As we may often feel that life is pulling us in many different directions all at once, we become aware of the importance in using our time wisely. Finding what works for you by implementing even just one new habit can make all the difference in feeling more productive each day.
1. LAY IT OUT
Whether we're tackling a huge project, or mundane tasks, it's best to clearly define what needs to be done. Make a list of everything that needs to be accomplished.
2. STRUCTURE YOUR TIME
Once you have your list, structure each task into bite-size, achievable chunks. Create time brackets in which the tasks will be accomplished. For example, 6am-10 am self-care and household work, 10am-2pm administrative work and meetings, 2pm-4pm errands and catch-all tasks, 4pm-6pm help kids with homework and recreational commitments, 6pm-8pm dinner and wind-down, 8pm-9pm final check-in with work responsibilities, 9pm-10pm rest and bed-time. A loose template can go a long way.
3. PRIORITIZE SLEEP
It's nearly impossible to feel productive when we're running on fumes. Practice good sleep hygiene so you're setting yourself up for success.
4. WAKE UP EARLY
Not everyone is a natural early bird. I get that, however, if we sleep in we forfeit vital hours. Humans are diurnal creatures, meaning our biorhythms follow the clock. We release most of our cortisol in the morning. Cortisol is the hormone that gives us motivation. Being productive in the morning comes most naturally because it's when our system has the highest concentration of motivation chemicals.
5. AVOID JUNK FOOD
Processed carbs, sugar, and food devoid of nutrients causes feelings of fatigue. Fatigue is an obvious hindrance to productivity.
6. SCHEDULE REST & PLAY
We are not machines. It's untenable to be constantly productive. Our mind-body-spirits require rest and play. Efficacy and balance are best friends.
7. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN
It is easy to become overwhelmed by the constant news and information on our phone. Give yourself a break by turning the phone off and focusing on one task at a time.
8. AVOID COMPARISON
Comparing our work or accomplishments to others is an easy way to take the wind out of our sails. Don't concern yourself with what other people are up to. Don't get distracted by others; focus on what you care about, and you'll achieve it.
9. PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK
More often than not, we'll go to bed with things left undone. Give yourself credit for what you did do, and know that the rest can wait.
10. KEEP MOVING
Sometimes we get so focused on the tasks at hand that we neglect our physical well-being. It's easy to get sucked into a work project and not even realize that you've gone six hours without even standing up. Exercise and movement promote healthy cognitive function and mood stability. Sure, exercise may take time, but it supports our ability to be productive.
Kristen Lillian Riordan has a Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is an author, board-certified Ayurdeva Counselor, yoga teacher, and mom. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. Her books, Your Life is Medicine: Ayurdeva for Yogis, and Love Fearlessly: The Soulmate Within can be found on Amazon. Her new book, Clueless & Wise: Pregnancy, Postpartum, and Early Motherhood will launch this Spring!