Throughout college and work, I noticed that how I started my day definitely influenced how productive I was that day. I also learned how to work smarter, NOT harder. Here are a few of my tips to stay more productive during the day (and actually relax come nighttime):
Set a routine wake-up time (preferably early).
Now, this is easier for me to say considering I love to enjoy my mornings. It’s my “me time.” By setting up a morning routine, you not only feel more organized, but you’re conditioning your mind and body to start functioning for the day (i.e. be more productive). When my alarm goes off in the morning, I’ll always make my bed straight away and head downstairs for a glass of water and coffee. If you have a hard time waking up in the mornings, this HBR article says that your exposure to morning daylight could help reboot your natural circadian rhythm. I suggest opening the curtains on your windows to help wake yourself up and avoid snoozing for a few more hours.
Do something for yourself.
By doing something you enjoy before you officially start your day, you’re respecting yourself and putting yourself first. You’ve probably heard of the trendy term for this concept as “self care.” I honestly hate that phrase. But moving on. Your version of “self care” can be literally anything and can last for as few as five minutes in the morning. I will always make my cup of coffee and either read, stretch, or meditate. I’m obsessed with the app Headspace for meditation and use the Take 10 feature in the morning (NOT sponsored, but I wish). I still consider myself new to meditating but really enjoy the concept of being more present (especially to help my overactive mind). If that sounds like you too, give meditation a go!
Just do it. Seriously. I could go on-and-on about this one. But I’ll leave this study here instead.
Set goals to complete by specific times.
I found that making smaller goals every few hours enabled me to check off more tasks on my to-do list. It also helped me to work more efficiently (i.e. work smarter) because your focus and energy is put into one specific task at a time without feeling overwhelmed by everything else. If you don’t reach your goal by your specified time, it’s okay! Just use those times as a guide to help keep you motivated.
Take frequent breaks and leave your area of work.
As nice as it would be to just plow through your work load, your brain just doesn’t work well that way and actually needs rest. I would take breaks at least every hour, sometimes even every half hour, for as short as five to ten minutes. I also find that changing your surroundings really helps to refresh your mind. I’m not saying you literally have to leave your office or study at a different coffee shop, but go get a drink of water or sit in another chair for a few minutes. You’ll seriously feel less drained and more able to tackle the next task. I promise.
This one is a bit tricky with work hours becoming longer and longer these days. But I do believe that you can work yourself into the ground and completely burnout. Give yourself some love and time off every single day to stay, well, human. If you would be interested in another post about my evening routine that helps me to relax, please let me know!
I hope this was helpful for someone! I think it’s important to realize too that everyday will not always be your best day. Maybe something happened unexpectedly and you had to change your day around to deal with it. Or you just weren’t motivated that day. That’s life and completely normal. Just get back to your routine as soon as you can!
What tips do you have to stay productive?
Until next time,