Productivity can take a hit while you are in recovery – but it does not have to. There are multiple strategies you can implement to ensure that your level of performance at work is where it should be, while fully engaging with your recovery journey.

Work Productivity in Addiction Recovery


  • How to optimise your energy so you can pursue recovery without your work performance taking a hit.
  • Boosting your productivity at work may mean you are better able to devote yourself to your recovery.

While in recovery, it can often be a challenge to stay productive at work. You have a lot on your plate, which can leave you feeling like you have less energy than you need to devote to your work. Fortunately, there are ways you can optimise your energy and your time so that you are able to boost your productivity at work while also fully devoting yourself to addiction recovery.

In addition to the obvious benefits of increasing your productivity (ie, getting more done in less time), there are also direct benefits to your recovery. For instance, staying busy at work can help keep your cravings at bay and keep you sober by giving you a sense of purpose. Better work habits also provide you with structure and accountability – both these factors positively affect the way you relate to your recovery journey.

We offer seven tips on how to optimise your energy levels, build healthy habits and conserve your willpower.

1. Develop a Morning Routine

Consistently following a morning routine may seem like a small change, but doing so is hugely powerful in its potential to influence the trajectory of your day. This is because morning routines ensure that you have an ideal start to your day, every single morning – automatically.

When you start your day with healthy habits, it is easier to tackle the rest of your day in a positive, productive headspace. Start with something simple and easy to maintain, like making your bed and drinking a full glass of hot tea or lemon water before getting ready for work.  Squeezing in a quick morning yoga session can go a long way in improving your focus and energy levels throughout the day.

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2. Avoid Multitasking

This may sound counterintuitive, but there are few things that drain your energy and willpower like multitasking. For years, multitasking was touted as being beneficial for our productivity, but we now know that this is simply not the case. Trying to address more than one task at a time invariably hampers efficiency and performance because, psychologically, we are hardwired to focus on one thing at a time. Of course, the modern world we live in is at odds with this, in that it is constantly offering up a series of distractions.

To combat this, put your phone away and close your email applications while you are working. If this is hard to manage entirely, set a timer that allows you to check social media at spaced-apart intervals or use an app designed to help with smartphone addiction.  If you stumble upon a tangent while you are doing something, write it down so that you can come back to it later, but do not split your attention.

3. Take Downtime 

It may seem paradoxical to suggest that you stop working altogether if you want to increase your productivity. However, evidence suggests that taking deliberate time away from work can actually improve your performance on the job. Schedule ‘brain breaks’ on a regular basis to do something that recharges you, like meditating for a few minutes or taking a quick walk around the block. Taking that break will allow you to replenish your cognitive resources and come back to work refreshed, which will keep your stress levels down and your recovery on track.

4. Talk to Your Boss

A little understanding can go a long way. Notifying your boss that you are currently facing challenging circumstances and asking for flexibility might be just what you need to keep your workload under control as you progress through recovery.

Creating a plan of action that works for you and your boss will ensure that your time at work is productive as well as manageable for you. As a bonus, working together on this shared goal will build trust and goodwill. Making an ally out of your boss can only improve your relationship and reduce your stress levels – the benefits of which will no doubt spill over into your recovery.

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5. Simplify Your To-do List

Do you really need to do everything on your list? Can certain items be delegated or eliminated altogether? When you pare down to the absolutely essential, your productivity naturally increases as you feel less rushed and scattered. Additionally, by eliminating the nonessential and being realistic in your aims, you stand a much higher chance of getting everything on your list done.

A good rule of thumb is: when in doubt, cross it out. If you do not absolutely have to do it, leave it off your list. Doing this ruthlessly is especially important for the first three months of your recovery, when you are statistically most vulnerable to the effects of environmental stressors such as being overwhelmed (ie, most likely to relapse).

6. De-clutter Your Space

Clutter in your external environment tends to be reflected in your psychological state. It overloads your mind with external stimuli (activating your stress response) and constantly competes for your attention while you are in that space, making it more difficult for you to focus, relax or get things done. Willpower is a finite resource and instrumental to your recovery efforts, so anything you can do to conserve its supplies is worthwhile.

Clearing out clutter on your desk and at home will have you feeling less distracted, which means you will rely less on willpower to stick to the task at hand. Try having a designated place for everything (out of sight, out of mind) and make a conscious effort to keep your desk and immediate area clear while you are working.

7. Set Healthy Boundaries

Do you sometimes find yourself feeling overloaded at work, or even resentful towards your boss or coworkers? Paradoxically, setting boundaries can set you free. When you notice yourself feeling overworked and stressed, check in with yourself. Is your current situation something you might have been able to avoid by responding differently to the circumstances you were faced with? Could you have politely turned down that request for help instead of taking on additional work? When you set healthy boundaries, you have more time and energy to devote to the work you have committed to, and the space to replenish your energy between tasks. Boundaries help you to ensure that your needs are being met in a healthy way, and are useful tools for your recovery both in and out of the workplace.

Recovery can be a hard road, but you do not have to go it alone.  If you are struggling, it is vital to reach out.  At The Cabin Singapore, our cutting-edge treatment programmes have been expertly developed to address the needs of those in recovery, while ensuring that they are able to continue to engage with other areas of their lives from a peaceful, productive place. Contact us today to find out how we can help.