9 Easy Ways You Can Get More Out Of Your Day (And A Couple Ways You’ll Be Losing Out)
We are in that time of year where the sun rises before 6am and sets after 7pm, and the temperatures are steadily climbing. But are you still struggling to find enough hours in the day to tick off your to-do list with time to unbutton your cuffs and enjoy the daylight? Here are 9 tips on how to maximise productivity, and help get you out the door to enjoy the late afternoon rays.
1. Start your day with this one strategic habit:
As soon as you get out of bed, before you check your emails or have your breakfast, pull your sheets up and make your bed. Sounds straightforward enough, right? This tip has been widely overlooked, but begins your day with momentum which will ripple onward through the rest of your intentions. Not only that, but it gives you a rush of dopamine from that quiet sense of achievement, which motivates you to continue reaching your goals and targets! Really, we’re simple creatures, and starting the day with a fix of happy chemical is a sure-fire way to get you craving more. The carry-over effect will culminate in many tasks being completed, and the reward of intense satisfaction.
2. Get to know your regulars:
Odds are that you frequent a webpage or server for your work. And as fast as the internet can be, we still can be thriftier with our time spent on our computers! Recognise the site which you feel you’re constantly on, and take a few minutes to research shortcut keystrokes.Not only can you close, open, or refresh browsers with a simple combination of keys, but many pages have embedded cues which will follow commands. For example, when using Outlook, the combination of Control/ Shift/ G will flag a message for you to follow up with an action later. Here are a few helpful links for common web commands
3. Recognise Success
How you visualise your path can have a very real impact on what unfolds, so to maintain a positive mind frame can be the difference between success and failure. It might be your attitude which is creating your obstacles! There are tangible connections between successful people and their openness to learning and new ideas, their praise and due credit of others, their response to failure and feedback, and their willingness to embrace change and remain flexible. This mindset will also ensure you enjoy the journey as much as the destination! By remaining positively engaged with your goals, you will find yourself more motivated to complete tasks at a rapid pace.
4. Exercise in the mornings
Dragging yourself out of bed and yawning on the way to work sounds about as fun as walking on broken glass, so no wonder that people who do this feel less inspired at work and more sluggish- impacting productivity and job satisfaction. By waking up a half hour earlier and taking a jog around the neighbourhood, you are waking your body up to endorphins and energy, and setting the stage for a day of action! Not only will it power you up throughout your day, but your sleep that evening will benefit too- making the next day even better!
5. Pay attention to your lunch break
Your midday meal is a focal part of your day, and requires a bit of forethought. By skipping lunch, or consuming inadequate amounts, you will be depleting your body of energy and your afternoon productivity will suffer. In parallel, a heavy lunch will leave you feeling lethargic. Try to source foods renowned for fibre and brain power, such as seafood, avocado, blueberries and whole grains. Fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as nuts and seeds, can all be combined in many ways to make lunch tasty and revitalising!
6. Sleep it off
A regular sleeping pattern will make it easier for your body to sleep and wake up, and it is recommended that you do not look at your computer or device for at least an hour before bed. This can disrupt your brains melatonin production, affecting your sleep patterns and convincing your body to attempt to stay awake, as the light from the screens is taken as a visual cue similar to daylight. The corresponding effect of a well-rested mind will have your productivity soaring, not to mention your general mental wellbeing.
7. Use your resources
If you have a team or co-workers that you can depend on, then use their strengths when you delegate responsibilities which you believe they would handle efficiently. To do this, there must be trust and respect in their abilities, which means that the offer for them to step up and lend a hand is a compliment, and a reflection of how you esteem them. Ensure they have access to any resources they need, and are aware of all the applicable parameters and deadlines.
8. Make a list
Making a to-do list is a quick and easy way to organise your priorities and hold yourself accountable. Whether it’s at work, at the grocery store, or at home, a list will put all your tasks in one place for you to assess and plan a course of attack! If you there are a few tasks dwarfing the others and threatening to derail your plans, then break them down into smaller jobs. A mountain looks unconquerable, but every step there is just as feasible as the one before it!
9. Reward yourself
Sometimes it can be hard to remain focussed on a task if the end goal is inconsequential or far out of sight. It’s human to lose traction sometimes, which is why providing incentives will keep you moving towards completion and boosting productivity! Set a date for a yoga or golf session, which you can only attend if you have finished drafting your presentation. Or maybe it’s just the mid-afternoon coffee and slice of cake, for completing a task before its deadline. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to acknowledge your efforts and offer yourself a special indulgence!
Back pedalling habits of the counterproductive:
Television and Social media.
Of course, there is a time and a place for television and social media in our day. But if you are finding yourself regularly racing the clock, then take note of your time. For example, make a tally chart of every time you open a social media site for something unrelated to your task at hand. Or, evaluate your hours spent watching television in the evenings. Both of these can really dry up your day and distract you from completing important tasks! If you find you are unable to disconnect from your Facebook or Twitter, consider uninstalling it from your device and blocking access from your browser. It is estimated that 12.2 billion hours are spent checking social media in a single day across the U.S. If you spend four or five minutes every half an hour, checking and responding to social media, then that is one hour out of every six hour day that you are using ineffectively!
When you’re hungry, your body is distracted by working hard to continue functioning on the available energy stores. This can affect your attention span, energy levels, and mood. And your productivity levels rest a lot on those three pillars! So make sure you are fuelling correctly throughout the day, and remaining adequately hydrated. The brain is mostly water, which is why dehydration often leads to sharp headaches and nausea. Keep a drink bottle nearby at all times, remembering to drink about 200ml every fifteen minutes. This is the optimum fluid absorption rate, and any excess fluid will not be absorbed. Coffee has a dehydrating effect, so if you’re a caffeine junkie then remember to balance your water consumption accordingly!
The devil on your shoulder.
It’s easy to feel like a job is too big for you to accomplish, or to lose motivation and stop striving to reach your goals. Sometimes there is that little whisper on your ear, telling you that you deserve a break and to spend some time Facebooking, or that you simply can’t do it today and it will have to get done another day! But this voice is not speaking for your best interests or for any type of gain, its advocating a despairing attitude where you cannot muster the energy to go on. And the more you listen to it, the louder it gets! Break the cycle and use one of the above tips to stay on track, and watch your mindset evolve from seeing everything as a chore to seeing it as a challenge. You’ll surprise yourself with what you can achieve!
'Blog post courtesy of Natalie Ryder'