Do you ever have one of those days where you can’t seem to focus your brain?
You might find yourself trying to get started on a task, but other things keep disrupting you. Or you might just feel a little tired and foggy.
We’ve all been there, and we know how frustrating those days can be. After all, we all have a lot of things to accomplish! These tasks are often tied to work, which directly impacts our income. That’s why having a productive day isn’t just beneficial for our mental well-being, but for our quality of life as well.
Though there are some life factors that you don’t have control over, you do have a say in how you start your day every morning.
That’s why we’ve pulled together our recommendations for waking up on the right side of the bed, ready to take on the day.
Follow a Routine
Whether or not you consider yourself a “morning person,” having some sort of routine will help get your day started on the right foot.
And it’s not just about accomplishing a laundry list of tasks before sitting down to your computer (though being able to check a few things off does tend to set a productive tone). It’s more about empowering yourself to take control of your day before the inevitable happenings of life occur and the day takes control over you.
We’re not here to tell you that you need to wake up at the crack of dawn to get in an hour of exercise before your family wakes up, or that you are out of your mind if you don’t carve out time to meditate first thing in the morning. We’re not even going to tell you to drink a lukewarm glass of lemon water before you even think about putting anything else into your body!
Granted, these are all healthy habits, and if they are part of your morning routine then a gold star for you! But forcing yourself to do something you hate (like hop on the treadmill before your morning coffee) could end up having the adverse effect on you—especially if you start abandoning your routine all together.
No matter what it is—making your bed, reading the paper, etc.—just make sure there is a pattern to your mornings.
Wake Up the Right Way
Sounds quite simple, right? Obviously you need to wake up to get the day rolling. But how you wake up can have a big impact on your productivity.
Many studies point to the benefits of waking up at or around the same time every morning—yes, even on the weekends. It’s a myth that we can “catch up” on sleep anyway, so instead of trying to make up for lost sleep on the weekends, set yourself on a path of consistency.
For parents, this pretty much already happens when there are young kids waking you up. But, for others, finding that one time to set your alarm to each morning that gives you enough time to complete your already-mentioned routine will help your mind and body get into a healthy pattern.
Also, don’t even think about hitting that “snooze” button! We know, we know—most of us are guilty of doing this in the mornings.
As Mashable recently reported, “A recent survey of nearly 20,000 people by Withings found that around 50% admitted to hitting the snooze button at least once in the morning, with a sleepy 15% putting off their alarm three times or more.”
But reaching over for a few more minutes of precious sleep actually hurts you. You’ve already been unpleasantly shocked out of your sleep cycle by your alarm once, and by allowing your body to fall back into a new sleep you are just going to do it again. That’s why you likely feel fatigued all day long, more so than if you had gotten up the first time around.
So, we know it stinks, but just WAKE UP!
We’ve talked about it before, and we are doubling down on it here.
Productivity isn’t about absolute focus and plowing through tasks until your brain is mush and you feel physically tired. Though it is about being concentrating on a particular task, it’s just as important to take breaks throughout the day.
Yes, taking mental breaks is good for you and actually improves your productivity. We can assure you that at the end of the day you’ll feel like you were able to accomplish more if you give yourself these little respites.
Still not convinced? Check out one of our recent articles, The Benefits of Daily Work Breaks.
If you still find yourself having trouble remembering to stop and take a breath (or walk, snack time, or quick nap even) then schedule it into your day.
It’s one thing to wake up eager to attack the day, but did you know that a big part of setting yourself up for success is to take the time to prepare the night before?It’s one thing to wake up eager to attack the day, but did you know that a big part of setting yourself up for success is to take the time to prepare the night before? Click To Tweet
Small things like packing a gym bag or lunch (if you work outside the home) not only saves you time in the morning when you might be rushing around, but also helps to set your intention for the day.
It’s much easier to make that spin class or morning meeting if everything you need is already together and ready to go, plus it removes the excuse option of not being ready and able to make it on time.
You also need to prepare for your workday. Don’t count on your brain remembering something from the day before that you failed to make note of. Instead, writing a to-do list or placing some sticky notes on your desk for the next day will help you quickly prioritize in the morning so you can tackle the most important tasks first.
You didn’t think we could talk about having a productive day without bringing up time tracking, did you?
In order to best use your time, you need to understand what’s eating it up. Identifying your areas of procrastination allows you to make helpful changes, while being cognizant of your prime focal hours can help you prioritize your most critical tasks.
Apple understands this as well, which is why they launched Screen Time in the iOS 12 update. With technology running more and more of our lives, it’s important to understand how much time we’re spending on apps or websites.
And, with Timing, you can automatically track your entire day on your Mac—plus manually add any other tasks or activities you want.
Timing’s helpful Review screen gives you a quick overview of your time thanks to its easy-to-read timeline and color-coding. Plus, you can assign activities to certain projects simply by dragging and dropping them.
If you have larger blocks of time not yet coded, you can create a task right from your timeline.
All of these intuitive features help you get the benefits of time tracking without having to take a long amount of time to do so.
Though not every day is going to be your most productive, you need to seize your motivated energy when you can!
Preparing the night before, having a set morning routine, avoiding distractions, and being diligent about taking breaks will help place you in the best position for success.
Are you more of a night owl? That’s fine, too! If you find you are your most creative and productive in the later hours, then use that to your advantage. However, applying the same principles of maintaining a routine and avoiding distractions will help you make the most of your hours.
We even wrote another article in honor of all you night owls: 5 Successful Night Owls Bust the Early Bird Myth.