Seeing the big picture - and why it will help you with work anxiety.

With never ending to to do lists and deadlines, the everyday workload can easily bring employees down an anxiety loophole. The big number of tasks you have on your plate plus the multitude of sources of requests can turn a simple to do into scattered work. Feeling like you are not able to control your work is one of the causes of work anxiety.

In our previous article “What prevents you from working effectively”, where we shared the interviews we had with over 400 knowledge workers in SaaS companies, we learned that many productivity blockers are related to high volume of workplace communication and not having one source of truth. When priorities are unclear, the workload starts to become messy. Questions such as “I don’t know where to start looking for information”, “Which one is the latest”, and “What do I have to work on right now?” start taking over. A regular response to this is: multitasking. Susan Weinschenk Ph.D. wrote:

“I think one of the reasons that we give in to multi-tasking is that we feel more and more anxious as the day goes on that we have not accomplished what we wanted to, or what was important to us.”

According to an article published by Forbes, multitasking reduces productivity by 40%, increases stress and damages cognitive ability. Curt Steinhorst said:

“It started as a desperate attempt to keep up with hundreds of emails, texts, intra-company chat lines, and whatever report our boss needs in 20 minutes. We have continued to fight back by responding instantly to every demand until a map of our workday organization now resembles a plate of spaghetti. Something or someone is continually interrupting our train of thought and derailing whatever had been our avowed purpose for the day.”

Anyone who has ever experienced anxiety facing scattered work can relate to feeling like they won’t be capable of reaching the end of it, of getting it all done. It’s not as simple as just doing it.

In French, when they need to get clarity about something, they say “Prendre du recul”, which literally means to take distance from something. So, try to take distance from your workload. See the big picture of everything that needs to be done, to then organize tasks and prioritize your work. Identify what are the priorities and work on your most important task. This same approach was mentioned by our users as a productivity hack, you can learn more about it in our article Top productivity hacks from over 400 user interviews.

When building Mindmesh, we created a tool to bring together all scattered work, and provide users with the daily big picture of their tasks. Understanding the context helps clarify priorities, allowing your mind to focus on one task at a time. Consolidating your tools in one place will reduce context switching, distractions and interruptions. It gives you a clear vision of your day at the start of each morning, making it easier for you to focus on what matters and get through your todo list in peace.

If you’d like to test this new way of approaching your workdays, you can create your account here. And if you have more strategies on how to see the big picture of your work, send a DM on Twitter, we’d love to hear from you.

Wishing you a productive day,

Mindmesh Team