THE BLOG

3 Decadent Ways to Be More Productive and Less Stressed

05/07/2015 10:57 am ET | Updated May 07, 2016
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Real productivity isn't about working hard, having more willpower, and hanging tough.

I've been caught in that trap before, where I feel like I'm burning out or losing my passion because I'm so busy chasing my to-do list and trying to succeed or get all the "right things" done.

When I've been in that place, there were never enough hours in the day, and there never ever seemed to be enough time to pay attention to the things I needed to be my best. Can you relate?

The funny thing is, when I'm in that space (and I've heard the same from many clients over the years), what seems logical is to just push harder -- work harder -- and get through it. The reality is, that's usually the opposite of what works.

Sometimes -- especially when you are a hard working, high performing busy woman, the way to get more done and lower your stress actually includes three simple strategies that you might be completely overlooking. Even better -- using these strategies actually feels good and doesn't leave you feeling tired or deprived.

Three decadent ways to be more productive and less stressed

1.  Indulge. A deprived woman is almost always a tired, worn out woman -- or one who is heading for burnout. Success isn't built on willpower and determination alone, and if your spirit and your soul aren't being fed, you aren't going to be showing up for your family, your partner, or your work as your best version of yourself. The busier you are, the more important this strategy is.

Take the time to get very clear on what feeds you. I'm not just talking about food here. What lights you up and delights you? What puts a sparkle in your eye and causes you to feel happy about waking up in the morning? What helps you be you at your best? The mistake many busy women make is cutting these very things out when the schedule gets crowded. Stressful busy times are the most important times for you to bring you're A-game. If you aren't doing it already, start being purposeful about indulging and nourishing yourself on a daily basis.

2.  Savor. Sometimes we get so busy that it can feel like we're missing our life. Have you ever been so tied up, moving from project to project, that at the end of the day it takes effort to remember what you did, what you ate, or how you were actually feeling at different moments?

We might tell ourselves that we're more productive if we're constantly multitasking. The truth is, this is a habit that wears out our brain, increases our stress, causes overeating and weight gain, and decreased productivity.

Savoring is an easy way to improve focus, decrease stress, eat less and lose weight.

Try it. To savor means to fully absorb an experience with all your senses. Practice doing one thing at a time and giving it your full attention and respect. Let it soak in. Let it feed you. You can savor a conversation, five minutes in the sun, doing the dinner dishes, or a bag of chips. Try combining indulging and savoring and you'll really get more bang for your buck.

3.  Put yourself first. The way you take care of yourself impacts everything else in your life. Yet it's so tempting to make the mistake of doing everything else first and put what we need at the end of the to-do list. If self-care is the last thing you get to in your day, you'll likely find you are too tired to do it consistently or too depleted to really enjoy or appreciate it. Both you and your life will pay the price. Try flipping things. Pay yourself first. Fill up your energy reserves, feed your soul, pump yourself up, and then step into all the responsibilities of your life.

Are you using these strategies? Are there other "decadent" or pampering strategies that help you be your best? I'd love to hear what works for you.

Visit TooMuchonHerPlate.com, where Melissa McCreery shares tips and resources for moving beyond the 3 Os - overwhelm, overload, and overeating - so that you can create a life you love. To get your customized profile of where to start, take the free Hidden Hungers Quiz.