How to reduce stress and increase productivity

It can be difficult to find balance and achieve optimum productivity in the University bubble, and it becomes increasingly difficult if you work alongside your studies.

Whilst stress will always be inevitable, there are ways to reduce it so that it doesn’t affect your productivity and your well-being. We all have days where the things on our to do list become overwhelming, and suffocating – so as a result we bury our heads in the sand which leads to more stress. Some of us have terrible ways of managing stress, myself included.

So here are 7 strategic and researched backed ways to boost your productivity, and calm down your nervous system.

Fill your workspace with plants

‘Interior plants may improve worker productivity’.

According to the Horticultural Research Institute, adding plants to interior work spaces can improve productivity and satisfaction, and reduce physiological stress. Did you know that interior plants can also improve your concentration and help you develop quicker reactions?

Take a moment to meditate

There’s always ‘beginner anxiety to meditation’ when meditation is mentioned. Meditation is hard but it can be done. You can choose to create your own form of meditation, for example this could be focusing on your breath for a couple of minutes, or you could take up guided meditation. Social media apps, such as Headspace are a great tool to get started and you can meditate as little or as much as you like.

Check out my article which I wrote for MCM this year March.  ‘5 apps which reduce stress and anxiety’ :

Do a social media detox

Although it’s nice to stay ‘connected’ online, social media can sometimes do more harm than good.

‘Did you know that the average person checks their phone 200 times a day – that’s once every six and a half minutes.

I’m guilty of doing this too, so sometimes I switch off my phone for at least an hour and I have a moment to myself. I understand that it can be difficult to switch it off if you use social media for work or study purposes, but even an hour away from your phone can do some wonders.

Kick start your social media detox:

Implement a self-care routine

Self-care is imperative to our well-being.

My self-care will look completely different to your self-care, but if you don’t have a self-care routine and would like a starting point, here are few activities to jump start that.


  • Journaling
  • Keeping a gratitude journal
  • Sketching or drawing or colouring
  • Crying
  • Physical exercise such as Yoga or hitting the gym


Drop multi-tasking

Multi-tasking is disastrous to our productivity, yet we still try to do it, myself included.

Multi-tasking doesn’t really exist, well it’s an illusion rather. You see, the brain doesn’t do more things at once, it instead switches between tasks quickly. According to Neuroscientists, Multi-tasking just drains the energy reserve of your brain, leaving you depleted when you actually get round to do doing the ‘important tasks’.

Switching tasks constantly leads to a build up of stress.

Other studies have also shown that switching attention between different tasks results in a 50% longer time to finish those tasks, compared to following a task straight through.

Try to take breaks, ideally your break should be around 15 minutes. Studies say people who take 15 minute breaks every couple of hours end up being more productive, but these breaks must allow wandering and not facebook surfing.

Watch what you eat

Throw in a green juice every now and again.

What you eat contributes to your stresses, and it also affects your productivity. There’s a reason to why you feel sluggish after eating a box of chicken and chips, compared to feeling energetic when you’ve eaten a banana.

University students are notorious for eating unhealthy meals, but I know that this is often due to finances. However it is possible to take up a healthy diet. Instead of buying fresh fruits ALL THE TIME for example, look into frozen fruit packages such as frozen berries. You can even cut up fresh fruit and freeze them yourself, and then create healthy smoothies whenever you want.

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