Just a reminder: Go easy on yourself

by | Dec 4, 2013 | General Productivity

Takeaway: It doesn’t matter how productive you are if you don’t take it easy on yourself along the way.

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 20s. Time well spent, if you ask me!


I’m in the process of writing everything I learned from being a complete slob last week, but I wanted to share one of the lessons I learned from the experiment before that article goes up: how important it is to take it easy on yourself.

As much as you might value becoming more productive (like I do), I think when you don’t take it easy on yourself in the process you’re not going to appreciate how productive you are in the first place. At the end of the day that’s going to make you a lot less happy, and it will also make all you’ve accomplished mean a lot less. At least that’s what I found. It doesn’t matter how productive you are if you don’t take it easy on yourself along the way.

So I thought I’d write this post as a reminder to make sure you take it easy on yourself, just in case you need the reminder like I sometimes do.

If you’re looking for a spark, here are a few great ways to take it easy on yourself that I’ve unraveled over the last few months:

  1. Take more breaks
  2. Lower your expectations
  3. Adopt these 5 habits that lead to more happiness
  4. Meditate
  5. Remember to breathe
  6. Invest in stress relief strategies that actually work, namely: exercise, meditation, reading, listening to music, going for a nature walk, spending time with people you love, going for a massage, investing in a creative hobby, or attending a religious service

This morning when my alarm clock rang at 5:30, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I knew that I had a big day of writing ahead of me with lots of things to do on the side, and that I wouldn’t have had the energy to take on the day if I woke up at 5:30. So in that admittedly hazy moment I made the decision to sleep in a couple of hours instead of walking around like a zombie all day.

At the time I made that decision to take it easy on myself, but ironically sleeping in is what maximized my productivity for today, because I need as much focus and energy as possible.

That’s not to say that you should always take the path of least resistance; a lot of the time becoming more productive is about doing the harder thing because that is what will benefit you more in the long-run. The harder path is usually the one that provides the greatest return. But along the way, don’t forget to take it easy on yourself. You go out of your way to be nice to your coworkers, boss, family, and significant other–make sure you invest just as much time to love and take it easy on yourself. And like catching up on your sleep, it might even make you more productive in the end.

Written by Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey has written hundreds of articles on the subject of productivity and is the author of three books: How to Calm Your Mind, Hyperfocus, and The Productivity Project. His books have been published in more than 40 languages. Chris writes about productivity on this site and speaks to organizations around the globe on how they can become more productive without hating the process.

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