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Redefining Productivity as a Highly Sensitive Person

Woman sitting by a pool in a hammock on her computer

In a world that celebrates the non-stop hustle and seems to measure our worth by how much we can get done in a day, productivity has become of utmost importance. This presents a huge challenge for highly sensitive people, because our sensitive nervous systems require more rest and self-care than average to stay healthy and balanced. As HSPs, we possess a heightened level of sensitivity to stimuli, including emotions, sensory input, and external environments. We process information more deeply and are often acutely aware of subtleties that others may overlook. While being highly sensitive is a gift, it can also be particularly challenging in a culture that values multitasking, hustle and constant activity.

If we judge our worth based on productivity and compare our productivity levels to the non-sensitive people around us, we may always feel like we are falling short. This can make us feel that there is something fundamentally flawed within us and that we are never enough, no matter what we do. It can also make us try to push past our limits to try to keep up with the level of productivity we see others seemingly achieving, which can lead straight to burnout and even more serious stress related health issues. To be in a healthy relationship with productivity, we need to learn to view it in a different light. Dr. Mona Masood, DO, offers us a refreshing perspective:

“We often think Productivity means to work. It doesn’t. Productivity means to make intentional choices towards a goal. The choice could be to pause. The goal could be to replenish. Productivity could mean to rest."

While I believe as humans, we can all relate to this quote, it is particularly helpful for us as HSPs who often feel overwhelmed by the demands of life. In this blog we will explore more ways to rethink productivity and make intentional choices that lead to a healthier, more balanced and fulfilling life. For HSPs, we must reframe productivity from working non-stop to try to get the most done; to making choices that align with their unique needs and goals.

Here are important ways HSPs can help redefine productivity:

1) Set Realistic Goals and Priorities: To make intentional choices toward our goals, we need to know what our goals and values are. Take time to brainstorm what really matters most to you and what your top priorities are. Focus on setting realistic goals that honor your sensitivity, rather than ignore it. Remember, we all have a limited about of energy and we cannot do everything in life (even non-HSPs have limits). This approach ensures that your precious energy is directed toward what truly matters.

2) Prioritize Self-Care: Productivity for HSP’s must include taking intentional breaks to rest and recharge. HSPs thrive when we prioritize self-care activities like meditation, deep breathing, yoga or spending time in nature. This is not a luxury for us, it’s a non-negatable aspect of being able to live well and accomplish our goals. As a highly sensitive person myself, I could not run my wellness business if I did not actively prioritize my self-care. I would burn out in a week.

3) Establish Boundaries: HSPs often struggle with boundaries due to our empathetic nature and wanting to please others. Productivity for an HSP must involve setting clear boundaries to protect our energy and well-being. Over giving or doing too much of what drains us does not bring us closer to our goals. When you aren’t sure what to do, look back on your goals and what truly matters to you, and make a decision from a clear head, not from a need to please or feel worthy.

4) Celebrate Small Wins: Recognize that productivity isn't solely about accomplishing major tasks. As HSPs, we can find fulfillment in celebrating small victories, which can be just as meaningful. What is a big victory anyway? It’s simply a bunch of small victories in a row. Take time to recognize your efforts along the way. Honor small wins such as the way you prioritized weekly meal planning or how you did made time for daily yoga in your schedule.

5) Honor Rest and Replenishment: Dr. Masood's quote beautifully highlights that productivity can mean choosing to rest and replenish. Taking breaks and honoring downtime is a valid and essential part of the productivity journey, especially for HSPs. Keep the affirmation, “Rest is Productive” on hand for when you need a reminder and see if overtime it can become one of you core beliefs.

As Highly sensitive people, we have a unique experience in the world, and our approach to productivity should reflect that. Dr. Mona Masood's insightful quote reminds us that productivity is about intentional choices aligned with our goals, whether those choices involve working on a task diligently or pausing to rest and replenish. By embracing this holistic view of productivity, as HSPs we can lead more balanced and fulfilling lives, honoring our sensitivity as a strength rather than a limitation.

To learn more about reframing productivity and get some deep rest, try my new restorative yoga class “Rest is Productive” now on the On-Demand library. Join for free with my free class pass, or 7-day free membership trial!

With Love and Sensitivity,



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