Making your morning productive is something that you would have been advised to do. We are at times even advised to get all the important tasks done during the morning, as that is believed to be the time that we are most productive or efficient. But something that I feel that is often neglected is that no matter how rested you are and how enthusiastic you are, you will not be able to get all your work done in the morning. A problem that we all face is that, as the day passes by, we lose our energy and we normally find it hard to stay productive. So here are some things I do to keep myself productive throughout the afternoon.
- Move around
It is common for you to feel sleepy after your lunch. One of the easiest way though which I have been able to have a more productive afternoon is by moving around. I have seen that if I take some time after my lunch to move around and stay active, that wakes me up and I no longer feel sleepy or lazy. You can either do this by taking a short walk, or cleaning up around your house/room.
- Micro Naps If Necessary
Naps are tricky for most people. If you are like me, then naps can end up being a 5 hour sleep or more. But a small nap when you’re feeling tired and exhausted is the way to go if you want to get things done after your lunch time. So because of the benefits of a nap, I do try to take naps around noon time if I feel the need for it. What I have been doing that has helped me is to take a nap right before my lunch. For some reason I have seen that this makes me wake up as my alarm goes off and there are less chances that I hit the snooze button.
- Work on easier tasks
As you have just eaten, and your body is using most of it’s energy on digesting the food that you ate, it might be hard for you to do a task where you would have to think too much. Having easier tasks to go by that do not appear burdensome or require much concentration is another way though which I have been able to be productive during my afternoons.
- Eat a modest portion
This is a very important factor. After a meal where you have eaten till you cannot move, you most likely feel lazy or sleepy. So, even through you have a large appetite at lunch time, try to eat a moderate portion and have a snack in an hour or two if you still feel hungry. This will definitely have an impact on your productivity in the afternoon
Staying at home has been a reality for most of us during the past few months because of the pandemic that has been going around. Though the world seems to have downshifted, our work/school is still going on full speed. As many of you I too struggle to have a productive day at times or maybe most of the time. And because being productive is a necessity, I want to share some tips that have helped me be productive and stay on track.
- Create a task list
A task list is a list of things that you would like to get done on that day. How you create this is by listing out tasks on the basis of their priority. You can either write them down on a piece of paper, or on your phone or even just make a mental note of it. One key that will make sure that you get the tasks on the list done is to make sure that you do not clutter it. Rather than packing up one day with multiple tasks, try to spread them out during the week. Being reasonable about the time that you have and also being mindful of the important tasks that have to be worked on is one of the important factors that has helped me be productive during my day.
- Take breaks
We all love a good break from the hustle and bustle of the day. Breaks are definitely one of the factors that help us stay motivated and productive. One important piece of information that you have to remember while taking breaks is to make sure that your mind logs out of what you have been doing so far and has some time where it can run without strain. Some of the ways that I take a break is by cleaning up my room, going to the kitchen to drink a glass of water or to have a snack, replying to some texts that I received and so on. This I believe will keep you more motivated and productive throughout the day. During this time also make sure that you are moving away from your place of work physically too as this will help you get your mind off of the work and also help you to feel more relaxed.
- Do something fun
Rarely do we incorporate something ‘fun’ into our day. But I would encourage you to try this out. Take time of your day to do something that excites you. You can pick the time you do it and also what you consider fun too, but do it. What I have seen is that doing something that gets me excited and that gets my adrenaline rushing also makes me want to be more productive. Some of the things that I have incorporated into my days that I consider fun are exercising, watching a funny video, listening to a new song, baking on Saturdays is something that I’m loving, calling or reaching out to a friend, and so on. You might not see the results of incorporating something fun into your day right after the first day, but I can assure you that as you keep doing this, it will bring some sort of excitement into your day, that will keep you motivated.
In the last three blogs I have been talking about being a morning person, the importance of that as well as some tips that will help you transition into becoming a morning person. In this blog I would like to give you three areas that you can focus on as you wake up in the morning.
1. Physical health
When we usually hear the term physical health, we relate that to exercise or physical activity. Well what I mean by physical health is your overall physical health of which exercise is just one part. The three important aspects in this that you need to focus on in the morning is to drink enough water, eat a great breakfast and also take some time to focus on your body.
So as you wake up, it is important that you drink a glass of water as this can help kick start your metabolism and help in the overall functioning of your body. Also remember to make drinking water an important part of your morning routine as this can also help wipe down any waste from your body. Another important aspect is to incorporate breakfast into your routine. Eating a healthy and filling meal is the key. As this is the first meal that you are eating after the previous night’s dinner, it is important that you consume a meal that is rich in nutrients and also one that will fuel your body with energy. The final important aspect in this area is exercise, I usually prefer to use the term movement as it is important to stretch your body after hours of inactivity. This can include an exercise routine or the basic stretches that will loosen up your muscles thereby helping your body to get into the rhythm of motion for the day.
2. Mental/spiritual balance
For me, this is the time where I read the bible and also take some time to reflect and think upon my previous day and my day ahead. Whether you believe in God or not, I think it can be very helpful if you take some time out of your morning before you get into the hustle of the day to just relax your mind and contemplate on what really matters to you. You could use this time for journaling and also do some meditation combined with breathing exercises. The most helpful type of meditation and breathing exercise that has worked for me is the mindfulness meditation that has a lot of proven benefits.
Doing something productive is the last MUST that has to be in your morning routine, this is apart from your exercise or meditation or even cooking that happens in the morning. For a productive activity, I would suggest that you do something like reading some pages of the book that you are currently reading, catching up on some work that has to be done, finishing a chore that you were not able to finish the previous day and so one. One of the greatest benefits that I have found with this is that it gets me into the productive mindset and thereby making it easier to be productive and get my work done efficiently throughout the day.
With these broad areas in mind, create a morning routine that works best for you. As you create one for now, make adjustments and tweek it as and when required.
- In continuation with last week’s blog, I have 4 more important tips that you can try out that will help you easily transition into being a morning person.
- Create a routine to follow
In my personal opinion, we need a routine to follow in the morning. I have found that if I wake up early and decide to just lay back and relax, more often than not, I tend to go back to sleep. And to prevent that, create a routine that you can follow through without much effort, but one that will eventually wake you up. This could include brushing your teeth and showering, making your bed, getting some tea or coffee, cleaning up around the room or house, and so on. Create your own as you work your way through this process.
- Be realistic and compassionate to yourself
This is a key element when trying to become a morning person. Pushing your way though and sticking to your goal is something that we have been taught all our lives. While this is a very important lesson that will help us get places, I also think that being realistic and compassionate to yourself is important. Let me explain this. So when I say be realistic and compassionate, what I meant is that if you have only gotten a few hours of sleep every day for the past one week, then your body is not well rested. And instead of pushing yourself to wake up at the same time and dragging yourself though the day, I think it is important that you cut yourself some slack and sleep in, or sleep a little early so that your body can get the rest it needs.
As you are transitioning, there are chances that you might just want to give up on this as it might become harder for you to follow through. And therefore one of the best tricks that has worked for me is to allow myself to sleep in a bit longer. You can decide on how long you want to sleep in. For me, I have found that sleeping in 1 extra hour one day of the week where you don’t have to be on the go has been the best ‘cheat day’ or ‘day off’ from being a morning bird.
Waking up to have a relaxing yet productive morning and waking up to have a slow morning is very different. I would say that a relaxing and productive morning is where you would wake up, make yourselves some tea or coffee, read a book (This is the time I take to read the bible and do my devotion and meditation), listen to some good music, do your stretches, catch on some last minute work before you have to head out for work or class and so on. Whereas a slow morning would be one where you have a lot of time and almost nothing to do and therefore you might start off your day by being slow. The difference that I have seen between these two mornings is that I usually tend to have a more productive day when I have a relaxing but productive morning where I am actually getting things done. And if I did have a slow morning then my whole day seems slow. There for try to do things that keep your mind active as you wake up.
These are not the only tips, but these are what has worked for me and therefore might work for you too. So give it a shot.
Have you ever wished to become a morning person? Or have you ever felt that it is impossible to become a morning person? Well then, this is for you. Here are a few steps that I have practiced and found useful.
Sleep is non-negotiable. If you want to be a morning person and have a productive day, then the first step is to get a full night’s sleep. This varies from person to person. If you usually sleep 6/7 hours each night, then you have to make sure you get 6/7 hours of sleep even when you are trying to wake up early. And being consistent with the time is also necessary as your body will get used to it and it will be easier for you to fall asleep and to wake up at a particular time.
- Work your way through slowly
If you wake up at 7 or 8 am currently and try to wake up at 4 or 5 am the next day, that might be hard on you and it is likely that your day will be unproductive. And therefore consider this as a process and try waking up half an hour earlier than usual then work your way to the goal time. This is an easy way to transition into being a morning person.
Decide on the motive of wanting to be a morning person. Or what you want to accomplish by being a morning person. Having a set motive like this will motivate you to wake up in the morning and also enjoy the transitioning process and even enjoy your time in the morning.
A strategy to wake up and get out of bed is extremely necessary. This consists of your alarm and also what you would do soon after you wake up. There are many apps that are available that will have you solve a puzzle before you turn off your alarm, I have personally found this effective. Some suggestions for what you could do as soon as you wake up are opening your window or door, drinking a glass of water, making your bed or changing out of my pajamas, these activities usually take your mind off of sleep and will help you become a bit more alert.
Try out these strategies during the week and next week I will be back with 4 more suggestions next week.
Have you had those mornings where you struggle to get out of bed? I have, and I have also had mornings where it is effortless to get out of bed. Recognizing the difference that my morning activities have on my day has encouraged me to learn and research on some of the things that I can incorporate into my mornings. So thorough my journey of trying out various suggestions on the internet, I have come up with 4 reasons why I think one should have a morning routine.
- It will allow you to take care of yourself
Taking care of ourselves is a term or concept that is foreign to many of us. We are always taught to take care of others and are not taught or encouraged to look after our own needs. But the irony is that we cannot take care of others or do anything unless we care for ourselves. I think that we should be a little selfish when it comes to taking care of ourselves on a daily basis. This can be in the form of exercising, doing a skin care routine or putting on some make-up, putting on some nice clothes, eating a good breakfast, taking some time to meditate and so on. What this does is boost our energy or confidence to tackle our daily tasks.
- It will allow you to become healthier
When you have a morning routine, this will allow you to spend some time in the morning either meditating that can be good for your mind/brain, exercising which will help your body and eating that can give you the necessary energy to function during that day. And all of these things not only impact your day, but have a long term effect on you.
- It will help you reduce stress
If you usually wake up 30 minutes before you have to head out the door, there is a high chance that you will not have time to think about anything as you might be multitasking in order to get out of your house so that you can make it in time for your class or work. But if you were to wake up an hour or an hour and half before you have to leave the house, that will give you enough time to stretch or exercise and even have breakfast. Many have attested that taking that extra hour or so in the morning to get ready, have your breakfast and even some time for meditation or devotion can do wonders to our day. As we are taking things more slowly because we have time, this will have a direct impact on our stress level.
We are always competing with time. It’s a race that just seems never ending. Getting up earlier than your peers allows you to have time to work or study without being interrupted by those things that would during the day. And it is likely that you will be able to get more things done.
If you are now thinking that all this sounds good, but that you are not a morning person. Come back next week to know how you can create your own morning routine that will be easier to follow.
Some have a natural talent at getting things done on time. Still for some others there is a chance that we might get a little over confident and lose track. This is completely normal. Having an accountability partner will motivate us to get things done. The person you chose as your accountability partner is up to you. But this should be a person you meet at least on a weekly basis. Once you select your accountability partner, you have to allow them to question you if you fail to meet your deadline. That is you owe them an answer if you fail to keep up with your task. You have to explain your task to them and also inform them about your deadlines. Ask them to check on you at least twice a week prior to the deadline. It is good if you can also ask them to check on your work as that will force you to have something done at least to show them in case you feel lazy.
Turn off your mind
Our brain and body is not designed to be able to function without any rest. Thus even though you might have a long to-do list, you have to give your mind some rest. This rest will help you to rejuvenate yourself and also help you to be more productive and effective in every task you take part in.
Sleep is the best way to turn off your brain. During sleep your brain doesn’t shut down but it helps to consolidate everything you have previously learnt or read and thus making you more effective. But rest does not always have to be sleep. Your rest can comprise of doing something that you enjoy. This could be swimming, running, reading, cleaning your cluttered room, going for a walk, etc,. All this will help to relieve you of the stress you are feeling at the moment and make you more energetic, creative and fruitful.
If you don’t give your mind some rest then there is a great chance that you would get worked up and be unable to do any work at all. So in your to-do list add some activity or task that will help you turn off your mind and thereby helping you to rest yourself.
It is easy to set goals. It is also easy to prioritize each goal by finding reasons. Still there is a chance that you would fall behind on the task. So it is necessary that you review your progress throughout the day or week.
If you fail to stay on track with the goals that you have set then you are going back to square one. So look through your to-do list several times throughout the day. If you are falling behind you might have to come up with a strategy to complete those tasks. But do not spend a lot of time making plans or you would have a great plan and literally no time to complete it. If you decide to do your review weekly, then you might have a little more time to come up with a strategy but I would still recommend that you take less time.
If you are unable stay on track and you see that you have other important tasks waiting for your attention, make a strategy that would help you save time. In a scenario where you have a whole lot of laundry to do and also a long list of people to call, what you could do is to put the clothes for laundry and then you could start calling those people. Most probably you would be able to complete them both at the same time, or you would be able to finish a whole lot of calling appointments. This was you could save time.
If you have decided to do something new, there is a possibility that after some time you might lose interest or fall behind in the task. One trick is to make the task a priority to you. Find out reasons of why you do something you do. You could come up with these reasons by yourself or ask someone else who does those same tasks. These reasons could help you get motivated when you feel otherwise.
Everything you do in this world has an impact on those around you, even something like brushing your teeth. If you brush your teeth you can have a conversation with another person without worry about your bad breath or the irritation you are causing to that person. Well I think we can find a good reason for the tasks we are supposed to do or tasks that we chose to do. Finding these reasons and pondering on them when you do not feel motivated will help you to stay on track.Thus making them a priority will help you stay on track.