Stress and Overwhelm Kill Creativity and Productivity

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I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this… something happens with life (like having to move, a sick relative, children getting themselves in trouble, or any number of other problems) and you need to put work on the back burner, just for a bit. You focus on getting life back in order and work starts to pile up. Oh well, nothing you can do right now.

Fast forward a week or two later when life is getting under control and it’s time to get back to work. You look at everything you missed. You have hundreds of unread emails from newsletters, 50 blog posts on your RSS reader, not to mention you’re behind on the new challenge you signed up for and your worried your readers have forgotten about you because you haven’t been blogging or emailing. Well… this example may be a little specific because this is exactly how I was feeling when I got back home from my grandma’s 80th birthday and it was time to get back to work. (Remember, I took time off to pack my stuff in boxes for the move and it took nearly two weeks between that and helping the family with some different stuff.)

So, it’s time to sit down and work but all of that stress just bogs me down to the point where I can’t seem to focus on anything. There is so much to do that I end up not doing anything! Well, that’s not going to work… I have a business to run… so how do I deal with it?

If I’m being totally honest, I’m still pretty filled with stress but I’m taking steps to get it under control. Stress is a total killer of creativity and productivity. It’s hard to come up with creative thoughts when you’re busy thinking about your stressors. It’s hard to stay productive when you can’t be creative, especially with what we do for a living.

In the end, my decision was to just get rid of all of that backlog.

  1. I deleted every email that wasn’t from a client or reader. I’d love to read all those newsletters I got, but that backlog made me more stressed.
  2. I marked everything in my RSS reader as read. If I have time, maybe I’ll go back and see what people were up to while I was gone.
  3. I told myself that I don’t need to catch up with the product creation. I’ll start now and see where I am as the challenge comes to an end. If it takes me longer than everyone else, that’s fine. Things happen.
  4. I put together a freebie for my list that I’ll be sending out today. What better way to say “I’m back!” than with a free gift for my subscribers?
  5. I planned some time to write for fun instead of just work to get the creative juices flowing. I worked a bit on my fiction novel.

So, what can you expect this from me through this week?

  • I won’t be blogging specifically about the product creation challenge but I’ll update you on my progress off and on and I’ll likely blog about the challenges I have along the way. I just won’t be doing daily/weekly posts specifically about the challenge.
  • Since I stepped away from Bubblews while I was away, the case study is obviously not being updated. I’m at about $15.80 and once I reach payout threshhold I’ll let you know so we can see if I get paid. I know that’s something a lot of you are wondering about is if they actually pay.
  • I’ve got a few more product creation interviews for you. I also emailed a few more people today because everyone seems to enjoy them.
  • Some more PLR tutorials will be coming your way!

What do you do when stress kills your creativity or productivity?

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Comments

  1. Sometimes that’s the only way to do it! I also recently marked all my RSS feed as read because I had such a huge amount unread that it was stopping me from visiting any blogs at all lol! I haven’t even started the product creation challenge either, so we’re in the same boat. I WILL get something out there though!

    Hope the stress dies down for you soon! I am moving on Saturday and I am not stressed enough – I seem to be in denial about it and haven’t been getting a move on with sorting things out :S Other than ordering the internet at the new place of course lol – top priority!
    Ruth recently posted..Your Content Won’t Do Anything Without This Crucial Ingredient…My Profile

    • I’ve been brainstorming product ideas, but that’s about it. I’ve got a few ideas and I’ll be sending out a survey next week to help me figure out which people have the most need for.

      Good luck with your move! I almost forgot about the internet when I moved. lol

  2. You’ve done the best thing. Step away from anything that isn’t necessary. Stress can be a killer too, so you must tell yourself that what you work at is the thing you want to do. This will make you happy. All the best for the future.
    Francene Stanley recently posted..May 29thMy Profile

  3. It took me a while and some training to figure out what was causing some of my stress and what to do about it. I regularly do a mind dump – which is pouring everything out of my head and onto paper (my to- do’s) separating them into lists of what I can do now, and get a game plan for later. I have also eliminated a lot of clutter in my life such as the unnecessary emails, piles of papers, things I don’t use anymore etc. Having some organization and a plan has really helped me.
    ~ Jodene

    • I have this drawer full of blog posts ideas. I write them all on pieces of paper so I don’t forget them but if I end up not getting to them right away they go in the drawer until I need an idea. It’s one of those “If I’m stuck, they’re there. If not, they’ll stay there” type of things.

      I try to do a mind dump when I’m out of the house but have downtime like on the bus or sitting at the coffee shop.

  4. Stress gets to all of us from time to time, it comes out of no where when we just feel like we can’t get anything done but that’s the best time to think about ways to motivate yourself.

    I found that motivation can be hard to come by, but if your looking for it you will run right into it. Even though your behind or not as far as you would like, you can rely on the motivation of completing something instead of the negatives.

    I know when I get bog down with work, I look for ways to motivate myself such as Music or my favorite TV shows.

    • Motivation can be the tricky part for me because I have plenty of motivation. My livelihood depends on getting work done as do my rewards such as video games, music, and all of that. It seems like stress just shuts down my brain from being able to create things though. >_<

  5. Hope things get better for you soon! First of all I try not to let it get to me if possible! Then I find a some time just for me to reflect on what to do next and how to tackle the stress…usually I do that by working out and then I go to my areas where I find things that help me to be creative.
    Vanessa Terrell recently posted..Pop ‘n Cuts Treat Holder meets Tea for TwoMy Profile

  6. Sometimes that RSS feed can feel so overwhelming but we don’t have to read everything. I have had days when I have just clicked the “read” button, just to take something off my To Do list.

    I would see the 90 day challenge as an opportunity to create a product where you have the chance to get motivation and feedback from a community within the 90 days. There is no deadline so don’t stress.

    Glad to hear that you took the time to get back to enjoying the writing process instead of having to always thing about work and making money.

    Good luck with settling in to your new place 🙂
    Victoria @ My Daily Cuppa recently posted..90 Day Product Creation Challenge – Week Three – Time To Ask for FeedbackMy Profile

    • Ya, I’ve just decided not to worry about the deadline or keeping up with everyone else. I’ll focus on working at my own pace and creating something great for you guys. =D

  7. Hi Amanda,

    I was wondering where you were, which is why I made it over to your blog to see how you’re doing. It’s funny how we’ve become an online family to where we notice who’s not being vocal or visual. Happy Birthday to your grandmother. What a blessing to reach that age. I’m glad to see that you’re doing well and back online.

    Sometimes you just can’t catch up, you simply start where you are and go from there, just as you’ve done. Since we share ourselves and lives on our blogs, our customers are aware of what is going on with us and a loyal customer will wait for your return and understand why you’re away.

    Welcome back Amanda – it’s good to see you!
    Cynthia Dixon recently posted..90 Day Product Creation Challenge: Why I’m nixing my product choice and starting overMy Profile

    • Ya, I’ve got a few people I emailed to check in with today! It was awesome to see grandma on her special day. Even better, we planned to have a bunch of my cousins that live on the other side of the state to visit so she got to see plenty of the grandchildren.

      It’s hard to just not catch up. It’s like there is still that little bit that holds on but I’m getting a handle on things!

  8. Glad to see you tackling this…that’s what I love about your posts! I can completely relate to almost everything you ticked off on your list of stressors: kids in trouble, poor health, etc. Then I think, ‘If I could just get focused and work on something that I can actually make some money with, then I could relax a little’. I am climbing out of the ‘content mill’ trap…still stuck there but not even writing enough to make decent money because I was so stressed I couldn’t even focus to do mill work!

    Dude, props to you for sharing your stresses…I think that you are the kind of person who will pull herself up by her bootstraps to get out of this funk…then kindly show the rest of us how it’s done! 🙂

    P.S.
    Bubblews is a stressor…all those darn notifications, lol!
    Jessica Woods recently posted..Save Money, Stay Home!My Profile

    • Those content mills are stressful on their own! You know you need the money but it sucks to work so hard and get paid less than you’re worth. Not to mention so many of the people there have ridiculous demands. I know how that goes!

  9. Sorry you’re feeling stressed Amanda! I agree about just clearing everything out and starting from right in the moment, not trying to go backwards and dump that load of past tasks and to do crap on you. Hope you feel better soon!
    Tiffany Dow recently posted..90 Day Product Creation Challenge Day 14My Profile

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