks like too much and can quickly become stressful and disappointing just to look at. But when I start my day, after breakfast and in view of sunlight, I know how much this day needs of me, and I get to it. I always give myself leisure time to browse blogs and quick but frequent breaks. It is key to stretch, breathe in some oxygen, and clear your mind.
Another way I keep myself in check, if I have to be on the computer to answer an email, but I am working on writing something by hand, I sit in an uncomfortable spot while I use the computer, so I quickly get off it.
And lastly, this I have not conquered. Give myself working hours. I am on a 24/7 schedule. Emails come in, I work on it. 1 am you can find me going. But there needs to be a shut off time. Lately, I have started to shut off right before I leave for crosffit. This way I let out all the steam through an intense sweat. If you deal with stress and a heavy work load, I have noticed exercise is so helpful. As is ice cream and shopping. Being productive today is a gift.