Here’s How to Deal With Unproductive Anxiety


Maimoona Nalkhande Career ,,,,

Although an aggressive work ethic is always looked at as an admirable quality, being a workaholic poses its unique set of pitfalls.

As per a theory developed by renowned psychologist Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson in the early nineteenth century,

Anxiety helps increase people’s efficiency. It helps people think on their feet, develop better solutions by analyzing the risk factor, and even enables people to overcome a creative block.

Yet there’s a fine line between ‘productive’ and ‘unproductive anxiety’.

Unproductive anxiety is a clear indication of high levels of stress, deteriorating mental health and results in decreasing levels of productivity.

So, are you the Jack who gets his work done or the All-Worry Amy?

Signs That You Are Doing No Work At All:

1. You make several to-do lists, but you rarely follow them.

Your daily routine comprises of making to-do lists, staring at them during regular intervals of the day, and then moving to the next episode of the TV show you are currently binge watching.

Most people spend a laborious amount of time creating lists that run a page long and stare at the same list all week.

A much better strategy is to create a realistic list that only outlines three – five tasks you need to focus on for the day. Discipline yourself to stick to that small plan and reward yourself for completion.

Read an interesting note from our Editor about why she’s always busy.

2. When faced with an overwhelming amount of work, you choose to do nothing instead.

3. When you lose a competition, you begin bawling your eyes out.

Refusal to accept failure is also a sign of unproductive anxiety, as an existing failure tends to demotivate people, hampers their sportsmanship and lowers confidence level. 

4. You spend a lot of time being restless and constantly look for the ‘right mood’ to be in while working.

Use your anxiety to your advantage:

  • Plan, but don’t over-plan: Organize your schedule but don’t get carried away with the process.
  • Go with the flow: Embrace flexibility. Sometimes spontaneity sparks far more creativity and efficiency than organization.
  • Don’t demand or expect certainty: Often while taking risks or worrying about success rates, people express reluctance because they are afraid of the results. Focus on your efforts, not on the results.
  • Use pressure to your advantage: Being able to work well under pressure is an admirable characteristic and a huge productivity booster. Control your nerves and use the existing pressure to increase your level of success.

Are you actually being productive? Take this Quiz to find out.

You might also like: Here’s why an extremely busy life isn’t good for you.