Feel like you’re falling behind? You’re not alone

Overwhelmed by your growing to-do list? Battling to get through the week? Trying to be a good parent, colleague and friend but feeling you’re falling behind? Trust us, you’re not alone….

The world we live in today ties our self-worth to our output. Doing enough, achieving enough, proving we are enough, as we juggle endless personal and professional to-dos. The last 18 months pushed us to go ‘above and beyond’. But as we get back to life as we knew it, more and more of us are feeling that even ‘above and beyond’ doesn’t quite cut it.

In fact, new research from Microsoft Surface reveals that “Productivity Anxiety” is on the rise. Two in five of us (42%) feel we’re falling short, worried that we’re not able to do, be, or achieve enough, and two-thirds (61%) say this feeling has increased since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

With fewer distractions and no commute, lots of us felt we had found a better balance while working from home. Having more breathing room for all those “extras” during commuting hours, doing laundry during lunch break, downing tools for bath time, dinner at home or date night. Now many people feel less able to keep on top of their to-dos, are more distracted and, as a result, feel less productive.

Joshua Fletcher (aka @AnxietyJosh), a professional anxiety management psychotherapist and podcaster, explains: “Lots of us have re-emerged into reality, in ‘should, should, should’ mode, wanting to make the most of the return to ‘normal’ and setting impossibly ambitious goals. As a result, we are experiencing a fear of falling short, at work – and at home.”

According to the study, two-thirds of us (63%) are currently at the point of “stress overload” – an intense feeling of strain and pressure that is highly likely to lead to burnout, if left unchecked. And with high expectations after the festive flop of 2020, many of us expect the pressure to “do” to increase over the next few months.

It doesn’t have to be this way

At Microsoft, it’s our mission to empower every person to achieve more. But the simple truth is, we will never fulfil our potential or recognise our achievements, if we’re constantly berating ourselves for not being “enough”.

So, to celebrate the launch of Surface Duo 2, we’re working with Chartered Psychologist and productivity expert Dr Rajvinder Samra and anxiety management expert Joshua Fletcher, to help us turn down the pressure we’re putting on ourselves, so that we can start to unfold a healthier, more sustainable relationship with productivity. Jump ahead to their advice here.

The Productivity Trap

Our desire to achieve is never going to go away – nor should it. It’s a big part of what makes us human and it gives us some of our proudest personal moments. But in a twist of irony, the stress we’re under is at times hampering our ability to reach our goals. Stress disrupts our working memory and cognitive flexibility, making it harder for us to stay organised, work productively and remember the 34 gigabytes of information our brains have to process, every day – and that’s just in our spare time!

The answer to our growing sense of “productivity anxiety” will therefore not come from just doing more, in an effort to meet increasing standards. But from changing our relationship with achievement, so that it becomes healthier. To escape the productivity trap, we must name and tame the negative drivers behind our anxiety, let go of “I should”, and learn to value progress over perfection. By using technology to help establish clearer boundaries, reduce our cognitive load and build a sustainable routine, we can make the most of the time available to us.

So, if you, like us, have had enough of “not enough”, read on. It’s time we all reset and reclaimed productivity as a source of fulfilment again.

To find out more about the benefits the Surface Duo 2 can bring to your productivity routine, visit the device website here.