It may seem counter-intuitive, but your productivity increases in proportion with the amount of time you spend on self-care. That’s because we need to relax in order to recharge — and unlike a battery, there isn’t a maximum amount you can charge. Your capacity to perform is more than your energy level. It heavily relies on your feelings of contentment and control.
That means that the perfect productivity routine includes plenty of time for self-care. However, it can be hard to achieve this in our modern world, when we’re all constantly pulled in multiple directions. The good news is that there are plenty of tools — many of which are free — that can help you. Let’s take a look.
A Habit Tracker
Habits are incredibly important for both productivity and self-care. We often talk about breaking bad habits, but are you focused on forming good ones? Good habits give you a sense of predicability and order in a chaotic world, and by getting into a rhythm in your daily life, you’ll more easily slide into productivity mode. Feeling scattered all the time is not conducive to getting things done!
The key is to use it consistently. If the app doesn’t have built-in reminders (most do) or if you’re using pen and paper, set your phone’s native reminder app to alert you to update your habit tracker.
A Vision Board
How can you expect yourself to be a productivity powerhouse if you don’t have a clear sense of where you’re going? A vision board is a way of setting goals, but in a less structured, more organic way. We wrote about the magic of vision boards in our Medium publication. We want to emphasize that vision boards not only help you be more productive, but also are a powerful self-care strategy.
Taking time to make and reflect on a vision board means tuning out the world and thinking about who you are and what makes you tick. If you’re feeling scattered, a vision board can help ground you — and that, in turn, makes you more productive.
A Mind Mapper
Many of us are visual learners, so mapping out our ideas visually helps us reconceptualize our thoughts and goals. Try using a mind-mapping app such as MindMeister to lay out your ideas, dreams, and goals. As with a vision board, when you spend time reflecting on your thoughts, you’re acknowledging your skills and strength. That’s an important part of self-care. Plus, you’re preparing yourself to be productive once your mind is all mapped out.
A Focus App
Here’s what no one tells you about self-care: you can’t do it if you’re multi-tasking. Focus is a two-way street: The time you spend relaxing and reflecting shouldn’t be shared with the time you spend working, and vice versa. To be able to fully devote yourself to building your vision board or mind map — or just enjoying your walk or bubble bath — you need to build up your focus.
Practice this by using a focus app. Any app that uses the Pomodoro technique is excellent for this. You set the timer and do only thing for a specified amount of time (usually 25 to 35 minutes). We like TickTick, which doubles as a task manager/project management app and has a built-in Pomodoro timer.
As you see, productivity and self-care go hand-in-hand. No matter what you’re working on, take time to reflect on your goals, and avoid multitasking at all costs! What productivity and self-care apps do you like?